Brian Michael Bendis Explains Legion of Super-Heroes Animation, Adult Themes

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Comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis has explained what the animation style and adult themes will be like in the upcoming Legion of Super-Heroes animated series. HBO Max is developing an adaptation of Bendis’ most recent run on the DC superhero team from the future. When Bendis made the announcement of a new Legion animated series, one word that stuck out to many fans was its description of being “adult-animated.” Of course, that brought on many assumptions of characters having sex and other raunchy affairs. The prolific writer, who is also working with HBO Max behind the scenes, decided to clear the air and let fans know what to expect.

The latest edition of Bendis’ Substack newsletter showed preview art from his and Stephen Byrne’s Dark Horse Comics series Joy Operations, and a Justice League Annual collaboration with Eisner award-winning Bitter Root co-creator Sanford Greene. He then did a light Q&A to elaborate on Legion of Super-Heroes, first starting with the topic of the show’s adult animation.

“I used the phrase ‘adult animation’ to describe this show. Some of you definitely have different interpretations of what adult animation means :),” Bendis joked. “Some incorrectly labeled this as potential hard-core pornography. NO. This is a Warner Bros. animation production. Adult means adult THEMES. Obviously, there are hundreds of examples of mature themed animated projects from all over the world.”

He added: “In the superhero spaces, there are different levels of sophistication meant for different audiences. There are even previous animated Legion shows that skewed young and some people hearing this announcement immediately referenced that. I was just letting you know that this is potentially something else.”

Bendis later said that he couldn’t give fans a real answer as to the show’s animation style. However, he did speak to how the pandemic is allowing animators more freedom. “I can tell you, the pandemic has allowed a lot of people in the animation spaces all over the world, both independent and multimedia corporate, to explore,” he said. “You’ve already seen some of this pop up in all kinds of special projects. I think we’re about to see a golden age of animation something akin to the birth of Pixar.”

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A Legion of Super Heroes animated series aired two seasons back in 2006, following the adventures of a young Superman in the 31st century. The DC comic by Bendis and Sook flipped the script by placing Superman’s son, Jon Kent, as a member of the team in the future, thanks to some time travel. Since the HBO Max series is an adaptation of that very same comic, then we can assume Jon Kent Superboy will be one of the main stars. Members of the Legion have also appeared on the live-action CW series Supergirl, and in this season’s Young Justice: Phantoms.

What would you like to see from the Legion of Super-Heroes’ animation on HBO Max? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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