Robot 6

Bendis on the Avengers/Romita Jr. announcement

"I Am an Avenger": Captain America by John Romita Jr.

"I Am an Avenger": Captain America by John Romita Jr.

As you’ve no doubt seen on CBR and all across the comics Internet, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist John Romita Jr. will be relaunching the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes franchise with the adjectiveless Avengers #1 this May. I first heard the news through various and sundry social networks, where word was spread by ecstatic JRJR fans like wildfire.

One such fan? Bendis himself. In a pair of posts to his Twitter account, Bendis talked a bit about the announcement — and promised more to come:

for the record. me and jr jr are the team for AVENGERS not new avengers. more announcements and line up teases coming very very soon. as excited as u guys r for jrjr on avengers, i am fifty times more excited to actually be writing it. been waiting for this for a long time.

Indeed, Bendis recently tweeted enthusiastically about a killer page he’d seen by an artist he’d never worked with before, a description that fits Romita Jr. to a tee. UPDATE: Our eagle-eyed commenters Tom Daylight and Rich Doyle point out that the pair did in fact work together on Mighty Avengers #15, so that leaves another mystery project out there someplace.

Sounds like we should stay tuned for further word on which Avengers teams — creators and characters alike — will be assembling when Siege is over and The Heroic Age begins…



Actually Bendis and JRjr worked on Mighty Avengers #15 together. He might alternatively have been tweeting about Bryan Hitch’s work on New Avengers Finale.

“Indeed, Bendis recently tweeted enthusiastically about a killer page he’d seen by an artist he’d never worked with before, a description that fits Romita Jr. to a tee.”

Bendis worked with JRJR on an issue of Mighty Avengers didn’t he?

I just want Steve back as Cap.

Bendis worked with Hitch on New Avengers #50.

I’m hoping to see Ms. Marvel, Mockingbird, and Spider-Woman somewhere on the line-up.

The Ugly American

February 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

America – Land of the Free and Home of the GIGANTIC LEGS.

Steven R. Stahl

February 2, 2010 at 8:43 am

Last week, Bendis did an interview at that had the following material:

BF: How do you see these characters differently than when you first “met” them during Avengers: Disassembled?

BB: It’s not that I see them differently, but I’ve lived in their skin, so I understand them more, and I understand the language of a super group more. I understand what could happen in a book like this more, what hasn’t happened in a book like this, but should be tried.

This is one of the elements, and I get dumped on for saying stuff like this, but so many aspects of the comic book genre, or the subgenres, have elevated themselves; you look at characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil and Batman, and they’ve been allowed to express themselves using language and tools and storytelling techniques that propelled this medium light years ahead of where it was, but books like Avengers were never allowed to—they were just “Avengers” books. [. . .]

[BF:] When they got to the audience Q&A, I asked them if when they were coming up as comic writers, if the older generation had criticisms of their style. And J.M. DeMatteis said something like “Well, I did a lot of talky comics with Justice League” and Tom said “Yeah, but there’s always a lot of stuff going on in your comics” to which J.M. joked, “Yeah, we had Kevin Maguire change the facial expressions every few panels.” It was kind of a funny panel, I thought.

BB: It was a great panel. I did not think it would go that way for most of the panel, before you stood up and asked your question; it was me vs. them, there weren’t two sides. It was “schmuck” and all these other creators.

BF: But DeMatteis did stand up for you.

BB: Well, you know, it was Denny O’Neil who stood up for me, more than anything. And I didn’t know Denny O’Neil at all, but he certainly felt, as you did, like “Hey, guys… there’s no right or wrong here!”

BB: Yeah, he’s the one who brought up “You know, when I was doing Green Arrow, everyone told me to go f**** myself. And thank God the Internet wasn’t around back then.” And he also brought up “Why would all these people be buying this book if it was so horrible?” He stood up for it in a way that was really nice.

But yeah, Tom DeFalco was the one who was like “You suck!” And that wasn’t the point of that panel, but it was, I thought, a great conversation. And you know, when Tom was editor-in-chief, he would have never hired me, in a million years. And that’s ok. I don’t know if I would have worked well under him.

It’s unfortunate that the interview didn’t go deeper into the panel incident, because DeFalco’s position goes to the core of how Bendis’s writing differs from the stories told years ago. The older writers told stories. Bendis doesn’t. He lays out scenarios and describes situations that could yield stories, but there are always serious mechanical problems that cripple the situations and prevent them from being actual working stories. Idiot plots, broken premises, generic plots, scientific illiteracy that ruins the plot, mischaracterization. . .The scientific illiteracy spoiled the ending to HOUSE OF M and rendered the premise for the “Collective” arc in NEW AVENGERS invalid, because the laws of motion are irrelevant to conservation of energy. The mishandling of computer viruses ruined the Ultron arc in MIGHTY AVENGERS; ignorance of DNA basics ruined SECRET INVASION; ignorance of antiviral medication basics ruined the symbiote story in MIGHTY AVENGERS.

O’Neil might have reacted on principle, without having read any of Bendis’s material. Presumably, when Bendis referred to “storytelling techniques,” he’s referring to things such as decompression, but in practice, decompression is an element of style, not the substance of a story,. A writer who uses decompression might think that his dialogue is more realistic, and the pacing is more natural, but that’s true only when a comic book is compared to a video. Compared to a prose story, decompression provides no benefits because the dialogue doesn’t advance the plot. Compare a typical prose story to a “compressed” comics story from the ’70s AVENGERS — there will be many more parallels in the structure and the handling of dialogue than there are when a decompressed comics story is compared to a prose work.

I’m not sure that decompression has ever been anything more than faux cinematography, stylistic flourishes that lack meaning. The pity is, even if practitioners of decompression and related techniques can point to actual benefits from their work, those benefits lack meaning if the plot and characterizations don’t work. Hardly anyone goes to a movie to experience the cinematography. He goes to experience visual storytelling.

Whatever Bendis has planned for AVENGERS won’t work if the stories are crippled by the same mechanical problems that appeared in NEW AVENGERS, etc. If he tries to get away from the gangster- and conspiracy-oriented material that dominated his “Avengers” stuff, there probably will be more such problems.

Bendis — and Brevoort might want to think again about DeFalco’s criticism. Easy though it might be to dismiss such criticism as mere preference for one style over another, there’s abundant evidence that the criticism is more fundamental: creative and editorial failure versus working editorial processes.


Love the paring. But, I can’t say I’m big on the coloring shown in the ad. I find that JRjr’s art works better with more traditional, flat (non-gradated) colors.

Make that “pairing.”

Steven, I love reading your posts, and I’m glad you read this shit so I don’t have to.

And thank you for giving me a reason to like Tom DeFalco.


Tom Defalco’s terrible dialog wasn’t reason enough to like him? Unintentional hilarity my friend. Unintentional hilarity.

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