Bendis’ Early Masterpiece Passes the Test of Time

samntwitchBefore the Elvis of modern comic book writing, Brian Michael Bendis, became the most prolific and recognizable writer in the industry, he took the helm of the “Spawn” spin-off “Sam and Twitch,” a crime-noir tale featuring two of New York’s best cops, the obese, but terribly charismatic Sam Burke and the always loyal and surprisingly tough Twitch Williams.

Showcasing the wit and storytelling ability that later garnered him five Eisner awards, the first nine issues of the “Sam and Twitch” series, which are chronicled in the “Sam and Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection Vol 1” trade, is a rare treat that proves that even at an early point in his career, Bendis was one step ahead of the competition.

Even without having super heroes with fantastic powers on his side, Bendis turns in an extraordinary effort in this trade, due to his remarkable ability to make his characters feel real. The conversation never seems forced and everything seems to have a flow to it. Throughout the story, you’ll feel a connection to these two hard-nosed cops who are the recipients of the ultimate screw job and know it.

Seeing them rise above their enemies and problems, thanks to luck, patience and trust in each other, is one of the best feelings you can get from a comic book.

Emotional, yet hilarious, gritty and real, Bendis may have made a name for himself on “Ultimate Spider-Man” and various other Marvel offerings, but this collection is possibly even stronger, due to the fact that it is void of many of the elements that have contributed to his success.

Seeing Burke tell Spawn to go away [well, he’s a bit nastier than that] while he and Williams are trying to get to the bottom of the conspiracy in the NYPD may be funny, but it’s also a great way of Bendis to tell the world that he doesn’t need established characters to be an effective writer. He can do that all by himself.

Helping Bendis’s cause is the art work of Angel Medina, which is still superior and innovative over a decade later. Dark and gritty, it provides the ominous feeling that things aren’t exactly as they seem and fuel the writing of Bendis with perfect precision. Able to control the action, regardless of how quickly things are developing, Medina changes the direction your eyes are used to moving, but does it in such a natural way that you’ll be more intrigued by it than frustrated.

Following the comic book formula of great writing + great art= excellent book, “Sam and Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection Vol 1” is a once in a lifetime offering that will appeal to more than the average comic book fan for the simple reason that it is an amazing story that pulls no punches with its characters, setting and message.

If you thought Bendis was good before, read this and you’ll think he’s just like the song from “The Karate Kid.”

The best around.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13221 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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