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Brian Michael Bendis and Jamal Campbell on Why It's Important 'Naomi' Takes Place in A Small Town

12/31/2018 10:20 pm EST

Most American mass entertainment takes place in big cities, unless being in a small town is part of its DNA -- and DC Comics's upcoming Naomi, due out in late January from writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker with artist Jamal Campbell, is no exception.

The series is kicked off when Superman and Mongul battle their way through a small town, destroying quite a bit in a brief period of time and putting the home of the titular heroine on the map for the first time.

"Our first instance was to take her story into a place that you don't normally see in the DC Universe, or you know exists," Bendis told ComicBook.com during a recent interview. "This came from my deep reading last year of the whole history of the DC Comics and all the big storylines. And when you read them in a row you'll find out, "Oh, this happened in Metropolis, Gotham, Metropolis, Gotham, Star City, Metropolis, Gotham, Metropolis, Gotham, Coast City.' And so there's all these places that the story still has yet to go because the main places of the DC Universe are so fun and so exciting to be, right?"

The result is, to some extent, a series like Marvels, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross's acclaimed miniseries that saw the Marvel Universe through the eyes of an everyday reporter over a number of years. To ordinary people within the DC Universe, the superheroes are not the shining, inspirational figures they are to readers or the everyday men and women they are to their peers, but something else.

"We said, 'Well what happens if Superman bounces into a sleepy town in the Pacific Northwest where it would be the biggest thing that ever happened?'" Bendis continued. "And almost like a billiard ball effect, what happens if you just bounce Superman into a little town for one second? You see this, in communities or neighborhoods or small towns, where the slightest alteration spins everybody into a tizzy."

The decision to relocate the story was similar to the one Justin Jordan made last year when he set The Curse of Brimstone in a small town, although with the added dimension of race and class that is less prevalent in Brimstone.

"Part of what we were talking about and trying to do was, in a much broader sense, this story is about inclusion in the hero and all of us, and we wanted to get across what it's like to be an outsider, a stranger in a strange land, and all those sort of things," Campbell added. "But also, we move it from a place where something exciting happens, you know? I mean, you live in New York City or Metropolis or Gotham City, and there's always something exciting going on. But if you live in a relatively small town, it sort of feels like the world passes you by. And then when you throw into that that you're somebody who's maybe marginalized or underrepresented, not only are you in a place where the world is passing you by, you also sometimes have a feeling like you're in a world where you don't belong. And that's a lot of what we wanted to really start to explore within this story."

Naomi #1 will be available in stores and online on January 23, 2019.

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