Brian Michael Bendis

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Brian Michael Bendis
Bendis at a signing at Midtown Comics in Manhattan, June 21, 2010
Born (1967-08-18) August 18, 1967 (age 47)
Cleveland, Ohio
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Artist
Notable works
Ultimate Spider-Man
New Avengers
House of M
Secret Invasion
All-New X-Men

Five Eisner Awards

  • Best New Series (2001)
  • Best Writer (2002, 2003)

4 Wizard Awards

3 Comics Buyer's Guide Awards
Spouse(s) Alisa (4 children)

Brian Michael Bendis (born August 18, 1967)[1] is an American comic book writer and former artist. He has won critical acclaim, including five Eisner Awards for both his creator-owned work and his work on various Marvel Comics books.[2]

Starting out with crime and noir comics, Bendis eventually moved to mainstream superhero work. With Bill Jemas and Mark Millar, Bendis was the primary architect of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, launching Ultimate Spider-Man in 2000, on which he continues as writer to the present day. He relaunched the Avengers franchise with New Avengers in 2004, and has also written the Marvel "event" storylines "Secret War" (2004), "House of M" (2005), "Secret Invasion" (2008), "Siege" (2010) and "Age of Ultron" (2013).

Though Bendis has cited comic book writers such as Frank Miller and Alan Moore, his own writing influences are less rooted in comics, drawing on the work of David Mamet, Richard Price, and Aaron Sorkin, whose dialogue Bendis feels are "the best in any medium."[3]

In addition to writing comics, he has worked in television, video games and film, and began teaching writing at University of Oregon in Fall 2013. He has also occasionally taught at Portland State University. In 2014, Bendis wrote Words for Pictures, a book about comics published by Random House.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Brian Michael Bendis was born on August 18, 1967 in Cleveland, Ohio to a Jewish-American family. Despite rebelling against a religious upbringing, he attended a private, modern Orthodox religious school for boys. He decided he wanted to be a comic book industry professional when he was 13, working on his own comics, including a Punisher versus Captain America story that he revised several times. A fan of Marvel Comics in particular, he emulated idols such as George Pérez, John Romita, Sr., John Romita, Jr., Jack Kirby and Klaus Janson.[6][7][8] He later discovered crime comics by Jim Steranko and José Munoz, which he traced back via Jim Thompson's work to the source novels of both Thompson and Dashiell Hammett, which helped cement his love for crime stories.[3] These in turn led him to discover the documentary Visions of Light, which taught him the explicit visual rules of film noir, an important influence on him creatively.[3][8]

While in high school, he submitted for a "Creative Writing assignment" a novelization of Chris Claremont's X-Men and the Starjammers story, which gained him an A+ grade for imagination and inventiveness.[8] Between the ages of 20 and 25, he sent in a large number of submissions to comics companies, although he ultimately stopped his attempts to break into the industry this way, considering it too much of a "lottery."[7]

Comics career[edit]

Caliber Comics[edit]


Best known as a writer, Bendis started out as an artist, doing work for local magazines and newspapers, including caricature work. He worked at The Plain Dealer as an illustrator. Although he did not enjoy caricature work, it paid well and funded his interest in writing crime fiction for graphic novels.[3] He eventually moved into both writing and illustrating his work, before he began producing work for Caliber Comics, including Spunky Todd.[8]

Through Caliber, he met many of his longtime friends and collaborators within the comics industry, including Mike Oeming, Dave Mack and Marc Andreyko,[9] and began the first in a series of independent noir fiction crime comics when he published two issues of Fire in 1993 and five issues of A.K.A. Goldfish in 1994 with Caliber. In 1995 he illustrated Flaxen, from a script by James Hudnall, with David Mack providing inks to the story featuring former Playboy Playmate Susie Owens as mascot of the Golden Apple Comics chain [of comic shops] in Los Angeles.[10]

Bendis' best-known early work, Jinx, starring the titular bounty hunter in a crime noir version of the Sergio Leone film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, began publication in 1996, and ran seven issues from Caliber.[10] Most of these early works share a common universe, with Goldfish, Fire, Jinx, Torso and (stories from) Total Sell Out sharing characters and settings as well as tone.

He characterizes much of this period of his professional life in terms of working as "a graphic artist for almost twelve years"[3] undergoing a period within that of "nine years" living as a stereotypical 'starving artist'.[7]

Image Comics and Oni Comics[edit]

In 1996/1997, Bendis moved from Caliber to Image Comics,[7] where Jinx and his other previous crime comics were published by Image's Shadowline arm in trade paperback. At Image, he also produced five more issues of Jinx.[10]

Impressed with A.K.A. Goldfish, Image founder Todd McFarlane sought out Bendis, which led to his writing Sam and Twitch. Although set in the Spawn universe, Bendis approached Sam and Twitch primarily as a crime comic.[7][9] He wrote Sam and Twitch for twenty issues, as well as most of the first ten issues of Hellspawn, another Spawn spin-off title. This non-creator-owned work allowed him to, in the words of Rich Kriener in The Comics Journal, "[add] the responsibility of caretaker to his resume, in that he would answer to a vested owner about developing a property as a tangible asset with the future in mind," rather than only working on his own characters under his own terms.[10]

In 1998, Bendis co-wrote and illustrated the Eliot Ness-starring Torso with Marc Andreyko, again for Image, and in 2000 he produced three issues of the autobiographical Fortune and Glory for Oni Comics.[10]

That same year saw the debut of the superhero police/noir detective series Powers, co-created with and drawn by Michael Avon Oeming and published by Image. Powers won major comics industry awards, including Harvey, Eisner, and Eagle Awards.

Marvel Comics[edit]

Bendis (far right) at a Manhattan book signing with fellow writers (seated left to right) Ed Brubaker, Christos Gage and Matt Fraction.

Around the time Bendis began Sam and Twitch, his friend David Mack began working for Joe Quesada's Marvel Knights imprint, of which Bendis himself was a fan. Based on Bendis' work on Jinx, Quesada invited him to pitch ideas for Marvel Knights, which included a planned, but ultimately unproduced Nick Fury story.[7]

Marvel Comics President Bill Jemas, on the recommendation of Quesada, hired Bendis to write Ultimate Spider-Man, which debuted in 2000,[7] and was specifically targeted to the new generation of comic readers.[11] Bendis adapted the 11-page origin story of Spider-Man from 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15 into a seven issues story arc, with Peter Parker becoming the titular hero after the fifth issue, making the book a bestseller, often surpassing in sales those of the mainstream Marvel universe title The Amazing Spider-Man.[12] The Bendis/Bagley partnership of 111 consecutive issues made their partnership one of the longest in American comic book history, and the longest run by a Marvel creative team, beating out Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on Fantastic Four.[13] Bendis subsequently wrote other books in the Ultimate line, including Ultimate Marvel Team-Up,[14] which Bendis himself pitched to Marvel as a follow-up to his success on Ultimate Spider-Man,[8] as well as Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Origins, Ultimate Six, the first three issues of Ultimate Power, and the Ultimate Comics: Doomsday metaseries. In 2011, Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli created the Miles Morales character as the new version of the Ultimate Spider-Man.[15][16] As of June 2013, Bendis continues to write every issue of Ultimate Spider-Man in its current form, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.

Quesada offered Bendis the writing duties on Daredevil,[7][17] which he took over in 2001, writing most of the subsequent 55 issues until 2006, collaborating mostly with artist Alex Maleev. As a major Daredevil author, Bendis' name is one of the names used for boxers mentioned by a corrupt boxing manager in the 2003 Daredevil movie. Also in 2001, Bendis helped launch Marvel's non-Comics Code-approved, adult MAX imprint with Alias, featuring former superhero Jessica Jones operating as a private investigator.[18] The series ran for 28 issues before many of the characters moved to Bendis' mainstream Marvel Universe series The Pulse. In 2004 Powers moved from Image to Marvel's creator-owned imprint Icon, where it was relaunched as Powers Vol. 2 alongside another ex-Image series, David Mack's Kabuki.

Also in 2004, Bendis oversaw the closing issues of The Avengers as part of the crossover storyline "Avengers Disassembled".[19] This led directly to the Bendis-helmed relaunch of one version of the eponymous team in the pages of The New Avengers.[20] Bendis' work on this storyline included the death of Avenger Hawkeye, which proved controversial.[8] In 2005, with artist Olivier Coipel, Bendis wrote the New Avengers / X-Men crossover, "House of M",[21] which would retroactively be considered the second act of a three-act super-event beginning with "Avengers Disassembled" and culminating in the Bendis-written 2008 storyline "Secret Invasion".[22] Bendis also wrote Secret War, which was serialized between 2004 and 2005. The series, which was not connected to the similarly-titled 1984 miniseries Secret Wars, served as a prelude to Secret Invasion. After Marvel's 2006 "Civil War" storyline, Bendis helmed another Avengers revival, launching Mighty Avengers with Frank Cho in 2007.[23]

Post-"Secret Invasion", Bendis left Mighty Avengers with issue #20 and wrote Secret Invasion: Dark Reign, a one-shot that preceded another ongoing Avengers series, Dark Avengers.[24][25][26] In 2009, Bendis and former Daredevil collaborator Maleev launched the long-delayed Spider-Woman, following up on her role in the Secret Invasion storyline. Spider-Woman was the first comic book to be offered simultaneously on the Internet as a "motion comic" and in comic stores in print form.[27]

Bendis re-teamed with House of M's Coipel for the 2009 crossover series Siege, which brought the "Dark Reign" storyline to a close, and with it Dark Avengers. Springboarding out of Siege, Bendis relaunched both Avengers and New Avengers as part of the "Heroic Age". Also in 2010, Bendis launched Scarlet through Icon Comics, his first new creator-owned comic book in over a decade, re-teaming once again with Maleev. In February 2011, Icon released the all-ages graphic novel Takio by Bendis and his Powers collaborator Mike Oeming[28][29] and in mid-2011 a maxiseries called Brilliant with artist Bagley.[30][31] Bendis' other 2011 projects included a new Moon Knight series with Maleev, which concluded with issue 12.[32] In 2012, in conjunction with Marvel Studios' feature film The Avengers, Bendis began writing a new Avengers comic, Avengers Assemble. Bendis wrote the first eight issues of Avengers Assemble, a series that premiered in March 2012 that featured a new incarnation of the Zodiac, as well as the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy, which teamed with the Avengers against Thanos.

Bendis concluded his almost decade long stint on Avengers and New Avengers in 2012 with the "End Times" arc. His final issue of Avengers, released September 2012, was a "jam issue", featuring splash pages by Marvel artists including Walt Simonson, Jim Cheung, and Leinil Yu.

Following Marvel's "Marvel NOW!" relaunch of its titles, Bendis took on writing duties on All New X-Men, which saw the return of the original 1960's X-Men to the present, Uncanny X-Men,[33] whose focus shifts to Cyclops' team of X-Men going rogue after the events of "Avengers Vs. X-Men", and Guardians of the Galaxy, picking up where his Avengers Assemble run left off.

Bendis wrote the "Age of Ultron" crossover storyline, which included an eponymous 10-issue miniseries, that was published between March and June 2013.[34] Issue 10 saw the introduction of the Neil Gaiman character Angela into the Marvel Universe.[35]

Work in other media[edit]

In addition to his primary work for comics, Bendis has produced written work in several other media, such as video games, TV and film.

Bendis was the co-executive producer and series-pilot writer for Mainframe Entertainment's 2003 CGI animated Spider-Man show, Spider-Man: The New Animated Series that aired on MTV and YTV, which features a college-aged Peter Parker, and was written to tie-into the then-unreleased 2002 film Spider-Man. The pilot episode Bendis wrote became the third episode aired. His dismay at being credited for something written by someone else, and the multitude of corporate and legal departments involved in the animation process soured him on the show.[8][36]

Bendis is one of the writers on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, which debuted in 2012.[37]

Bendis' video game work includes Activision's Ultimate Spider-Man video game, which Bendis wrote.[2] He also wrote an Avengers game, which was never released. He is also writer of Marvel's MMO, Marvel Heroes.

His film work includes the screenplay adaptation of A.K.A. Goldfish for Miramax,[38] and the screenplay adaptation of Jinx for Universal Pictures.[2] In 2014, he wrote the plot of the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes video game.[39]

Bendis also teaches a course on writing graphic novels at Portland State University. Among the works he employs as teaching guides are the works of Scott McCloud and Will Eisner.[6]

In 2013, he was named on IGN's list of "The Best Tweeters in Comics", in part for his frequent Twitter posts highlighting the work of other creators.[40]

Writing style[edit]

When creating characters, Bendis says that he always begins with someone he knows and builds upon that inspiration, allowing the character to eventually evolve naturally. His depiction of Aunt May in Ultimate Spider-Man, for example, strongly resembles his mother.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Brian Michael Bendis with his daughter Olivia and artist Mike Oeming.

Bendis met his wife Alisa in 1995 through the Cleveland chapter of the Hillel Foundation, where Alisa worked and Bendis was a staff illustrator. The two were married within a year. Alisa Bendis runs the business end of JINXWORLD, the company through which Bendis produces his creator-owned comics work. The company also acts as the middleman through which he produces his licensed comics work.[8] They have three daughters. His oldest, Olivia,[42] is his biological daughter, while he and his wife adopted their two younger daughters, one of whom is African-American, and the other of whom is Ethiopian.[42][43][44] Bendis mentioned in a July 2013 post on his Tumblr account that they had a newborn son.[45]



  • 2001 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series (for Fortune & Glory)[47]
  • 2001 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication (for Fortune & Glory)[47]
  • 2001 Eisner Award for Best Writer (for Powers, Fortune & Glory and Ultimate Spider-Man)[47]
  • 2003 Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story (with Alex Maleev for "Out"; Daredevil #32-37)[49]


Caliber Comics[edit]

Image Comics[edit]

Marvel Comics[edit]

Icon Comics[edit]

Other US publishers[edit]


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bendis, Brian Michael and Oeming, Michael Avon, Powers TPB Vol. 9 - Psychotic (Icon, 2006), ISBN 0-7851-1743-1
  3. ^ a b c d e Bendis, Brian Michael and Oeming, Michael Avon, Powers TPB Vol. 5 - Anarchy (Image, 2003), ISBN 1-58240-331-7
  5. ^ Bendis, Brian. "Tumblr". 
  6. ^ a b "The Bendis-Fraction Conversation" Comic-Con Magazine (Winter 2010). Pages 24-28
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Bendis, Brian Michael and Oeming, Michael Avon, Powers TPB Vol. 3 - Little Deaths (Image, 2002), ISBN 1-58240-670-7
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Dean, Michael. Brian Michael Bendis interview, The Comics Journal #266. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Reynolds, Adrian (n.d.). "Interview: Brian Michael Bendis Part One". Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Kreiner, Rich (October 15, 2005). "5,137 Pages of Brian Michael Bendis". The Comics Journal. #271
  11. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "2000s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 259. ISBN 978-0756692360. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Mark Bagley, the series built on the original Spidey stories but soon spun off into bold new directions. 
  12. ^ "ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 100 GN's Index". ICv2 News. Retrieved June 27, 2008. 
  13. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (March 19, 2011). "C2E2: Bendis & Bagley Get Brilliant". IGN. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ Cowsill "2000s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 262: "The Ultimate Marvel Team-Up series also brought on board big-name creators...with Matt Wagner drawing Brian Michael Bendis' story in the debut issue."
  15. ^ Cowsill "2010s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 339: "The Ultimate Universe got a new Spidey - Miles Morales. The teenage hero's half African-American and half Latino ethnic origin gained Marvel publicity across the world, but the new series written by Brain Michael Bendis and illustrated by Sara Pichelli was gripping enough to be a hit with fans in its own right."
  16. ^ Truitt, Brian (August 2, 2011). "Half-black, half-Hispanic Spider-Man revealed". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 19, 2011. 
  17. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "2000s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 305. ISBN 978-0756641238. Writer Brian Michael Bendis began his impressive run on the Daredevil title with a small character-driven four-part story, teaming with his old friend David Mack. 
  18. ^ Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 307: "The herald to the start of Marvel's adult imprint, MAX, Alias was the first of a new comic series that was targeted specifically for a mature audience. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and featuring the art of Michael Gaydos and covers by David Mack, Alias explored the life of cynical private investigator Jessica Jones."
  19. ^ Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 323: "Writer Brian Michael Bendis would turn the Avengers' world on its end with this shocking new crossover event drawn by artist David Finch."
  20. ^ Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 324: Superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Finch relaunched the title under the name The New Avengers. The comic focused more on Marvel's arguably most popular super heroes."
  21. ^ Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 326: "Teaming with artist Olivier Coipel, Bendis created The House of M, a major Marvel crossover event centered around an eight-issue limited series."
  22. ^ Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 341: "With plot elements planted years earlier in the pages of writer Brian Michael Bendis' many comics, the clandestine infiltration of the Earth by the alien race of shape-shifters known as the Skrull first surfaced in the pages of New Avengers #31 when a dying Elektra transformed to reveal herself as a Skrull."
  23. ^ Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 335: "With the help of artist Frank Cho, Bendis created the Mighty Avengers, a government-sponsored team that would serve as the antithesis to the still-underground New Avengers."
  24. ^ Doran, Michael (September 9, 2008). "Marvel Announces 'Dark Reign' at Diamond Retailer Summit". Newsarama. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. 
  25. ^ Phegley, Kiel (September 9, 2008). "Prepare for a Dark Reign". Marvel Comics. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (September 29, 2008). "Getting Dark: Brian Bendis on Dark Avengers & Dark Reign". Newsarama. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. 
  27. ^ Richards, Dave (February 8, 2009). "NYCC: Bendis and Maleev Talk Spider-Woman Digital Motion Comics". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Special Sneak Preview: Takio". Marvel Comics. December 17, 2010. Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. 
  29. ^ Ching, Albert (October 10, 2010). "NYCC 2010: Bendis and Oeming Take On All-Ages Series Takio". Newsarama. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. 
  30. ^ Ching, Albert (March 19, 2011). "Bendis and Bagley on Their Brilliant Creator-Owned Debut". Newsarama. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2011. This is a long miniseries so I guess the technical term is maxiseries. But it's really something in between. 
  31. ^ Richards, Dave (March 19, 2011). "C2E2: Bendis & Bagley's Brilliant New Creation". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  32. ^ Brothers, David (October 9, 2010). "Bendis & Maleev on Moon Knight, Mark Waid on Ruse & Marvel Meets ESPN". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. 
  33. ^ Sunu, Steve (November 8, 2012). "Bachalo Confirms Uncanny X-Men Relaunch". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  34. ^ Phegley, Kiel (November 19, 2012). "Brian Bendis Prepares Age of Ultron For 2013". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 23, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  35. ^ Sunu, Steve (March 21, 2013). "Gaiman Returns to Marvel, Brings Spawn's Angela". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 23, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
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  39. ^ Robertson, Andy (April 30, 2014). "'Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes' Announced". Forbes.
  40. ^ Yehl, Joshua. "The Best Tweeters in Comics". Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
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  42. ^ a b Behrens, Web (April 1, 2011). "Superheroic sisters". Time Out Chicago. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. 
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  44. ^ Truitt, Brian (August 2, 2011). "A TV comedy assured new Spidey's creator". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. 
  45. ^ Bendis, Brian Michael (July 25, 2013). "Do you ever use wikipedia for light research on a character or location you are unfamiliar with?". Tumblr. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. 
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  58. ^ "Inkpot Awards". Comic-Con. 2013. Archived from the original on October 30, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Larry Hama
Elektra writer
Succeeded by
Greg Rucka
Preceded by
David W. Mack
Daredevil writer
Succeeded by
David W. Mack
Preceded by
Mark Millar
Ultimate X-Men writer
Succeeded by
Brian K. Vaughan
Preceded by
Ultimate Fantastic Four writer
(with Mark Millar)
Succeeded by
Warren Ellis
Preceded by
David W. Mack
Daredevil writer
Succeeded by
Ed Brubaker
Preceded by
The New Avengers writer
Succeeded by
Jonathan Hickman
Preceded by
The Mighty Avengers writer
Succeeded by
Dan Slott
Preceded by
Chuck Austen
The Avengers writer
Succeeded by
Jonathan Hickman
Preceded by
Mike Benson
Moon Knight writer
Succeeded by
Warren Ellis
Preceded by
Kieron Gillen
The Uncanny X-Men writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Guardians of the Galaxy writer
Succeeded by