At C2E2 writer Brian Michael Bendis and frequent artistic partner Mark Bagley announced the summer launch of a new bi-montly seven or eight issues mini-series called Brilliant.
The first seeds for “Brilliant” were planted several years ago while Bendis was developing a television series. “I had written a pilot for HBO based on the famous case of the MIT students who cracked blackjack. People know some of the story from the movie ’21,’ but it’s a more involved story than that. That project never really got off the ground, but I did spend a lot of time with these guys, doing research into that kind of Ivy League genius nerd culture. I knew a little bit about this because I went to the Cleveland Institute of Arts, which is next to Case Western, so it was a little part of my life when I was growing up,” the writer told CBR News. “When I was diving into this stuff head first, I found the blackjack stuff to be the least interesting part of the story. Being that my brain is always waist deep in super hero thought, I just couldn’t help but think about science fiction and how it inspired an invention of some sort, over and over again throughout this past century. And isn’t super powers one of the last frontiers in the world of science and research? Wouldn’t kids like this try and see who could develop them first?”
Bagley on as artistic co-creator.
Bagley’s exclusive contract with DC prevented him from even reading his longtime creative partner’s initial script, but immediately after the artist’s three year contract was up, Bendis sent “Brilliant” to Bagley for review. “I sent him the script and then went to bed. I said, ‘I hope you like this. Let’s talk about it tomorrow,'” Bendis told CBR. “When I woke up the next day, he had drawn the cover and two pages. I asked him, ‘You’re in?’ And he’s like, ‘I’m definitely in.’ It’s amazing — I woke up to have that conversation and the art was already in my in box! That’s what it’s like to work with Mark Bagley.”
What about the cast?
“Since this is a college-based drama, where almost all the characters are prodigies, some of them are a little younger than you’d think. They’re the kids who get into college a little too soon, often because they have nowhere else to go,” Bendis continued. “There are also some older students that are geniuses and excelling at everything they’re doing, but they’re getting to a point where they have to make a definite decision about their life and aren’t comfortable with the choices they have. This is something I saw firsthand. I had a roommate who was an astrophysicist and we were sitting on the porch one day when he said, ‘I’ve been studying astrophysics for nine years and I hate it. I don’t want to do it.’ Then he just walked away. For years and years, I’ve thought about this guy and how many people are like that. He’s got all this brilliance, but just because he can do something doesn’t mean he wants to. So our story involves characters who are bored and discontent with their current course trajectory. They don’t want to go Wall Street or work in some research lab, so they challenge themselves with the vigor of youth to invent something that doesn’t exist.”
Tags: Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley