Brian Michael Bendis's name showed up in Miles Morales's phone during Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse -- but the writer says that his creation almost never calls, and anyway, that isn't the onscreen appearance that he was the most excited about.
In the film's opening credits, Bendis shared a "produced by" title card with the late Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, co-creator of the Peter Parker Spider-Man and, thanks to decades as Marvel's public face, one of the highest-grossing producers in the history of Hollywood.
"What's funny about this is just how many people are completely chuffed about my name being in Miles' phone, and nobody cares that I got to share a credit card with Stan," Bendis laughed when we asked which was more exciting. "That was the biggest gift in the movie to me, was that card. I think people think it was contractually obligated or something. It was not. I did not know it was going to be there until they showed it to me."
Bendis was the first writer on Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man, and while none of the company's other Ultimate titles lasted nearly as long or had close to the same impact on the public perception fo the hero, he hung on for over 200 issues, during which he told the full story of the life and death of that world's Peter Parker -- and introduced Miles Morales, Peter's unlikely successor and the featured lead in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
"It was their valentine; it was their thank you, and it was lovely," Bendis continued on the subject of the credit. "And I was so moved by that."
He added that the film, which was dedicated to Spider-Man co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, was "an enormous gift," coming as it did shortly after his life-threatening bout with MRSA infection, which took place just before he wrote his final Spider-Man issue featuring Miles. Getting out of the hospital, Bendis completed his opus, and then got to sit in a theater and watch his name pop up onscreen next to his longtime hero Lee...in an Academy Award-winning superhero movie.
"The whole thing has been an enormous gift," Bendis said. "I almost didn't make it to see this. That weighs heavy over all of it. This movie has sort of gone as far as it could possibly go, it's amazing. Amazing!"
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is out now on Digital and is available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on March 19.