Julian Louis Blair, gentleman cartoonist and podcaster, writes for Bleeding Cool from the Melbourne Supernova Convention for a now-rare appearance by Brian Bendis.
The seminar room was both a welcome safe haven from the stuffy heat and throng of cosplaying teenagers that was the convention hall as well as a place I finally sit and rest from the weary day convention store browsing. Oh, and it had Brian Michael Bendis.
I was more than a little giddy with excitement. And rightly so too, as apart from sharing his awesomely affable personality and articulate answers and insights to the audience’s questions -be they on writing style or representation in comics- Bendis also gave us a glimpse at some “cool art”.
Cool it was too. Bendis was taking questions from the audience (“we’ll do some ‘Q’s, do some ‘A’s. I’ll do the ‘A’s”) whilst bringing up various pictures from upcoming projects. We saw the Powers FBI image, the cover to an upcoming New Avengers (showing some Hawkeye and Black Widow action) and some of Walter Simonson’s Avengers pages, Bendis expressing the kind of thrilled honour of having Simmonson as an artist when he inspired him so in earlier days.
We then saw some Sara Pichelli art from “Spider-Men”, the kind of pages that make you take a sharp intake of breath so lovely are they. These pages, showing 616 Peter Parker and Ultimate Nick Fury kind of sold me on the series, it – and Bendis’ clear enthusiasm for the project and Ultimate comics world – have such great acting going on, seeing the expressions Pichelli gave these characters really suggests some interesting character moments, Bendis’ talk of 616 Peter Parker meeting Aunt May furthers this idea.
Also previewed were a few covers and variant covers for Spider-men, including a Mark Bagley pencilled cover inked by Sara Pichelli that Bendis seemed pretty chuffed about, as he did too about the Pichelli cover of Peter Parker and Miles removing each other’s masks- saying that it’s just the sort of thing we don’t see often with the covers.
Moving from art to nerdery, hints were given about the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe with Bendis teasing that there’s more development to come with Nova after an audience member pointed out to him that Nova was last seen stuck in the Cancer Dimension. I have no idea what they were talking about, but from Bendis’ reaction it seemed to make sense to the more continuity conscious. Bendis also said that there’s a lot that will be different, or shaken up anyway, following AvX and that there’d be a lot to talk about were this seminar at the end of the run.
As I mentioned, some audience members had questions to do with representation. Answering the questions in relation to females in comics, Bendis spoke about his commitment to writing people as they are with their foibles and strengths whatever the gender, also noting that AvX will have a lot to like on that front. Bendis was also commended for his portrayal of the deaf character Echo in his Moon Knight series, he said that while it’s impossible to present everybody’s experience in a comic he can write the truth of people as he knows it.
On the question of Moon Knight, he stated that the series had been planned as a 12 issue story arc with the hope of it becoming an ongoing. He still wishes to do more with the Marvel West Coast, saying that he doesn’t know why anyone would still live in Manhattan when it keeps falling down around them. Bendis spoke too of a dream he and Mark Bagley have, of a current member of the Bendis Board ending up as Marvel CCO and hiring the two of them in fifty years time to do Amazing Spider-man, only for them to come in and ruin it, making the comics reading public feel both angry and sad for such a result.