Brian Michael Bendis is one of the biggest names in comic books, having launched the original Ultimate Spider-Man run back in 2000, as well as revitalizing the Avengers franchise for the new millennium. Prior to that, Bendis had made his mark writing and illustrating crime comics. Right around the time that his mainstream superhero career was taking off, Bendis also created a Harvey Pekar-esque autobiographical comic called Fortune and Glory, detailing his own trials and tribulations with trying to break into Hollywood and escape from development hell.
Over on his Substack, Bendis has announced plans to revisit Fortune and Glory, but with a new, more modern twist: this time, it's a musical.
Okay it's still technically comic book. But Fortune and Glory: The Musical will tell the first-person tell of Bendis's experiences on the notorious Broadway musical flop Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Here's how Bendis describes it:
I never thought I would have stories crazier than the ones I told in the original Fortune and Glory. Everything happening to me in comics was fun and fun to talk about, but was it autobiography-worthy? Then I got called to be the writer of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a now notorious infamous Broadway musical that you can Google about right now. The story I'm about to tell you happened years before the show's debut. Only my closest pals knew any of this happened at the time. I've only hinted at parts of this in past interviews. Now, it gives me a GREAT excuse to go down memory lane and share my favorite moments of coming up in comics with you.
A lot of the stories in this GN mean everything to me. They are the most defining moments in my life. A lot of them happened before the Internet, so there's not a lot of archive about this time in our lives and in comics. I know a lot of people reading these newsletters are creators and writers themselves. I hope my journey, and my pain, brings you some personal solace. If anyone reading this had anything to do with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, I hope reading this brings you some peace knowing that someone somewhere was trying to stop it from happening years prior.
Glen Berger, the playwright who was ultimately credited as co-writer on the production, told his own behind-the-scene story about the musical in the 2013 book Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History. But I'm much more interested to hear Bendis's side of things — both because he was actually coming from the world of comics, and also because he had apparently been consulting on the show in its earliest, weirdest days, even before people like Berger were brought in to try and wrangle something out of the wreckage. (I also find it … curious … that Berger seemed to attach himself as a silent sidekick to writer/director Julie Taymor during the show's sloppy run, only to turn around and spill the beans for profit as soon as possible.)
Fortune and Glory: The Musical will be serialized on Bendis's Substack, before presumably being collected in book form. I believe the first chapter is free, but you'll have to pay for the rest of the weekly installments. Having followed the development of said musical since its earliest days, I know I'm eager to shell over the cash.