The news that Walt Simonson is not only returning to Marvel, but drawing Brian Michael Bendis’ last arc on Avengers, makes me think about Marvel’s talent management vs. DC’s. For whatever reason – I’m tempted to say “The fact that there’s little else to work on, there” – Marvel has a tendency to use big name creators on big name books, as opposed to DC, where the same creators often work on smaller, more personal, projects. It’s not just Simonson – who, in his time at DC, bounced around titles like Wonder Woman, World of Warcraft, DC Universe: Legacies, JSA Classified and his Orion series that still really, really deserves to be collected thank you very much – but consider Warren Ellis, who went from barely touching the DCU when he was under DC Exclusive (His footprint was, what, one JLA Classified arc?) to writing Ultimate Fantastic Four, Astonishing X-Men and Iron Man for Marvel as well as Nextwave, newuniversal and Secret Avengers; Andy Diggle, whose DCU work consisted of, I think, Green Arrow Year One before jumping ship to Marvel and Daredevil and Thunderbolts; or Brian Wood, who didn’t work on any DCU characters before going to Marvel and starting Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega.
There’s almost certainly more to it than Marvel offering (a) a lot of money and (b) not a lot of choice of available projects to creators; in Wood’s case, at least, we know that he had pitched for DCU work and not landed the gig, and for all we know, Diggle and Simonson were in similar boats (Somehow, I doubt that Ellis falls into the same camp), but I find the disconnect interesting. It feels like it’s only recently, with Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder’s lead, that DC has really become comfortable with using “Vertigo creators” in their DCU books, and so perhaps that also contributes to the weird discrepancy. But it ends with interesting results, such as this Simonson news, which Marvel can easily play as “Comics Great Walter Simonson Returns To Superhero Comics!” without that much fear of contradiction.