It's official: Brian Michael Bendis has gone from an up-and-coming creator to one who has arrived. Marvel Comics last week announced that the writer of Image Comics' "Jinx," "Sam and Twitch" and "Powers" will be at the helm for their new-reader-friendly versions of Spider-Man and the X-Men, under their "Ultimate Marvel" banner.
With the cat out of the official bag, Bendis addressed his fans directly on Sunday on his message board.
"Firstly, I am still working on 'Sam and Twitch,' 'Hellspawn,' and 'Powers.' I am very grateful and proud of my work for Todd [McFarlane] and will stay with his company for as long as he will have me. Todd has given me the opportunity to let me 'do my thing' in the more mainstream full color market and a lot of what has happened to me over the last year is in direct result of that increased profile, including the amazing performance of 'Powers' debut. This isn't ass kissing, this is financial fact. So, yes, I am still writing those books and am very passionate about them. He will literally have to pry 'Sam and Twitch' from my cold, dead hands.
"Please, don't worry about my 'work load.'
"First of all, I am ahead on all my projects and have been for some time. If I totally flaked today, you wouldn't even notice till December. And I'm not going to.
"I have some kind of immigrant work ethic. I am always working my ass off, since high school. But its not like I am lugging boxes or flipping burgers. It's hardly 'hard work.' It's thinking and typing and research. But I do take the fact that my name is on the product, any product, very seriously and I have no intention of writing something I am unqualified to write or hand in anything sucky."
The Ultimate Marvel X-Men book is still in too early of a stage to discuss, but the stripped-down, 21st century version of Spider-Man is in a much more finalized state, and Bendis was willing to share some insights into the wall crawler and his secret identity of Peter Parker, digital photographer for the Daily Bugle Web site.
"First off, the … 'Ultimate' idea is a fantastic idea. You don't know the whole picture yet. Most of it is big business stuff and its all pretty exciting.
"And it ain't gonna look too shabby on the resume.
"Everyone is screaming: 'It's the death knell of comics and why isn't Marvel or DC doing something about it?' And now someone is. Will it work? Don't know. Doesn't matter. What matters is someone is trying. And not just talking about it, doing it. And I am thrilled to be part of that.
"And if it does work? FANTASTIC! All I want is for people to read comics and enjoy them and talk about them.
"A lot of people don't like to admit this, but there are just simply not enough people reading mainstream comics in North America to justify their existence financially. And it is a business, let's not kid. DC obviously has some cushion from Time-Warner and Marvel's losses are public record. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! NOW!
"X-Men, Spider-Man, they are very popular characters and icons. And not just in the world of comics. People know them. So, we need to make people want to read about them in the artform in which they were invented.