Jinx. Goldfish. Powers. Ultimate Spider-Man. And now Uncanny X-Men. The resume for Brian Michael Bendis is a long and winding road. But occasionally he stops to refuel, and we were lucky enough to catch him at the gas pump to ask him some questions about his latest gig writing about Marvel's mighty mutants!
PREVIEWSworld: How many issues do you have plotted out so far? Can you give us any hint about what's to come?
Brian M. Bendis: I'm always about a year ahead plot wise, and I try to stay six months ahead script wise. What I am most excited about is the last page of Uncanny X-Men number one. It is a page that no one is expecting, yet I think is very interesting for the entire franchise going forward. It puts some (maybe all?) of the characters in a situation I have never seen them in before.
What I am most excited about is the complete exploration of the ideas and themes of these characters. The name brand “X-Men” is in a completely new situation in the Marvel universe. It's going to test a lot of the characters. At the same time, I have helped create some brand-new mutant characters (our first in a long time) and I've given a lot of consideration to bringing unique new power sets and voices into the books.
PREVIEWSworld: Who had the say in changing Scott's visor? How did that come about?
Bendis: It was discussed during the AVX conversations. We knew that Scott would be taking a much harder stance and his uniform should reflect that. The “X” now represents something more. For some, Cyclops will be taking on an iconic persona in the fight for mutant rights. His look is very important.
PREVIEWSworld: What particular X-Men story (or stories) moved you to where you'd regard them as "benchmarks"?
Bendis: So many. I thought Matt Fraction brought nothing but fun and invention into the titles. Those three word descriptions of all the characters is something I desperately want to steal every day. I am also a huge fan of the John Byrne and Paul Smith years — superhero soap opera at its finest. And, dear Lord, did I love Arthur Adams work on the Asgardian wars. People talk about Chris Claremont's longevity on the titles, but I think what people should really focus on is his revolutionary idea of making the mutants about modern racism in this world. He brought that to it. And that is an idea that can be examined from all different angles.
PREVIEWSworld: Our theme in the December PREVIEWS is "Unsung Heroes." Who on your new X-Men team would best fit the description of "unsung hero"?
Bendis: I know you mean which character in the book but I'm going to answer X-Men editor Nick Lowe. This guy loves these characters so much and does everything in his power every day to make sure that the labyrinth history of these characters is honored, while at the same time doing everything to move the franchise forward based on character. I've worked with Nick before, but he is so passionate about these books.
I think if fans saw what good hands they were in, they would never stop smiling.
PREVIEWSworld: With a bunch of new creators on Marvel's NOW team books, what kind of thoughts do you guys share when you're texting, or bumping into each other at conventions?
Bendis: Well, on its weirdest day, it’s like each of us are watching someone else make out with our ex-girlfriend in front of us :-). But, really, once everyone settled into their new gigs, and everyone got very supportive, I have gotten more supportive emails from other creators over my X-Men books than I ever did on Avengers.
All of these books are exciting, and everybody is trying their best to make something very special.
A new number one is an honor, and it's an honor you have to earn — and we all know what that means.