In addition to taking over the Superman titles in July, Marvel Comics icon Brian Michael Bendis will make his presence known at DC as the head honcho of a custom imprint putting familiar superheroes into surprising situations.
Bendis is the third celebrity creator to curate his own superhero imprint at DC in recent years; My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way launched Young Animal in 2016, breathing new life into characters like Doom Patrol, Shade, and Cave Carson as well as introducing new characters like Mother Panic.
In 2017, DC handed control of their existing WildStorm universe of characters over to Warren Ellis, who had masterfully handled them in his Stormwatch and The Authority runs in the '90s and early 2000s. Writing The Wild Storm and overseeing other titles in the line, Ellis has re-established the Wildstorm Universe as its own stand-alone Earth in the DC multiverse, the the Wildstorm series Michael Cray has introduced dark, authoritarian versions of familiar DC heroes as villainous foils for the Wildstorm heroes.
(To an extent, DC's New Age of Heroes imprint fits this description, but there is not one celebrity "showrunning" the thing.)
Few details were provided about Bendis's imprint; DC's official statement on the matter said only that it would "feature some of Bendis’ all-time favorite characters in very unique and unusual situations, combined with new characters created specifically for this new imprint."
That sounds a lot like the Young Animal formula, which makes sense because it will give the Bendis-run titles more of his personality and voice.
It may also provide a chance for Bendis to oversee lower-tier characters or more niche properties within the DC Universe. When his run on the Superman titles was announced, some fans on social media bemoaned that he was reaching for the brass ring rather than -- as he had done at Marvel and Geoff Johns often does at DC -- using his name recognition to elevate some less-popular characters.
While Bendis is doing Superman, one could argue that a custom imprint like this is the perfect place for him to have his voice heard on something like Metamorpho or Jonah Hex, if that had interest for him.
No word yet on who else will be involved with the imprint, or when it will launch.