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The Promise And Perils Of Creating New Characters In Established Comic Canon, According To Brian Michael Bendis - Exclusive

Brian Michael Bendis is one of the most influential creators in modern comic-dom. His work in mainstream comic books is incredibly impactful, between a Marvel run that includes major titles like "Ultimate Spider-Man," "New Avengers," "House of M," "Age of Ultron," and more, and a more recent DC Comics run that includes titles like "Superman" and the recent "Legion of Super-Heroes" titles. His run of creator-owned comics has also proven important to the comics sphere, between creator-owned projects like "Scarlet" and "Brilliant" to the Eisner award-winner "Powers."

Bendis' impact on the modern comic landscape is impressive, to say the least. His additions to Marvel and DC comic lore are considerable, such as creating beloved characters like Miles Morales (aka Spider-Man) and Riri Williams (aka Ironheart), or being behind major classic Marvel moments like the aforementioned "House of M" and "Age of Ultron" storylines and arcs like "Secret Invasion" and "Civil War II." In an exclusive interview with Looper, Bendis explained the most rewarding part of creating characters within the playground of established comic canon — alongside the dangers that lurk while adding to such beloved literary history.

There's already a bedrock of love and appreciation

During our conversation, Brian Michael Bendis explained that if a comic creator has a shot at adding to beloved comic canon, the rewards are numerous. The positive part of "creating something in a shared universe," he said, "is that there's already a bedrock of love and appreciation for where we are." Decades of comic book history have created a committed fan base that is greatly invested in a creator's creations. 

As a consequence, "If you can find it within yourself to add something that brings a lot more to that thing, people really do celebrate that." Right away, Bendis had an example of one of his own creations that has received a great reception from the comic community. He explained, "Miles Morales is a hug that never stops in my life. It never stops." 

On the other hand, with so much investment in creating characters within existing comic canon, the stakes are high. Bendis said, "You can add things into the shared universe where people go, 'Don't do that. [It's] our thing that you pooped all over.'" That same level of fan passion can create great backlash if the addition isn't what the fanbase was looking for. It's just like a wise character once said: "With great power" — or at least, the power to create major additions to established comic lore — "comes great responsibility."

You can find Bendis' "Phenomena" at booksellers near you.