Before Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a critically-acclaimed, Academy Award-winning animated film, the character of Miles Morales was created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli in Ultimate Spider-Man. The character caught on with readers in a way very few "replacement heroes" do, and ultimately made the jump from the now-defunct Ultimate Universe to the main-line Marvel continuity, where he has had to adjust to not being the only Spider-Man. During a recent conversation with Bendis, he explained how his visceral, emotional reaction to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse took him back to Spider-Men, the 2012 miniseries that paired Miles with the Marvel Universe's Peter Parker for the first time.
"Sometimes, projects surprise you -- and the first Spider Men mini-series really surprised us," Bendis told ComicBook.com during a recent interview in support of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. "It got real emotional, like we were going through some stuff. It was just like, 'wow, this is really getting deep. The characters are literally forcing the story into an emotional place.' So, I think it's that stuff that really inspired all of us from the get go. But that was just the story of Peter and Miles. So, then discovering Dan's off in Spider-verse, oh there's your event. Then you get to the movies and I must say that when you're surprised by the emotions of your work, and then years later another filmmaker attaches themselves to that emotion because they feel it too -- it feels like an our success from their ability to grow that feeling, to make it better, to make it more universal, it's a very unique experience, and one I'm clearly having a hard time articulating. It's a unique storytelling experience."
Now that Bendis is about a year removed from telling his final Spider-Man story -- he signed an exclusive deal with DC and took over the Superman titles last April -- he told us that the experience of watching somebody else tell stories with Miles has been even more rewarding than the years of stories he got to tell within the world of Ultimate Spider-Man and its successors. Part of that, he reasoned, is just the creative process and the fact that he is his own harshest critic, but also, the fact that the filmmakers managed to crack the code of what makes Miles work has been satisfying to watch.
"I think there's something genuinely cooler about [seeing others succeed with my characters]," Bendis said. "I'm probably enjoying it more because I'm removed, if that makes sense. I have this unique experience of not having had made the movie but just being able to enjoy the artistry of it. That's very fun. I have no stress about it, just all good feelings. Whereas I'm sure all the filmmakers all they can see is what's wrong with it, I just get to enjoy it."
That, itself, is a new experience for Bendis, who has been working in comics for more than 20 years at this point. "As a Jewish man of a certain age I've never had something I fully enjoyed," Bendis joked. "I'm not wired for it, I don't know what to do."
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and SVOD services.
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