Legendary comic book writers Brian Michael Bendis (co-creator of Jessica Jones and Miles Morales) and Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service) showed up on our stage at C2E2 in Chicago to talk about their respective careers. Bendis recently made the move from Marvel to DC while Millar sold his creative world to Netflix in a massive deal. In a mediator-less conversation with each other, the two creators reflected on their time at Marvel when Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada treated them like the president and vice president of the United States and wouldn't let them travel together in the same cab.
When Bendis and Millar joined the company, it was on the verge of bankrupcty, keeping the lights off and selling furniture just to keep things barely afloat. Remembering this dark (literal and figurative) period in Marvel's history, Bendis said that he thought he'd be the one to write the last Spider-Man comic ever. Millar added that there is an advantage to joining a company that's "on its knees" because they let you take risks and do your own thing that they wouldn't allow if business was booming.
Pivoting to their current day projects, talk turned toward Bendis's takeover of Superman at DC, his first story appearing in Action Comics #1000. He'll be writing a brand-new Man of Steel title and when asked about how his Jewish background would influence his interpretation of the character, he joked that Clark would be getting a bris (a religious circumcision) in Man of Steel #1. In all seriousness, Judaism has pervaded the character since the 1930s due to the fact that Superman was created by two Jewish guys from Cleveland, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. This excites Bendis, as he's also a Jewish kid from Cleveland. According to him, he wrote a 7-page manifesto on Clark Kent's relatability for everyone at DC "whether they wanted it or not."
Millar, meanwhile, stated that, "we’re entering the best period comic has ever had” while referencing his Netflix deal. His first major book will be The Magic Order, which arrives this summer and will be getting an insane marketing campaign, comparable to that of a major studio movie. The TV show based on the book is still a year away, but Millar's very excited and recounted how Stan Lee encouraged him (over the phone) to create his own characters.
Once Lee gave him that nudge, the writer said, he immediately started work on Wanted. Nevertheless, it was Watchmen co-creator Alan Moore who inspired Millar to pursue a career in comics. A young Millar met Moore in Glasgow, Scotland during the early 1980s before Moore was super famous. While Millar was aware of Stan Lee at the time, he thought of Marvel's golden boy as this faraway mythical figure whereas Moore was this tangible figure he could actually meet. In a way, Millar basically described Alan Moore as a more relatable Stan Lee--at least for his 14-year-old self.
You can see the full conversation below: