Interview with Brian Michael Bendis, part 3
"Monkey #@&*@! What the -- "
last, Part 3.
fact, he's just getting started...
Part 1, Bendis discussed
Daredevil. Part 2,
Avengers. So what's left? Believe me, Pilgrim, a lot
picked up by finishing up the overall scheme for the Avengers
line, where it had been rumored that Bendis was overseeing
all the other books that might tie in. He quashed that in
Part 2, but we still had not spoken of a brand new, at this
point fairly mysterious, title coming from the House of
What about the Young Avengers? What kind of coordination
do you have over that?
Bendis: There are editors on these books who actually
do all of this. I am just a fan and eager cheerleader. Tom
Brevoort and Andy Schmidt do all of this work. All of it.
who is the guy from The O.C. who writes all those
episodes with those rather outstanding comic book references
beyond the typical references, just kept writing stuff about
us in his shows. I didn't know him at all, but he kept writing
really nice things. It was very, very nice.
It just became
obvious that this guy, who wrote my wife's favorite episode
of Sex and the City, was just a really good writer.
Marvel came to him and said, "Hey, you want to do something?"
And he came up with a really great idea for a book.
It was just
one of those ideas where everyone in comics who hears it
says, "oh, f*** you!" Because it's one of those ideas you'd
kill for. He seemingly pulled it out of his ass. It seems
to have come rather easily, whereas it would have taken
me three years to come up with it.
So in exchange are you going to angle for a guest-shot on
No, I believe I may be too old. (After the interview,
I discovered that there is a teacher on the show named "Mr.
Bendis." I don't watch it. Sue me.)
He's an outstanding
writer. And also, he's got such a good artist. People saw
it online, they put out this Avengers Finale preview,
and one of the pieces was Cheung - phawwww - this guy is
Me and Heinberg
talk. I've shown him what I'm doing, and he shows me what
he's doing. They complement each other naturally. They build
off each other. But just like any other comics, you can
buy them on their own, or buy them together, or whatever.
So you're aware, but not coordinating.
We're very aware of each other, but no one is stepping on
each other's toes. He even asked me to use Jessica Jones
for something. She'll be making a rare out of Bendis appearance.
Let's move on to yet another controversy for you - Ultimate
Spider-Man. But before we get to the Gwen question, I have
to ask - you said you hated Venom, then you said you hated
Which is worse -- having Carnage kill her or Green Goblin seduce her? Discuss.
Yeah, I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm not going to
say that, because I really hate the Jackal.
I'm just kidding.
Yeah, who else do you hate that you're going to make into
I'm not saying s*** anymore. That's all.
The oldest lesson
in entertainment to learn is to never say never. And I've
done it four times already.
How much hate mail have you had over Gwen's death?
You'd be surprised how little actual hate mail…emotional
mail, sure. You've got to remember that when people go online,
that and the way they act in real life are two totally different
a lot of very emotional e-mail. Even the hate stuff is kind
of a compliment, because this Gwen Stacey was totally a
creation of Bagley and myself. That people gave a s*** is
amazing. Really, it's amazing that anybody cares about any
damned thing we're doing. The outpouring of emotion towards
it is what you'd hope to get from it.
The one criticism
is that it was too early, and well, yes, that's what a tragedy
So why Gwen and not Mary Jane?
You know, you're just going to have to see for yourself
in the book. It complicates his relationship with Mary Jane
in such a spectacular way that it will be pretty obvious
in a few issues.
Once issue #65
came out, that seemed to relieve a lot of people. They were
looking for something in there; they wanted us to just tell
them we weren't going to throw it away.
You're just trying to tell the best story you can. It was
stunning. But that just means you've done your job. Can
I kiss your ass more?
YES! Listen, anyone who's read the books knows that clearly,
we loved Gwen Stacey. It's hard to describe how I didn't
want to do it either. But sometimes, the story tells itself
in a way.
I want to keep myself surprised by Powers, but we should
probably still talk a little bit about it. You've had a
huge boost in Powers sales from the first Marvel issue.
Has that kept up?
Oh, yeah, we're way over what we were - than we ever were.
There's always a boost from number one, but then we settled
and numbers two and three sold out at a level higher than
we ever had. We're good to go.
Will you be returning to quotes on the cover, he asked,
trolling for the opportunity to be mentioned on the cover
of a Marvel comic?
Trade paperback coming
soon -- with expanded version of the controversial
animal husbandry scene.
I stopped for a while, but we'll do it again. Most of the
quotes we'd had for the year before we switched were, "Monkey
f***ing? What the f***?" and I didn't think that was a good
enough quote for later issues.
It sure keeps it out of the hands of the kids…
"What's going on?"
But now we're
getting good reviews again. As hysterical as everyone has
been about Avengers is how nice everyone's been about
Powers. And I can't thank people enough.
#5, everybody's going to be pulling their hair out again
and throwing things at me. It's my career best cliffhanger.
When I saw the
final colored art on it, even I got all "oooooOOOOh!"
How do I spell that?
Just write "Jewish shudder giggle."
Are you going to sneak the Beyonder into Secret War?
I would say never, but then what did I just say before?
Beyonder will be showing up in the What If - ? humor
issue, which I'm very excited about. We've been working
on this all week, and we're having such a good time. It's
"What if Identity Crisis happened at Marvel?"
We went to Brad
Meltzer, and he approved it conceptually.
a special double-sized issue coming out in December. Millar
is in it, Brubaker is in it, and Stan Lee is returning to
Marvel. He wrote tons of great stuff. We've got a lot of
goodies. "What if Thor was Jewish?" (Marvel actually
has this book listed for December 29 as Wha -- Huh?)
After an article in Wizard last month, the rumor has sprung
up that Joe Quesada wants you to do a Moon Knight book.
Is that true?
(giggles like an evil troll)
You're not sleeping anyway, so why not?
The books I'm writing are the books I'm writing. I'm not
taking on anything new for a while. I do have the next new
things I will do lined up, and Moon Knight is not
one of them.
We lay that one to rest, then…
I love Moon Knight.
Is there a character that has not done well that you would
like to bring into fan love?
I'd certainly say that some of those are in New Avengers.
I love Jessica Drew. She's got to be in my top ten favorite
characters. And The Sentry would be that, too. I'm still
on my journey with Cage.
I noticed that in the Halloween issue of Fantastic Four,
kids are still dressing up in the old Luke Cage costume.
Are you going to address that?
All this stuff is all great jokes in New Avengers.
tiara? No problem.
still more...as Bendis goes Hollywood and reflects upon
life, the universe and...