Brian Bendis: All That and a Bag of Tricks – Part 8

DT: What do you have brewing in your head as far as different formats or different ways you can tell Powers stories?

BB: Yeah, in the Powers Annual that comes out in two weeks — it was the [revised version of the mail-away] Powers 1/2 but it got too big, so we’re making it the annual — first you get the story that happened, the villain gets caught and interrogated and arrested for murder, and then the second half of the story is a courtroom transcript of the trial with courtroom sketches. One of my many jobs, I was a courtroom sketch artist for the federal courthouse for the Fox channel in Cleveland for a couple of years. So for years, I’ve wanted to do this, because courtroom drawings are comic book drawings. So I’ve wanted to tell a story all in courtroom style drawings. And Mike pleaded with me that maybe it was a good idea to do a handful, and not a hundred of them. So that’s what we’re gonna do, in a couple of weeks, the Law & Order issue of Powers.

I got all kinds of stuff. In Daredevil, which I’m taking over, it starts in a couple of weeks, I’m doing something with an artist that I’ve done a little bit in Sam and Twitch. The story, not too dissimilar from the movies Memento and Out of Sight, is told out of order for dramatic reasons. There’s an actual purpose to it. We flash back all over the place. And we get to the moment where we find out what the story’s about, which nobody will see coming, and it took me two months of whining to get Marvel to agree to it. And it’s big, you’ve never seen this in a Marvel comic, and when you get to the moment of clarity, it’ll go straight . . . and it’s about five issues of fractured storytelling structure, which hopefully people won’t beat the crap out of me for, but again, I’m trying to do new stuff. Turn it upside down if you can, see what happens. And no one knows that, by the way. We haven’t announced it, we’re just putting it out fractured, so that’s kind of a scoop for you. (laughs)

DT: Cool. You mentioned Mike being glad to get a break from the talking heads . . . is that something you’re at all concerned about, that you have a style and approach that you actually self-parodied in the Oni Summer Special? Is that something you look at and say, “I gotta pull back, I can’t have this kind of back and forth exchange, because that’s what people are expecting?”

BB: There’s always gonna be that if you keep doing what you do that made you famous, the minute you stop doing it everybody’s mad at you for it, but if you continue to do it they go, “Oh, you’re doing that.” There’s always that, but that goes with the territory. I think you see a lot of this format breaking we’ve talked about, it builds upon whatever I’ve tried to build myself into. I do think about it, but I think I’m a step ahead of it. And you know what, I’d rather have a style than not, because there’s a lot of guys that don’t even have a style, they’re just doing something that’s the same as what they were doing twenty years ago, and they don’t have anything new to say. So I’d rather be beaned for having a style than not having one. Within that style there’s a lot to accomplish. Even the difference between Fortune and Glory and Torso, like you said before, there’s the basis of a style in there somewhere, but they couldn’t be more different. Same thing with Spider-Man and Alias. You could compare those two. I have personal goals and challenges that are far beyond what anything anyone’s expecting, from both my employers and my readers. I have personal goals that are much larger, almost unobtainable.

DT: Anything from any of your other projects that we haven’t touched on that you’d like to mention?

BB: I got a big pile of art today from the next few issues of Ultimate Team-Up, which is the sister book to Spider-Man, and it’s more like an anthology book of different art styles. These are all artists I’ve been able to pick and write specifically for them, like I told you before. And they are soo good. These issues coming out are so awesome. People are gonna get whiplash from the style difference from issue to issue. They go from crime to humor to horror to manga, issue to issue to issue. I’m just thrilled to bits, what a fun thing this turned out to be. So I’m pretty proud of that. That’ll be what I do for a while, these will be the books that I do. I have big goals for all of them.