Get into a comfortable chair, because some steaming Broadway tea is about to pour! An upcoming non-fiction graphic novel will offer readers a glimpse behind the curtain of the creation of Broadway's ill-fated Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The graphic novel, Fortune and Glory: The Musical!, will be written by Brian Michael Bendis, who was one of the book writers of the failed superhero musical. It will be the unprecedented second tell-all book to be released by a member of the Spider-Man team, though this new volume will be appropriate to its inspiration, since Spider-Man was first a comic book. The news was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Bendis, author of the forthcoming graphic novel titled Fortune and Glory: The Musical!, is a comic book writer and artist whose work includes Ultimate Spider-Man and New Avengers. He has written a previous graphic novel, Fortune and Glory, detailing his time working in Hollywood.
Though never credited in the musical's Broadway Playbill, Bendis was apparently wrangled into working on the 2011 musical. The eventual Broadway show's book was credited to Julie Taymor, Glen Berger, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the latter of which was added to the roster following an extensive re-tooling during the production's lengthy preview period. Bendis reportedly worked on the project early in its process.
As Bendis writes in his Substack newsletter, "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." He also adds, "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."
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was planned to be a Broadway blockbuster, with a score by Bono and The Edge and visionary, Tony-winning The Lion King director Julie Taymor at the helm. But the project seems to have been doomed from the very beginning. The project's first producer, Tony Adams, died after suffering a stroke moments before Bono and The Edge were poised to officially sign on to the project in 2005. Five years later, when the show had finally made its way to the stage, Taymor's epic and technically precarious vision for the production led to regular problems during preview performances, including effects not working and actor injuries.
The production ultimately underwent dramatic revisions during its long preview period that reportedly ballooned its already astronomical budget to an unprecedented $75 million. Critical response was not positive after the show finally opened in 2011. And despite a respectable three-year run, the show's wild budget still left investors reportedly losing a staggering $60 million. Perhaps the only silver lining for the embattled production was that U.S. Congressman George Santos was not, in fact, part of the team of producers (even though he claimed he was).
Fortune and Glory: The Musical! will be released starting this week in bi-weekly installments via Bendis' Substack, with a print edition expected from Dark Horse Comics to follow. The first installment is out now, which details how Bendis got the call to work on Spider-Man. Fortune and Glory: The Musical will feature illustrations by Bill Walko, with colors by Wes Dzioba and lettering by Josh Reed.
This is not the first book written about the making of Spider-Man. Berger shared his version of events in his own dishy volume, Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History, released in 2013.