Smash Pages Q&A: Brian Michael Bendis on ‘Joy Operations’

The Jinxworld creator discusses his newest comic, ‘Joy Operations’ with Stephen Byrne; the move to Dark Horse; and more.

Brian Michael Bendis has made so many comics over the years. For some people, he will always be the writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, one of the great Daredevil writers, the co-creator of Jessica Jones and Miles Morales, and one of a handful of creators who helped shape the Marvel Universe in innumerable ways. Others know him for his more recent work at DC Comics as the writer of the Superman titles, Justice League and other books, co-creating and co-writing Naomi in addition to curating the Wonder Comics imprint at the company. For others, he’s the writer behind Powers, Takio, Pearl and Cover. And for some of us, he will always be the man behind Jinx and AKA Goldfish

It was announced this summer that Bendis’s Jinxworld imprint is moving to Dark Horse Comics, which will include new editions of older comics, continuations of series, and brand new projects. The first to launch is Joy Operations, a five-issue miniseries drawn by Stephen Byrne (Wonder Twins) that launches in November. I spoke with Bendis recently about the science fiction saga, and how (and why) he’s returning to the drawing board with a new series.

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Mignola will write + draw a new Hellboy-verse comic

‘Sir Edward Grey: Acheron’ arrives in December.

Dark Horse has announced that Mike Mignola will write and draw a new one-shot, Sir Edward Grey: Acheron, set in the Hellboy universe. This is Mignola’s first interior artwork since 2016’s Hellboy in Hell.

The new story follows B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know, where Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense fought off monsters on Earth long enough for humanity to barely escape underground.

“Even after Hellboy was finished with Hell, I knew I wasn’t. I’d relocated two of my favorite characters there—Edward Grey and Koshchei the Deathless,” said Mignola. “I figured the two of them were bound to run into each other (and they will), but first I had an unfinished bit of business for Ed to take care of on his own. It was a real pleasure to dive back into that world, and I look forward to getting back there again before too long.”

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Mail Call | Tynion offers first ‘Blue Book’ for free

Check out news and updates from Marvel, Dark Horse, Top Shelf, Image Comics and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of cool things we’ve received in our mailboxes recently from comics publishers, creators and more. Hit the links for more information.

James Tynion IV was one of the first creators out of the gate with his plans for his premium Substack newsletter subscription, announcing a new comic called Blue Book with artist Michael Avon Oeming that he planned to share with paid subscribers.

But even if you aren’t a paid subscriber, you can still check out the first one, which he posted for free a couple days ago.

Blue Book is a passion project for myself and Michael Avon Oeming,” Tynion wrote. “We share a lifelong fascination with UFOs and a lifelong frustration with how those stories have been adapted into other media. There is a strangeness in the original accounts of UFO sightings that usually gets swept aside, but Michael and I want to lean into the strangeness. These are human stories of ordinary people who brush against the unknown and must grapple with what they see there. There is a deeper truth, whether you believe in the accounts or not, that lies in the many ways people tell these stories.”

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ComiXology will publish Phillips + Krause’s ‘We Only Kill Each Other’

The gritty series featuring 1930s gangsters will arrive in November.

ComiXology Original’s newest comic will pit gangsters against Nazis in the 1930s, courtesy of Stephanie Phillips, Peter Krause, Ellie Wright and Troy Peteri.

We Only Kill Each Other will debut on the digital comics platform in November, followed by a print release from Dark Horse Comics next April.

We Only Kill Each Other is the kind of story I love telling,” Phillips said in a press release. “It’s got a historical setting and flawed heroes, in this case Jewish gangsters who are opposing Nazis in New York City in the 1930s. It’s based on actual events but, at the same time, it unfortunately feels very contemporary as America wrestles with division in our streets. This feels like the right time to tell this story, and I couldn’t be happier to team with Peter, Ellie, Troy and Dave to tell it.” 

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Mail Call | More on Al Ewing + Ram V’s symbiotic relationship on ‘Venom’

Check out news, announcements and previews from Image, DC, BOOM! Studios and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

When Venom returns in a new series from Marvel later this fall, it’ll be co-written by Al Ewing and Ram V. Each writer, it turns out, will be writing a separate character in the series, as the book focuses both on Eddie Brock and his son Dylan.

“How me and Ram are working together—we’re a band, essentially. Every issue is a new single, every trade is an album, and Eddie and Dylan are our instruments,” Ewing told Marvel.com. “They’re similar, but they make different notes, produce different sounds, build different stories. And for a while—so you should get used to it now—we’re going to be taking turns in the spotlight, playing Dylan songs or Eddie songs, while the other band member stays in the background. As each new single comes out, you’ll see how it fits together, forms one big concept album—or maybe a symphony. And then, when we’re ready, we bring all the instruments in for the crescendo—and that’s going to be something to hear.”

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Mail Call | Jim Mahfood’s ‘Grrl Scouts’ returns in November

Check out news, previews and announcements from Marvel, Image, IDW, BOOM! Studios and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Image Comics has announced a new six-issue Grrl Scouts miniseries from creator Jim Mahfood, titled Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost. The first issue will arrive in November.

“I’m extremely excited about this new Grrl Scouts series and I think fans and new readers alike will be very entertained and definitely get a lot of bang for their buck with this one,” said Mahfood. “I’m introducing an entire new cast of characters, expanding on the mythology of the Grrl Scouts, and handling every aspect of the production of the book: writing, drawing, coloring, and lettering, to make this a very unique experience! This series is for fans and collectors alike who are looking for something different and off-beat when they’re staring at that wall of new releases in the comic shop.”

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Dark Horse will adapt ‘Hellboy: The Bones of Giants’ into comics

Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Matt Smith and Chris O’Halloran will adapt the prose novel as a four-issue miniseries.

Dark Horse announced plans to release a comic book adaptation of the Hellboy prose novel Hellboy: The Bones of Giants. The four-issue miniseries kicks off in November and is by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Matt Smith and Chris O’Halloran.

Released in 2001, Hellboy: The Bones of Giants was written by Golden and featured illustrations from Mignola. It’s one of three Hellboy novels Golden has written over the last 20-plus years, as he also wrote first one, The Lost Army, as well as 2007’s The Dragon Pool.

“It’s a thrill to return to the world of Hellboy: The Bones of Giants,” Golden said. “I’ve been deeply in love with Norse mythology since first reading Dorothy Hosford’s Thunder of the Gods in the fifth grade. I might have been the only one to take it out of the St. Bridget’s School library that year, but I read it 15 times, so there wasn’t much opportunity for other kids to read it. When Mike first told me he had this image in his head of lightning flashing down from the sky to strike Mjollnir, where it lay in the grip of the corpse of Thor…well, that was like Christmas morning, getting to indulge my love of Norse myth and my love of Hellboy.”

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Bendis moves his Jinxworld titles to Dark Horse

The line of titles that includes ‘Pearl,’ ‘Cover’ and the upcoming ‘Joy Operations’ moves from DC to the Oregon-based publisher.

After stints at Image Comics, Marvel and DC Comics in recent years, Brian Michael Bendis’ Jinxworld line of creator-owned titles now has a new home at Dark Horse Comics.

The deal will include a new title, Joy Operations, which Bendis will write and artist Stephen Byrne (Wonder Twins) will draw. Many of the Jinxworld titles published by DC over the last few years, including Pearl and Cover, will also move to Dark Horse. THR said Bendis also has plans to release new editions of previous titles, like Powers, through the publisher. Bendis’ exclusive contract with DC, Jinxworld’s previous publisher, ended earlier this year.

“I am so proud to call Dark Horse Comics home! From Dark Horse Presents all the way up to Black Hammer, Dark Horse has been at the forefront of the kind of creator-owned comics I personally adore and aspire to. This partnership has been brewing for a very long time,” Bendis said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Mike Richardson, Daniel Chabon and everyone else at Dark Horse has welcomed us with open arms and it’s very exciting to start rolling out our brand-new epics like Joy Operations and reintroduce you to some of our classic Jinxworld titles like PowersTorso and Jinx. Any of my friends will tell you I wished those books were published by Dark Horse back when we first made them. To the future!”

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Mail Call | Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day titles

Get ready for Free Comic Book Day, which is coming up this Saturday. Also check out news from DC, Image Comics, IDW, AfterShock Comics and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offerings for this year have been somewhat confusing — at one point Chip Zdarsky was mentioned as contributing — but the company has put out a press release detailing what you specifically can from them this coming Saturday.

Marvel will have two books, as previously announced — Spider-Man/Venom and Hulk/Avengers, both of which will tease upcoming storylines for the four titles represented.

As previously reported, Amazing Spider-Man is getting a new creative team AND a new person under the mask, as infamous clone Ben Reilly returns to take on the mantle of Spider-Man. One of the new writers of Amazing, Zeb Wells, will team with artist Patrick Gleason for a story featuring Reilly as Spider-Man. It will be accompanied by a Venom story by the new creative team of Ram V., Al Ewing and Bryan Hitch “in a glimpse that will show you just how twisted their upcoming run will be.”

Then, in the second title, Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley will present a look at their upcoming run on Hulk. And Jason Aaron teams up with Iban Coello to “present the dangerous new threat that the Avengers will face in the next arc of his hit Avengers run.”

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Mail Call | ‘X-Men: Inferno’ teasers say ‘Trust No One’

Check out news, announcements and previews from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Marvel has released three teasers for X-Men: Inferno, the upcoming X-Men crossover event that shares a name with a 1989 X-Men crossover event (not to be confused with The Trial of Magneto, another X-Men event that kicks off in August and also shares a name with a 1980s X-Men storyline.)

The teasers all build on the concept of trust, suggesting that you pretty much can’t trust anyone on Krakoa these days:

“An homage to the original house ads for 1989’s milestone X-Men crossover Inferno, Silva’s artwork presents all the major players of the upcoming saga and teases the day of reckoning that will soon be upon them,” Marvel.com says about the teasers. Inferno is written by Jonathan Hickman with artwork by Valerio Schiti, R.B. Silva and Stefano Caselli.

“I’m very excited that we’re finally getting to share with everyone the follow-up to House of X/Powers of X,” Hickman said. “The story is 160 pages over four issues drawn exquisitely by Valerio Schiti, R.B. Silva and Stefano Caselli. I cannot wait for people to read it.” 

Inferno #1 arrives Sept. 29.

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‘No One Left To Fight’ returns for round two

Aubrey Sitterson, Fico Ossio, Racial Avila and Taylor Esposito return to the FightVerse this October.

No One Left To Fight will get a sequel in October, as Aubrey Sitterson, Fico Ossio, Racial Avila and Taylor Esposito return to the world that was featured in the 2019 miniseries.

According to Dark Horse, the new series “picks up where the smash-hit, critically acclaimed first No One Left To Fight series left off—with the world’s greatest fighter struggling to find his place after all his battles have been won and while there’s still time left.” This series features standard and variant covers by Ossio, which combine into an interlocking image.

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‘Afterlift’ team reunites for ‘The All-Nighter’

Chip Zdarsky, Jason Loo and the rest of the award-winning team will work with comiXology Originals again on a new series about vampire superheroes.

The award-winning creative team behind comiXology Original’s Afterlift reunite next year for The All-Nighter, a new series about vampires who decide to become superheroes.

Writer Chip Zdarsky, artist Jason Loo, colorist Paris Alleyne, letterer Aditya Bidikar and editor Alison O’Toole will tackle this superhero/horror mash-up.

“Working on Afterlift was an amazing experience, especially getting to see the beautiful pages coming in from Jason, Paris and Aditya,” said Zdarsky. “I knew I wanted to work with them again immediately, and I’m super grateful that we have the chance with The All-Nighter! It’s a ton of fun and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!”

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