WWC: The Great Debate – Bendis vs. Johns

Two of the hottest writers in comics, Marvel heavyweight Brian Michael Bendis and DC titan Geoff Johns, debate some of the most controversial topics in the industry. Wizard’s Mike Cotton referees the showdown. Let the sparks fly!

A&E hosted this panel that was promoted as simply Brian Michael Bendis vs. Geoff Johns, in a debate forum with an arbitrator / referee from Wizard. These two were picked for this event because they have been categorized as the “story architects” for the universes of the big two.

When Bendis and Johns showed up, the first thing that happened was that they had a fake scuffle on stage, much to the arbitrator’s chagrin. After that, they had picked themselves up, brushed themselves off and sat down. The first question was about to be asked when Bendis wanted to make a statement. He said that he Geoff had spoken before hand and didn’t really like the format, so in lieu of a better term they were high-jacking the panel. They then proceeded to call up a dozen of so writers and artists from both DC and Marvel. And instead of a “VS.” panel, this would be the first joint DC/Marvel panel to show the differences between the two why they were both good.

Here are some of the highlights / summaries:

  • The biggest issue for both companies is books being late
  • There are several real reasons why books are late
    • They are solicited before they are done
    • Sometimes creators have hard choices to make because of scheduling
    • Sometimes creators are unprofessional and don’t follow through
  • The claim was made that they are all working together on Secret Crisis 2099 (tongue-in-cheek)
  • The two universes are laid out different: Multi-verse vs. Alternate Universe
  • Both writers struggle with and strive for the “Challenge of the Long form”, i.e., stories that will have impact a year or more form now
  • The media presents this “Marvel versus DC” attitude that is not felt by most of the creators
  • There was conversation between writing a good story that the reader might not be privy to the whole concept before the end of the series verses having readers spoon-fed the plot.
  • There was talk about what is the goal (and the feelings were mixed between the two camps) of writing comics: Is it spreading modern mythology or is selling books?
  • There was a consensus among everyone on stage as far as what the differences between the two universe were, it was agreed that any writer could pick up a script that didn’t have any character references and know whether it was Marvel or DC… and that both were good, just different styles.
  • Here were the major agreed differences
  • Marvel is…
    • Grounded
    • Gritty
    • Realistic
    • 1st generation / one generation of characters
    • Continuity driven / checking references on everything
    • Makes it easier to write the characters after the first time, because all the ground work is laid out
    • There need to be reasons why things happen or why characters have certain aspects
  • DC is…
    • Mythology / Science fiction driven
    • Freedom when writing – continuity and references are not needed
    • This lack of references makes it hard when many writers are attacking the same character
    • The DCU is representative of our ideals, not realistic
    • The characters are legacy driven / iconic
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Updated: July 5, 2008 — 5:27 pm

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