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ECCC 2018: Brian Michael Bendis reveals how his health battles changed Spider-Man's ending

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Mar 2, 2018

Crossover comic darling Brian Michael Bendis graced the stage at Seattle, Washington’s Emerald City Comic Con Friday night and opened up about Marvel and DC projects both new and old, as well as the creator-owned debuts he’ll be bringing to the table over the next year. But first, he addressed beating the crippling bacterial infection MRSA, and how it was a game-changer for the prolific writer.

Bendis, who was in the midst of finishing his Marvel run before going to rival DC when he was hospitalized, said that he was waylaid with multiple comics to write, without Iron Man or Jessica Jones wrapped up, and the thought that kept coming back to him was how many stories he still wanted to tell. They finally let him go home for a single night, which led to Bendis finishing a Defenders script with his one working eye barely open.

But while those scripts were certainly influenced by his health battle, Spider-Man was inescapably changed. “The ending of Spider-Man is completely different from the one I was going to do before I got sick,” Bendis said. “Being sick changed the ending of Spider-Man. I came out of my terrible situation with a feeling that was overwhelmingly positive about my friends and family that I knew I wanted to end Spider-Man with that feeling.” And now Spidey is finished, and so too is Bendis’ 17-odd-year run at Marvel.

Last night at 1:00 a.m., Bendis handed in his last Iron Man pages -- the last of the Marvel obligations. Now he’s finished at Marvel and ready to leap into his DC comics full throttle. And the move, which also created a “genuine partnership” between DC and his creator-owned Jinxworld comics (including two new stories, Pearl and Cover), is highly focused on Superman.

Bendis revealed that he’ll be introducing a new Big Bad for Superman to face off against, and the alien creature’s name is Rogel. Apparently the latter’s secrets cut right to Superman’s core, getting under his skin, and readers will discover why in Action Comics #1000. But what they won’t find out is that Rogel was named for Bendis’ female German nurse -- who, after learning she was to be in his comics, brought drawings for what she wanted to look like into his hospital room.

A few other teases include Bendis asking the seemingly benign questions of “What does Metropolis do when Superman’s not around? Are there villains that keep an eye on that?” This hint for his DC future was coupled with a funny anecdote about his time serving on the Marvel creative committee -- during which he saw Kenneth Branagh act out all of Thor, playing all the parts (including an imitation of Anthony Hopkins).

Many of Bendis’ DC comic projects will launch this summer, with his Jinxworld books coming this fall.

To keep up on all the latest from ECCC 2018, check out one of our three live streams!