I first noticed
Michael Bendis' work at Caliber. A series of crime noir
stories before the likes of David Lapham, Frank
Miller and Paul Grist were mining the field - the work was
edgy, interesting and seemed to have more in common with TV
and Hollywood crime fiction than anything I'd seen before in
Waiting For Tommy XXXII
By Richard Johnston
picked up from Image brought that work to a new audience,
especially after working on Todd McFarlane's Spawn and
Sam And Twitch titles. Headhunted by Bill Jemas to co-write
and script Ultimate
Spider-Man, when Harras fell and Joe
Quesada took residence at Bill
Jemas' right hand, Bendis' work was looked on favourably.
Ultimate Spider-Man was the first of the ongoing Marvel
monthlies to get its recent work reprinted in hardback,
with the 'DVD' treatment of springboards, scripts and
turning down Ultimate
X-Men when he was approached to recreate that title,
as he felt uncomfortable with the characters, he is
to take over the book for an arc after Mark
While having an occasionally
abrasive temperament, Bendis is known in the industry for
good times, big smiles and for being a self-deprecatory, approachable
individual. Let's see, shall we?
JOHNSTON: Brian, you are charged with polluting children's
literature. Taking certain characters created and intended
to tell stories to an all-ages audience, and specifically
children, and writing stories featuring them to exclude the
younger readers. You are in fact part of a modern decline
in standards. Monsterman's parody of you writing Peanuts,
while amusing, speared the point that in both Daredevil
and Alias, you are doing the equivalent of Tijuana bibles,
slash/fiction sponsored by the current copyright owners. Alias
is the equivalent of a Miramax horror film that co-stars Winnie
The Pooh. Daredevil is Winnie The Pooh: His Life In Crime.
You have a moral duty to wither write these characters as
they were intended, or create other titles/characters from
new cloth, and tell their stories without featuring existing
juvenile characters in any way. Defend yourself.
MICHAEL BENDIS: Well, I think my work defends me fine.
But Daredevil isn't Winnie The Pooh. And you damn well know
it. From the first issue it was a pulp hero comic about paternal
is no swearing or gratuitous violence in Daredevil or Spider-Man.
In fact I could argue that there is less violence in my mainstream
comics than any other titles. My violence is quick and painful.
And if there is violence it is covered up by gratuitous word
is an adult book marketed and created for adults. If you are
accusing me of not writing down to people, I take that very
kindly. It's not my job to be dumb, it's my job to be interesting.
world is fifty times more sophisticated than it was
twenty years ago and so is our audience. The books reflect
our times, compare the Dick Van Dyke show and Friends,
same plots, same jokes, right? But everything else about
the tone and craft of it are different. We have to move
forward, join us.
I'm not accusing you of not writing down, merely not
writing inclusively for a character which was created
to appeal to all.
I don't agree with this either, not everything is for
everyone, in fact some of my most diehard readers don't
read USM because they aren't into the character. But
they do like Jessica Jones. That's also why there are
different Spidey comics published every month, so fans
can choose which type or types they want.
Do you see a difference between using Luke Cage or Captain
America in Alias and, say, using Tigger, apart from the
I really don't. It's not like I used the characters without
corporate permission, you act like I am involved in some anarchistic
publishing coup. Marvel Comics published the book because
they thought it was an interesting way to present the characters...TO
ADULTS. It wasn't and never will be marketed towards children,
my new born daughter will wait twenty years to find out what
is wrong with her father :)
Would Tigger make for a fun sex toy?
If that's what Pooh Inc wanted to do. Marvel, like Disney,
has branched out to their older audience by creating product
are out on a limb on this one, it doesn't hold up. The warning
label on Alias couldn't be larger. And frankly, a kid wouldn't
be that interested in it. Batman
has been in his fair share of Vertigo books long before I
was allowed in the game.