Renowned Marvel comics writer and artist, Brian Michael Bendis, will make his debut UK appearance at this year’s London Super Comic-Con. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with him to talk Marvel comics, fatherhood and London Super Comic-Con.
You’re one of the biggest names in the comic world. Why haven’t you come to London Super Comic-Con before?
Timing. I just have not been able to make it work with my crazy work schedule. I’m so happy that I finally get to come to London and meet everyone.
Funnily enough, I was conceived in London. I don’t know what the laws are in England, but I feel that somehow makes me in line for some title.
What have you got in store for the Marvel Comics fans at this year’s convention?
This is a very exciting time in mainstream comics. Marvel comics are debuting a very big initiative called Legacy which I am excited to be part of. We’re bringing all the latest news and updates for Spider-Men 2, Jessica Jones, the Defenders, Miles Morales, Riri Williams and more.
Are there any British writers/artists that you admire or follow?
So many. You have to understand that I came into comics on the rise of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Vertigo and 2000 AD creators. This all happened at a very formative time in my development. It is almost impossible to discuss my love of comics without discussing my love of British creators.
What/who inspires you as a writer?
It is such a hard question to answer. I just want to write something to make myself feel better about the world and describes what I wish the world was actually like. I want to make something my kids, and your kids, would really love when they grow up.
Really, it just comes down to remembering I have been given this honor to be these beloved characters‘ temporary custodian and to treat that honor with the fun and respect it deserves.
How did you feel when you were given the chance to recreate recreate the Marvel Universe?
Unworthy. So I try to write as honestly and as truthful and as intimately as I can, so we can all relate to each other through these amazing characters. The response I get back, from all over the world, is sometimes overwhelming
Well, parenting influences everything. First of all, I find it forces us to try to be as close to the best version of ourselves all day. We realize that our children are kind of counting on us to be the best we can be so you just do it. At least, try!
That’s really the philosophy of most of the characters in the Marvel universe, good or bad. Everyone is trying to be their best all the time. I’m not saying I’m the best guy ever because I’m a dad, I’m a pile of nerves, but I think all parents know the feeling of just being exhausted from trying to be your best all day.
Does having daughters inspire you when writing your female characters?
Fatherhood and being a husband has inspired me to do better, and to write as honestly and personally as I could. No matter how fantastical the environment. Also, in the back of your head, you say to yourself: my kids might read this one day, try not to suck.
Do you think that comics should be addressing the bigger issues in society?
No one spending a precious few minutes of their time reading a comic wants to be lectured. But if you’re writing about the real world and Marvel comics, like Spider-man take place in real cities, people will see it as false if you don’t write a reflection of that real world.
We’re living in very complicated times and, particularly this year in America, it’s unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. Artists, writers and musicians can’t help, but reflect what’s happening around us.
Marvel comics champion the underdog. Who do you want to give a voice to and why?
The individual. I am constantly baffled at the attack on individuality and intellectualism that is going on in America. Individuality needs to be celebrated and championed. In all forms. Intellect needs to be celebrated, and not mocked. I constantly write characters far more intelligent & aware of themselves than I am because I think those are noble aspirations.