During our conversation, Brian Michael Bendis explained that the rewards are numerous when a comics creator has the chance to expand on the popular comics canon. The positive part of “creating something in a shared universe,” he said, “is that there’s already a foundation of love and appreciation for where we are.” Decades of comic book history have created a dedicated fan base that heavily invested in a creator’s creations.
As a consequence: “If you can find it in yourself to add something that brings a lot more to this cause, people really celebrate that.” Bendis immediately had an example of one of his own creations that resonated with the comic community. He explained: “Miles Morales is a hug that never ends in my life. She never stops.”
On the other hand, with so much investment in creating characters within the existing comic book canon, there’s a lot at stake. Bendis said, “You can put things in the shared universe, where people go, ‘Don’t do that. [It’s] our thing you puked all over.’” That same level of fan passion can generate a huge backlash if the addition isn’t what the fanbase was looking for. It’s just as a wise character once said, “With great power” – or at least the power to create important additions to established comic lore – “comes with great responsibility”.
You can find Bendis’ “Phenomena” in your local bookshop.