Brace for Killgrave's Marvel Legacy impact with Brian Michael Bendis!

The life of Jessica Jones takes on a purple hue with Marvel Legacy.

Now a loving wife and mother, Jessica has carved out a relatively peaceful existence for herself…but on October 4, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos reanimate her greatest fear as The Purple Man returns in JESSICA JONES #13!

To get a grasp on the situation, we spoke to Brian about the revival of this living nightmare.

Marvel.com: The Purple Man played a major role in your series ALIAS—can you talk about the evolution of the character as you got to know him?

Brian Michael Bendis: Like everyone else, I read him in certain issues of DAREDEVIL, but I connected most to a MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL by Frank Miller and Herb Trimpe. It’s a lesser work by those masters, but it stars Luke Cage and Iron Fist and Spider-Man and they’re fighting The Purple Man. My young mind read this and I got struck by the idea that he had the most terrifying power of anybody in the Marvel Universe—that he could take over someone’s life like that definitely felt horrifying. And seeing him do that to a hero—with no one even noticing the hero had disappeared—became the scariest story I could think of at the time.

Marvel.com: What are Killgrave’s motives for coming back into her life now? 

Brian Michael Bendis: That’s the thing. This guy doesn’t have the same moral code as the rest of us. He lives in a different reality because the concept of power and responsibility mean the opposite to him than they do for the heroes. So finding his motivation will take a couple of issues because it’s so dense and complicated. Jessica Jones finds herself in the perfect place to figure him out…but will she be in the perfect place to stop him?

Marvel.com: How has The Purple Man changed since we last saw him come up against Jessica?

Brian Michael Bendis: He’s had other stories happen to him. Other things have happened to him since ALIAS. And all of that will be reflected in the new story.

Marvel.com: What kind of threat does he pose to Jessica’s role as a wife and mother? 

Brian Michael Bendis: Complete. Everything. This will be a nuclear hurricane right in the face of the life that she has built for herself.

Marvel.com: How do you go about making Killgrave’s return traumatic and scary, not just for Jessica, but for the reader as well?

Brian Michael Bendis: Jessica actually describes this in the story. This will be scarier because the first time this happened to Jessica she didn’t know anything. She did not know The Purple Man or what he did to her. Now she knows. And when you add a child and a husband, it’s the scariest thing you could think of. It’s the scariest thing I could think of.

Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos present JESSICA JONES #13 on October 4!

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Brian Michael Bendis spills on the villain's return!

A dark purple cloud is heading for JESSICA JONES #13 with a new story arc as part of Marvel Legacy, and writer Brian Michael Bendis is batting down for the storm. “It’s a huge chapter in her growth, it’s enormous. Honestly, you could start the interview that way.” And so we shall.

Marvel.com: As a co-creator of Jessica, you’ve obviously been with her since her debut in the comic world, can you tell me your favorite things about her and how she’s grown since then?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well my new favorite thing about her is I can’t believe how popular the show is and how popular she is, genuinely popular, outside of the comic book world. It’s hilarious, I’ve been the co-creator of Jessica Jones since 2001 but only in the last couple years does that turn heads and impress people outside of our world, and it’s kind of funny.

But all of that means nothing compared to how it’s almost the same feeling I have, like the fatherly pride I have, for my children when they do well outside of the home. When they come home and have succeeded in whatever they tried unrelated to me and my wife, that’s how I feel about Jessica. I feel like everyday I hear how she’s doing in college, or how she’s doing at her new job, and I’m very proud of her. It’s quite a unique feeling. It’s an immense amount of pride that I feel for her and what she means to people.

Marvel.com: Obviously a big point of interest right now is the Purple Man’s return, what was your reasoning behind bringing him back? Did it have anything to do with the show’s popularity, or are the two mutually exclusive?

Brian Michael Bendis: You can’t help but go, oh, if I was a fan of this book boy would that get my attention. No matter where I was in the Jessica Jones fan level, casual to excited, you hear the Purple Man is back, oh boy I better read that. So there’s that, but really there is a story behind it. You can’t just do a shtick for shtick’s sake.

What I wrote the moment Jessica had [her] baby was, well now the worst thing that would ever happen to her is the Purple Man would come back. Because now it’s not just her, it’s the family. It’s Luke and Jessica and the baby, and what the baby means to them, and what the baby means to Jessica as a human. Anybody knows once you have a baby, that’s your number one job is keep the baby alive until the baby can leave, and there is a giant threat in their life. There are many threats in their lives, they have a dangerous life, but he obviously represents the real terror and the only thing worse than the Purple Man grabbing Jessica the first time is what will he do with the baby? And as horrible as that is, there is a very psychological, deep thing behind the two of them, and the past catching up with people when they’re trying to live a brand new life is something a lot of people can relate to. I think that’s the real relatable thing here, the knowledge that you can’t control everything around your life, and that’s what the Purple Man represents to people. It’s pretty horrifying. With a kid even more so, and I have four kids so I know the feeling.

Marvel.com: Branching off that, there are some differences in both Jessica’s and the Purple Man’s lives and how they have evolved over time. Can you tell me a little about that?

Brian Michael Bendis: Absolutely, yes, yes, yes. The relationship they had was very unique to Purple Man. That’s not what his relationships to the, sadly, hundreds of other peoples he’s accosted have been, so that is something to consider as well. Does he, in his messed up head, love her? That was always the question in the first series too. It’s a screwed up question, and it’s a screwed up answer no matter what, but that’s the kind of book we’re telling. It’s for adults by adults, and we’re going to ask tough questions and see what kind of answers we get. People are scared of this, I know they are. There were some genuinely scary things that happened that never happened in another Marvel comic and I’m aware of that and that’s about to happen again.

Marvel.com: Are you trying to maybe one-up that first series and do something even more gut wrenchingly terrifying?

Brian Michael Bendis: Psychological horror–it absolutely is already there because this isn’t people guessing what would happen, they know what will happen. They can imagine it. That kind of horror is almost worse than the actual thing happening. I think everyone can relate to that. Worrying about something is almost always worse than the actual thing, no matter how scary it is and that’s what they’re facing, and you know what for someone like Jessica and Luke, the man with unbreakable skin, this is their biggest nightmare. This is something Luke can’t punch, necessarily.

Marvel.com: How is Luke and Jessica’s daughter going to play into this? That’s obviously going to be her priority this time around, but how will that affect how she reacts to the Purple Man?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well it’s everything. She’s not the same person. Anyone will tell you, parenting changes you. Parenting completely changes your priority list in your head and how you act and how you relate to things.

Also her family has been under an immense amount of duress from the first issue of the new series, it’s so fragile that her moves have to be so specific. She can’t abandon her family to take care of this, or she won’t have it anymore. But at the same time this needs to be taken care of. So what will Jessica do?

It’s a really big deal. I had to get approval, I had to go say hey is everyone going to be okay with this because this is not what you normally see in a Marvel comic. Just wanted to make sure everyone knows where I’m going with this. So brace yourself everybody.

Marvel.com: You’re keeping to the spirit of the original book, and I know Michael Gaydos is doing the art, so what can we expect to see?

Brian Michael Bendis: Michael has been drawing every issue of the book since we returned. It’s all the original team. It’s me, Michael Gaydos, Matt Hollingsworth on colors, and David Mack on covers. The team from the original series has returned to the series and people can feel it. Michael and Matt haven’t lost a beat, it’s unbelievable how much the style has evolved, but at the same time it just totally feels like Jessica. So people are going to really feel like the old series, but what we’re going to do is completely new things.

Marvel.com: What’s you favorite scene that’s coming up in this new arc?

Brian Michael Bendis: Number one, the biggest difference people are going to see is how Jessica comes for help instead of being a lone gunman. She’s a woman with friends, and then instead of running from her friends, which is part of the problem she had the first time, she runs to her friends.

The other thing is Jessica and Luke have a very intimate moment together early on that I just felt very honest about. I felt very connected to and that made me happy just because I feel other people will feel it too. Because we’re also writing about a marriage, a happy marriage, a marriage they both want and it’s not a struggle so much as a minefield of things that they’ve already laid out as individuals. And I love writing about a marriage of people who genuinely like each other. I have that in my life and I don’t see it a lot in fiction.

Marvel.com: Since you’re using influences from your own life, your kids and your marriage, was it then difficult to get back into writing the Purple Man who’s just this really psychotic, dark person?

Brian Michael Bendis: It is and it isn’t. It is because you’re writing about darkness and you’re writing about scary things that most people would like to pretend don’t exist. The Purple Man to me, part of him represents the unknown that you can’t control, you can do everything right as a human and a parent, and then there is this other stuff.

Happily my kids are very healthy and the worst thing I have to worry about is that my kids are picking up horrible music tastes from their friends, I can’t control it and I worry about the long term damage to them, but at the same time you’ve got to let them be. And everyone has different stories about things that have come into their lives that they have no control over, that either positively or negatively effective their lives and their relationships and that’s what the Purple Man is. Can Jessica and her family survive the ultimate test, which is the Purple Man? And I think people can really relate to that.

Marvel.com: From the perspective of the Purple Man, why is he coming back? What’s his motivation?

Brian Michael Bendis: The Purple Man’s psychology is one of my favorite things to write about because here’s a man who can get someone to do or say whatever he wants, but I think everybody knows you don’t want people to do and say whatever you want. You want them to do or say what you want them to say because you want them to want it. So after years of manipulations the psychology of someone who’s just missing whole parts of the human experience–which is someone liking you back, someone wanting you back, and knowing if you genuinely can muster someone’s love–these things get you after awhile. He’s alone on a desert island, he has no friends, he has no love, and the people who he makes his friends or love, he manipulates them. We’re even going to show that if someone genuinely finds him interesting he will abuse them. He doesn’t allow himself to have a real relationship. The perspective of his world is wholly unique, I think that’s what puts him up there with the Joker and Magneto. We can show you his perspective and it’s unique and it might make you–not sympathize, but maybe empathize with and that makes the story more interesting. For all the horror the fact that you can see where it’s coming from doesn’t make it better, in fact it makes it worse.

Marvel.com: What are you hoping to do moving forward with Jessica?

Brian Michael Bendis: The cool thing is that we have a very unique experience going on with Jessica where there is a character that actually sees growth and change, like legitimate change in her life, and with that comes legitimate new questions and opportunities. Her job right now is to keep that baby and her family safe from basically a hurricane, a typhoon, that’s hitting them and it’s in the same shape as a Purple Man and she needs to keep them safe. So her ability to do or to not do that will affect her tremendously going forward.

Catch the chilling reunion between Jessica and the Purple Man in JESSICA JONES #13!

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Brian Bendis lays bare the secrets of the former S.H.I.E.L.D. director!

Maria Hill finds herself in a difficult situation these days. Booted out of S.H.I.E.L.D., we see her out on her own, more vulnerable than ever. Forced to ask for help—not necessarily Maria’s strong suit—she has shown up in JESSICA JONES, where the two have a bit of a frigid encounter. But big things will come for these two, as Maria embarks on a very different mission from the type we’re used to seeing her undertake.

We asked Brian Michael Bendis—writer of JESSICA JONES and co-creator of both Jessica and Maria—for his insights on the history and psychology of this most mysterious character.

Marvel.com: As a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and then head of the organization, Maria seemed like one of the good guys, but you get the feeling you can never fully trust her. Even going back to the House of M days, she feels leery of the Avengers, and they feel the same way toward her.

Brian Michael Bendis: I’ve done an immense amount of research on spy training and spycraft, and not unlike a police officer or a fireman, you’re trained to only see the worst in people. You’re trained to look for that thing other people don’t look for—those tells, those chess moves that are too complicated for us normal people, going about our days. She trained her brain to play the most complicated game of chess that could ever be played, and in doing so, you’re looking at everybody like a pawn or a player, and not as a human being, because you’re not allowed to since you have to send them on missions. And with that, people learn to mistrust.

Now the mysteries of Maria Hill—where she came from, who she is—there have been little hints and bits in my books and in [other] books over the years. But we’ve never shown who she is, where she came from, what made her, how she got so deep into the center of the Marvel Universe so quickly. These are big things, and they speak to the larger landscape of the Marvel Universe, secrets we don’t know about, secrets we don’t know about S.H.I.E.L.D., how agents are made, or how people find themselves in this position. And Maria, being at the center, really, of some of the biggest events in Marvel history—to my surprise—from Civil War to Secret Invasion—that takes a massive toll on people. So now that she has been ousted from S.H.I.E.L.D., the mysteries of her life are more fragile and the keeping of those mysteries is less important to other people. As leader [of] S.H.I.E.L.D., it was in everyone’s best interest to keep her secrets secret, but once you’re out, you’re out. The mystery of her was one of her strengths, because no one had any ammo on her. But now the mysteries are unfolding, and she’s more vulnerable. And she doesn’t have the protection of S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore, so her secrets are her biggest threat, even more than who has them and what they’re trying to do with them.

I’m a big fan of John Le Carré novels about spies and what they do once they’re done being spies. And I thought, what a great opportunity now for Jessica to live in a John Le Carré novel as she discovers the history of Maria, which also is the modern history of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel.com: I find Maria a really a compelling character; not lovable, like Peter Parker, but interesting. What do you think makes her so intriguing?

Brian Michael Bendis: Maria has to make some hard choices, and the super heroes don’t always make it easy for her. The X-Men, the Inhumans, everyone is messing with her stuff. So somebody has to be the mom. And if you’re in that position, you’re going to be bumming someone out, and you’re going to have to make some choices that someone doesn’t like.

I always liked how Matt Fraction wrote Maria’s relationship with Tony Stark. Now there’s a person who can understand the complexities of her decision-making policies.

And she took over for Nick Fury after decades. Everyone had an opinion about him, but no one had an opinion about her. And she doesn’t give you much verbally, so you have to base your opinion on her actions. And her comebacks—I always write her with a little wit and comeback because I think that shows her intelligence. So that was what was interesting about her introduction to the Marvel Universe, she came in like a hurricane who no one knew anything about.

Did I think she’d still be around? Did I think she’d be a movie star, a TV star? Did I think she’d be so entrenched in the movies and TV, and the comic books? No I did not. I know I’m more known for Jessica Jones and Miles Morales, but I had this unique experience of watching Maria catch on like wildfire in the mid-2000s. A lot of people started writing her. I was surprised by how much people at Marvel were interested in writing her because no one knew anything about her. As much pride as I feel about Jessica and Miles and Riri [Williams aka Ironheart], Maria being in the “Avengers” movie was a huge deal. And it reminded me of how special it is to add things to the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: You would call her a control freak, right? Her desire to be in control may have led her to support super hero registration in Civil War, and to create Pleasant Hill, for example. But it also seems like she feels that, in her position, she’s required to take control.

Brian Michael Bendis: It’s an interesting conversation I’ve been having in a few of the books—also maybe in my real life. You get to a certain age and control is an illusion. The more you grow and the more complicated your life gets, the more you realize this, and that all you can do is the best you can do in the moment you’re in. And for people playing a more dangerous game than the one you and I are playing every day, that’s more frustrating and scarier. And so here she is, trying to control a world she can’t control, as Tony Stark is, as Steve Rogers is. Everyone is trying to do their part—and then her part has a giant floating tank in the sky. And she’s aware of that, and how it looks. And we talk about it in JESSICA JONES, that she’s aware that she was almost sold to the American public as a boogeyman because the American public actually need one. They need to be mad at something, so it’s, “Here, be mad at the big floating tank in the sky.” She’s the taskmaster, the head nun at the school, the one who has to put the hammer down. And some people are going to be happy about it and some aren’t.

Marvel.com: I think Maria sees herself as a pragmatist; not afraid to do what she thinks she needs to.

Brian Michael Bendis: Yes. She has to be. She’s faced with factual reality, but also with the breaking of the laws of physics and gravity and time and space. Just imagine, “Oh hey, the original X-Men are here from the past, and they’re not going home, and we don’t know how to get them home. Is there a law against this?” I always kind of looked at her as editor-in-chief of Marvel the company. There are so many super heroes running around, smashing into each other, clashing. And I always try to imagine Joe Quesada or Axel Alonso, with a bird’s eye perspective of all of our stories being told at once, and all of that on their desks, and the madness that must create. And for Joe and Axel, it’s all fictional, but for Maria, it’s all real! Imagine you’re sitting in your office and the events of the biweekly X-Men or Avengers all happened at once!

Jessica Jones #8 cover by David Mack

Also, Maria has a lot of secrets about other people, and there are secrets about herself that she may not know. She may have voluntarily brainwashed herself to spare herself from some horrible memory that is coming back to haunt her—or she knows stuff about the super hero and super villain communities that they don’t even know. And those secrets will chase her. And you know, some politicians and people in government get secret service, but not everyone does, and Maria doesn’t. It’s almost like they’re being set up to be put down before they become a problem.

Marvel.com: Underneath it all, Maria does seem to care about doing the right thing. Yes, she has a lot of ambition, and she sometimes leads with an iron fist, but at the end of the day, she cares about protecting ordinary people. Do you see her that way?

Brian Michael Bendis: I do. And I’m not just saying this as her “biological father.” I think she has an enormous capacity for good and selfless behavior, and has shown it over and over and over again. And she has made tough choices in the face of insurmountable obstacles without blinking. Even if you didn’t agree with the politics, her actions were heroic and patriotic. And she has never buckled from that, no matter how tough the job got. So I consider her one of the great heroes of the Marvel Universe. I think she kept stuff together with everything was going off the rails. I think without her behavior in the original Civil War, we wouldn’t even have a Marvel Universe anymore. I think without her, Secret Invasion goes the other way, SECRET WAR goes the other way. And I know some of these are stories I’ve written, but not all of them. She has made deep, huge, giant choices that have affected the lives of Tony Stark and Peter Parker—the biggest names in the Marvel Universe. She has protected them and kept them straight. Regardless of her demeanor, I don’t think she’s done anything other than heroic actions; at least at the moment she thought they were.

I think some of the super heroes who have pushed against her have actually appreciated that there was something to push against, because some of them thrive on revolution and rebellion. They were grateful for what she does, because it kept things calmer than they would have been otherwise. As a parent, sometimes I see my older kids looking at me like, “It’s 8:30, please tell me to go to bed because I’m tired but I’m not going to go on my own.” And that’s what Maria has to do.

Marvel.com: What would you consider the top three key turning points in Maria’s history?

Brian Michael Bendis: I think we did well with her debut because it landed well. It also wasn’t pre-sold, and I liked introducing a character without any hype. I must say I’m proud of how well she landed. Let’s just say I didn’t have everything figured out back then, so when things went well with Maria, I was able to say, “Ok, that’s something that works.”

Number two, I think Civil War was a big deal for her, the first one. When I close my eyes and picture her, it’s some of [CIVIL WAR artist] Steve McNiven’s work that I see.

And this is going to sound cornball, but I’d say the third one is going to be the story we’re doing right now in JESSICA JONES because it is such an illumination of her. I think if anyone is even vaguely curious about what her deal was, it’s a grabber. And also, I kind of enjoyed how long we could keep her mystery going. People were not angry at us, they kind of liked it. They got the sense that we knew her deal and we’ll get to it when we do. I get people asking me little fill in the blank things about her, like, what S.H.I.E.L.D. class was she in. And that makes me think people are going to be excited when we finally tell the story of who she is and how she got here.

So I do believe the third one is the one that’s coming out right now. What a great sales pitch, and at the same time, completely self-serving!

Marvel.com: Can you tease anything about what we might see in Maria’s future?

Brian Michael Bendis: This new chapter in Maria’s life is exciting because she’s out of her comfort zone and into a new world in the Marvel Universe. And I can’t tell you how excited I was that this was all coming out in other stories around the same time that Jessica Jones would be there to catch her fall. It’s a perfect place to unlock this mystery of this woman who’s one of the biggest mysteries in modern comics.

She’s in a place where it’s, now you’ve got to find out who you are. You’ve done this job for a while, you’ve made your choices, now you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and say, who am I? What do I have to offer the world? What next, what now? And those are some of the scariest questions [a] person can ask, no matter where you are in your life. And anyone can relate to that.

What’s going on in this book, and in other very big books at Marvel, with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the face of that part of Marvel, is going to be altered dramatically over the course of the summer. And those players, and their place in the Marvel Universe, will all deal with this big shift. Some will succeed, some will fail, some will turn, and it’s going to spill out into other books. Particularly, a very cool story is going on in SPIDER-MAN and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN because of this. So if you’re reading all of them, you’re going to be so rewarded. And if you’re just reading one or the other, we’re going to show you some cool, new stuff because of what’s going on with Maria and the future of that part of Marvel.

The secrets of Maria Hill continue to be revealed in JESSICA JONES #9 on June 7 and JESSICA JONES #10 on July 5, both by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos!

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Brian Michael Bendis goes over his lead’s ups and downs as a detective!

Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and Jake Gittes. Popular culture gives us no end of rugged, hard-hitting private detectives who can sling quick-witted as if genetically-engineered to do so, but only one of them has had the honor of also calling themselves an Avenger.

That would be Jessica Jones, a no-nonsense investigator, mother, wife, and Defender. We’ve seen her solve some difficult cases on the page and screen, but it’s time to dig deep into what makes Jessica a particularly effective gumshoe. We got a hold of her co-creator and current JESSICA JONES scribe Brian Michael Bendis to chat about Jessica’s noir influences, her role as a wife/mother and the cathartic effect she has on her writer.

To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, “An interview with Mr. Bendis is, uh, the stuff dreams are made of.”

Marvel.com: As a co-creator of this character, what do you think makes her such an effective private investigator?

Brian Michael Bendis: Her perspective and experience and attitude. You have to have this perfect mesh of intuitive understanding of the human condition; I mean this is really what all detectives are. You’re looking at something and seeing things that other people wouldn’t see. You train your brain to see the tells on a person’s face so you can tell if they’re lying or not. You train your brain to scan a room and see little bits and pieces that other people wouldn’t know. On top of that, I think Jessica is quite excellent at knowing the right people to go to, to find something out and that’s one of her real successes. As a street level character, she kind of knows— like she’s one of the few people who knows where Night Nurse is and she knows where the gun runners are. She knows where all the players are, and she knows who to ask certain questions of something. Like right now, I’m doing a story where [Jessica] is trying to find out who is trying to murder Maria Hill, and that’s far out of her normal wheel house, but she was able to dig under some rocks and find the people who might know the people who know the people so she’s very good at that, I don’t think she gives herself enough credit. Just having had her perspective as an Avenger, as Luke Cage’s wife, as now a Defender, you know, she’s in it, she has a really unique perspective of the entire super hero community so when people come to her with problems revolving around it she’s able to figure out not only how to solve the case, but if the case is even a case; which is sometimes what a detective’s job really is. Is this case a case? Sometimes they’re not.

Marvel.com: That’s a good segue into the next question, which is when it comes to genre, Jessica Jones is very much like a noir character, so can you talk about the noir influences that went into creating the character and her stories?

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh, from Jake Gittes, all the way to the real life detectives I’ve met, to the most unique detectives in fiction, like [the movie] “Brick.” I love these movies or stories where there is a detective in the last place you would expect one. Ed Brubaker did an amazing series called Scene of the Crime that I absolutely loved as well. “Chinatown,” obviously, is the one that you go “Ok, don’t be bad, because there’s ‘Chinatown,’ try to be good like ‘Chinatown’.” And in there are so many excellent tropes about detectives and their relationships and why people hire a private investigator. Sometimes the police aren’t just enough, you need special attention or a special perspective and she definitely stands among her influences, that is one thing I definitely bring with her if that makes any sense is that she definitely does not.

Marvel.com: I’m glad you brought up “Chinatown” because, generally speaking, private investigators in pop culture have mostly been men with women taking on the role of the femme fatale, and she is such a subversion of those tropes…

Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah, I get it and we talk about it a little bit because, you know, there is a lot of muscle work with detective work, it’s a lot like [you’re] getting into fights in the back room of a bar or you’re body-guarding and fair or not, over the decades men would take those jobs, but Jessica, obviously, is unique and didn’t need to worry about that so from there we were able to build a completely different experience. Yes, there are real life private investigators and detectives that are women right now and actually I know them so I am not saying that there aren’t women detectives, there absolutely are and I’m just saying that you’re right that traditionally and certainly traditionally in fiction, we’ve seen a lot of men so once you start digging into what is unique about Jessica, yeah, Jessica has her unique perspective, and also a female perspective, and also the perspective of someone with the power to back it up, so she may get into jams that would be difficult for normal people, that she can get out of and that adds to what’s unique about her as a detective as well.

Marvel.com: And like you’ve said, she’s been in the Avengers, she has tried the whole costumed hero thing” before starting Alias Investigations, so what aspects of crime fighting came with her to her detective days and which kind of fell to the wayside.

Brian Michael Bendis: What I like about her, and I know a lot of people like about her, is that she tried it, ok, she tried it, it felt like [expletive] to her, which is totally fine, and like I said even with people who [are] in comics, they are creators, they come to do a certain type of comic, and then they go “Oh, I don’t like that type of comic, I don’t want to make that comic,” right? But other people love it, they think it’s the best way to do it, so that’s the people who should do that, so the people who think that being a super hero is the best way to do it, those are people who should be [super heroes], and yes Jessica who doesn’t think that that’s the road for her or she thinks it’s proven it’s not the road for her, she absolutely should not do it, she should do it her way. So having the experience of wearing the costume and bouncing around and not appreciating it as much as others gives her that unique ability to scrape the [expletive] off of any story and get right to the meat of it; whereas other detectives and reporters might find themselves distracted by the flash of powers and flying around, she is not. She’s seen how the sausage is made so she’s alright. You’ve seen it too like, even reporters who have met fifty thousand movie stars, when they meet a new movie star they get all giddy, it’s exciting you’re meeting a movie star. If you want someone solving your case, you want something who isn’t going to start giggling if Tony Stark shows up. [She can ask], “Are you full of [expletive] or not?” That’s what Jessica can do.

Marvel.com: And kind of going off that, being a P.I can be a morally dubious job; how does that weigh on her conscience or affect her husband and child for whom she wants to set a positive example?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well that’s it and that’s really what the new series has been about for me. As I have often confessed, [JESSICA JONES] being a book that I’m the most aware that I’m working some [expletive] out of for myself. Sometimes when you’re writing you don’t know what you’re working out until it’s done whereas with Jessica, I am a father of four children and I am constantly finding myself being looked up to by them, they’re looking for answers from me. When you find yourself all the sudden in this position, where people are looking to you, you have to kind of examine who you are and why you put yourself in this situation, so that is part of what Jessica is doing, she wants to be the detective, she wants to solve her cases and by doing so, maybe make the world a better place, and when her daughter is old enough to look around, it’ll look better than the one Jessica looks at and she says that in the series to Luke. They’re both freaking out about being parents when they don’t think they’re fully realized as humans yet and as I’ve discovered in my life, I’ve never met anyone who said, “Oh good, I’m gonna be a parent because I’m fully realized as a human.” You always go, “Oh [expletive]! I’m a parent now, but I’m not done baking myself.” Because you’re never done, it’s the truth. So this is what Jessica and Luke will be dealing with in the series is, “We’re parents now so that means that we have other responsibilities on top of the responsibilities we had” or “The responsibilities we had are now amplified because we’re doing it not only for ourselves and for the world, but for this child. Not only do we want to raise her to be a good person, we’d like to help the world be somewhere safe for her and also, wouldn’t it be nice when she is old enough and looks at her [mother], that she sees Jessica Jones, the detective who saves people and is heroic and making the world a better place, not the gigantic pile of loser that she thinks she was years ago.” And the reason I say she thinks she was [is] because I don’t, I think she’s a survivor. She thinks otherwise.

Marvel.com: Final question: if you had to nail down a MacGuffin, so to speak, for Jessica over the course of her career, what would it be? What would her Maltese Falcon” be, in other words?

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh, it’s the Purple Man in a way if you think about. Here is my vague hint because the real interesting thing about your question is that her journey with the Purple Man has not come to an end…there’s your big tease.

Find out what’s next for the powerhouse P.I. in JESSICA JONES #8, on sale May 3 from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos!

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Jessica Jones co-creator Michael Gaydos shares his thoughts on returning to the character and more!

Back in 2001, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos introduced the world to a mysterious private investigator named Jessica Jones in a Marvel MAX series called ALIAS. Since then, she’s married Luke Cage, had a baby with him, hung around with the Avengers, and inspired the much beloved Netflix series “Marvel’s Jessica Jones.”

Now she’s back in her own series, JESSICA JONES, helmed by none other than Bendis and Gaydos. With Alias Investigations up and running again, it’s time to catch up with the artist on his reunion!

Marvel.com: Jessica Jones has gone on to live quite a life since ALIAS ended. Is it wild seeing where she wound up as this new story kicks off?

Michael Gaydos: Absolutely. I had no idea what Brian had in mind for Jessica, but to find her in prison was crazy. What an intriguing way to start off the series!

Marvel.com: In addition to showing up in books like NEW AVENGERS and the like, Jessica has also become a huge media star thanks to the Netflix series. Does this have any bearing on you as you’re working on the issues?

Michael Gaydos: Well, definitely to do the best job possible illustrating the book. The show has done an amazing job getting Jessica out to a new audience. Now it’s our turn to keep them coming back for more.

Marvel.com: Visually, how has Jessica changed since you last drew her?

Michael Gaydos: Not too much. I do feel as though I have grown quite a bit as an artist over the years and have more confidence and better understanding in the way I portray Jessica.

Marvel.com: How has being a mother changed Jessica and how she handles the situations she finds herself in?

Michael Gaydos: Like any other good parent, it is always putting the best interest of the child first. Jessica does anything it takes to do that.

Marvel.com: Brian has said that no one quite gets Jessica like you do. Why do you think that is?

Michael Gaydos: Well some of it is that I was the first one to draw and interpret her. What was and is still very important to me is to be able to convey all of Jessica’s emotions, good and bad, convincingly. I want her to be entirely accessible to the reader.

Marvel.com: How does it feel reuniting with Brian and with David Mack on covers for this new series?

Michael Gaydos: Best thing ever!!!!

Join Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos for more JESSICA JONES action with issue #3 out now and #4 coming January 11!

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Will the tough-as-nails P.I. let down her guard?

Upon arrival at the office today, the client engaged in a brief conversation with billing regarding whether she was legally Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones Cage, or Jessica Cage. The question remains largely unresolved.

Normally this writer would not include such information in a treatment note but it offers a unique insight into how the client moves into the world. She (who I will refer to by her maiden name for the purposes of this note and subsequent ones until told to do otherwise) is an individual of very strong opinion and, yet, great ambivalence.

This is understandable given her history. Nearly all of the client’s successes, which are more numerous than she cares to admit, are paired with tragedies. She acquires super powers as a teenager but the accident places her in a coma and take the lives of her parents and brother. She gets attention from her crush soon after but cannot shake the feeling he is only doing it out of pity for her. She becomes a super hero but has her career derailed by a villain who uses her as a weapon and emotionally tortures her. She overcomes her traumatic history and connects with others only to see herself and her child put in more danger than ever. And so it seems to go for Jones, over and over again.

As noted above, the client has operated as a super hero under various aliases including Knightress, Power Woman, and, for the longest time, Jewel. She quit after Purple Man held her in his throes for an extended period of time in an act of cruelty as intense as anything else he has ever been recorded or accused of doing. For years after, Jones made her living as private investigator, self-medicating with alcohol to suppress that trauma and the reactivated traumas of her childhood.

Jessica Jones (2016) #1

Jessica Jones (2016) #1

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The client, however, remains uncomfortable with the designation of “alcoholic” favoring, instead, “problem drinking.” This therapist has no issue with this semantic difference as the client currently does not fit criteria for alcoholism and supports a whatever works approach to recovery. As long as Jones can maintain a healthy relationship to alcohol use, this writer can see no compelling reason to “force” her to identify as an alcoholic.

Similarly, the client seems to be dealing with her trauma history well at this time. While PTSD is a chronic condition and therefore cannot be “cured” she is managing her symptoms largely without incident and has been doing so for some time. While “violently confronting your victimizer” is not a prescribed approach to processing trauma, it does seem to have done wonders for Jones.

Unfortunately, Jones’ life has not been devoid of further conflict since. She has found herself embroiled in several violent situations since and seen her life and the lives of her child, husband, and friends threatened on numerous occasions. While she is unquestionably resilient, these kinds of constant bursts of fear and conflict can take their toll on anyone. For this reason, she remains an excellent candidate for individual therapy. Group might also be incredibly helpful but the client rejects the notion outright. She claims that while group might be good for her, she is absolutely no good for groups. The therapist would like to return to this later, but sees no reason not to focus on individual only for the foreseeable future.

In order to provide the best possible care for the client this therapist is consulting with her previous clinician Doctors Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. Details of this consult can be found in file JESSICA JONES #1 to be available on October 12 for review.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is an Outpatient Therapist who didn’t realize how not profane he was until this session.

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Brian Michael Bendis makes a long-awaited return to one of his most beloved creations!

Readers received an unapologetic punch to the gut when they first met Jessica Jones in Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ ALIAS over 15 years ago. Then, in 2015, fans and the uninitiated alike encountered “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” the award-winning and hard-hitting Netflix series starring Krysten Ritter. This fall, Bendis and Gaydos return to street side New York as part of Marvel NOW! with JESSICA JONES!

Although Bendis and Gaydos look to pick up where they left off with Jessica in some ways, they will also be pushing into new territory with their tough-as-nails super hero detective. In the lead up to the series’ release, we sat down to talk with Bendis about all things Jessica Jones, from his time on ALIAS and his experience as her creator watching fans around the world embrace the small screen depiction to the upcoming title that will reunite him with the rest of the original creative team.

Marvel.com: Before we get into your upcoming work on JESSICA JONES, I have to ask how life has been with the critical and popular success of the Netflix series?

Brian Michael Bendis: I’ve just been overwhelmed by an insane amount of gratitude. A Peabody just showed up in the mail! [Laughs]

It’s a very different experience, you know? You give birth to a character, and now she’s out there in the world. It’s hard to describe but it’s a beautiful thing. She’s been taken care of so lovingly, and the response from non-comic book people has been tremendous. The first time I figured out this was going to explode was when I was sitting at an outdoor mall having lunch with David Mack, who did the covers for [ALIAS] and also the credits sequence for the show. All of the sudden, this group of women were talking really loudly about Jessica Jones at the table next to us, and they were arguing on her behalf as if she needed defending. So, David turns to me and asks if they know who we are, and I told him “No, this is where Jessica is now—that next level. She’s out in the world now and no longer ours.” That was weird.

Marvel.com: So, now Jessica Jones returns to Marvel Comics in a new series as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative! I imagine the successful television show on Netflix helped spur this renewed interest in the character?

Brian Michael Bendis: No, actually. It was really talking to [Marvel head of TV] Jeph Loeb and others that got me into that mindset to think about her. I was literally sitting here in my office thinking about what I would do next. You see, there’s a reason we ended the first volume, and that’s because the story got told, and that was a weird experience, too. I remember calling up Joe Quesada, who was the editor in chief at the time, and telling him I had just written issue #38 or #39, and we kind of got to the end of the story. Conclusively. For a lot of people, it’s always “to be continued,” but I was concerned we had actually gotten done with what we set out to do and wasn’t sure what to make of it. Joe simply said “Then be done! Have a series that didn’t jump the shark! We can then bring her over into the Marvel Universe and see if she can find her way,” which is what we did.

So, here we are now, years later. Of course, it doesn’t really matter how much time has gone by in the Marvel Universe. It’s really more of a question of what’s going on in the Marvel Universe that’s going to get Jessica’s attention. Where would she be in the midst of all of this? I think that, given all of the events that have taken place in the years since the series ended, there are a lot of mysteries for her to explore – from massive, world-spanning ones to some that are much smaller in scope that may have slipped through the cracks of our larger stories.

We can explore those questions and more, particularly how life as a super hero with a baby changes things. Having that baby makes you vulnerable to the outside world and ripe for more tragedy than anything else. The minute your baby is born, you think “Uh oh. I need to keep this baby alive!” And she lives in a world that is very dangerous. The stress of keeping it [all together] is something we dive into in the first issue. If there are any similarities between the first issue of this series and the first run is that something has happened to Jessica, which we don’t see occur, but we’re there to experience the fallout. I won’t spoil it, but when we open the book, something pretty shocking has happened and no one in the Marvel Universe is speaking to her.

Why? You’ll have to look and see…

Marvel.com: Looking back on ALIAS, are there any insights you’ve gained as you move forward with JESSICA JONES?

Brian Michael Bendis: When it first came out, it was not originally universally praised, even though people remember differently. It took a few issues for people to land on what they thought about it. I’d be remiss to say there weren’t some that loved ALIAS right away, but there are a few web sites that originally were so furious about her existence. I remember them specifically. They were so furious with us for creating Jessica and tackling the things we tackled. And then the show came out, and I saw those same sites talking about the original comic book series as if it were some sort of revered text. And I did enjoy the turnabout. It’s kind of cool, and I know Stanley Kubrick and the Coen Brothers saw something similar, but I’d never had that happen to me until “Jessica Jones”—not that I’m comparing myself to them! It’s just that I had only seen it happen before.

Marvel.com: As you know, comics criticism runs at a fast pace, always needing to keep up with the here and now. Do you think it’s possible this could be a situation where people just needed time to process what they were reading, and perhaps the show itself helped readers to better appreciate what you and Michael were doing in the original series?

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh, sure! With that time missing, it’s easy to overlook things. Take [writer] Ed Brubaker’s run on CAPTAIN AMERICA. You had to have the whole run in hand to really understand what his work was about. That’s hard to accomplish within the moment of a single issue. It’s something I’d like to see more of as there is so much material coming out, and it’s easy to miss the bigger picture. I hope that we can get more of that though.

Marvel.com: And I understand you’ll be joined by fellow co-creator Michael Gaydos on the new series?

Brian Michael Bendis: We haven’t worked together regularly [since ALIAS], though we’ve done a few things once in a while, like the one-shot for the television show. Now, some people don’t know this but we went to college together. He was a year older and made my life hell, as he was a better artist than me in every way. I was excited when I broke into comics with a contract as a student, but then he turned around and landed a contract the next day with an even bigger publisher. He had a book that would get the full four-colored treatment while I had crappy newsprint!

Anyhow, we stayed in touch over all of those years, and Michael was in and out of the industry as he often was doing work with more mainstream publishers along with his comics. Whenever he came up for air, we’d see if I had come up with air, and that’s kind of how we were able to make this work.

And I just love the way he shows Jessica’s world. We’re kind of back to that place of rediscovering who we are as adults, though I think I write well for him—and he obviously produces amazing art! For some artists, I need to figure out a bit about how they see the world so I can write for them, but with guys like Michael or [ALIAS and JESSICA JONES cover artist] David [Mack], they have very similar mindsets as I do, so it actually feels a lot easier. But at the same time, I also really want to challenge them to draw something that perhaps they might not have otherwise done on their own, so that’s something else you have to consider.

Marvel.com: So you’d say things are running well then?

Brian Michael Bendis: So far, so good! And we’ve confirmed that Matt Hollingsworth will be joining us as well, so we have the old team back together again: Me writing, Michael on art, David Mack on covers, and Hollingsworth on colors. And that’s really important because some people mistakenly overlook the color artist’s role in the process, but Matt is one of those people whose art just sets such a gold standard that it’s hard to ignore what a colorist brings to the page in modern comics. He’s helping tell the story!

But that’ll be one of the startling things people will notice is how we’ve brought everyone back together without missing a step. But we also wanted to avoid making one of the biggest mistakes, and that’s just re-fashioning the old stories into something new. No, we wanted to tell some stories that only Jessica could star in and would move her story forward. We’ll look through the cracks of [events] and see what people were dealing with—and this is where Jessica will be found.

Marvel.com: How exactly does Jessica Jones fits into the notion of Marvel NOW!?

Brian Michael Bendis: As I’ve said before, the real reason was that the Marvel Universe changed so much and there were so many opportunities for us to explore. It’s one of the cool things about having a shared universe, you know? It’s like POWERS—it’s all one universe and it gives that opportunity with Jessica. I wanted her to live in a part of the Marvel U that the rest of us don’t see every day. And these cases are inspired by many of the stories that we’ve all read, but perhaps we didn’t see the whole picture. If I’ve done my job right, I’m speaking to people who don’t read any other comics, but they can pick up all they need to know and enjoy a good crime story. Then there will be those people who’ve ready every book, and they can pick it up and say “Oh! They’re talking about Atlantis Attacks! I read that and now I can see it a little differently!” But no. We’re not actually doing Atlantis Attacks.

And not surprisingly, the sales for the first series—via trade paperback—have gone through the roof with fans of the show looking to jump on board as well. So, I’m really excited to be able to help give them more of Jessica within the Marvel NOW! push.

Marvel.com: When it comes to your more mature reader comics, you’ve not been shy when it comes to pushing the envelope. What elements to JESSICA JONES do you think you and Michael will get the biggest reactions from readers this time around?

Brian Michael Bendis: I really don’t know. I’m not the best judge of that. It’s really hard to tell what exactly will push people’s buttons, you know? People forget that the first issue [of ALIAS] was rejected by the printer and Marvel had to go find a new printer. This made no sense because there was no actual nudity in that issue; it’s all suggested. Then we found out later that the printer was down south and there were interracial prejudices filtering into their business decisions, which is equally interesting given the fact they were simultaneously printing some weird porn magazines—but they had a problem with our book. It was very strange for me. [Laughs

Then there were stores that had difficulty selling the book. I was down in Florida visiting my grandparents, because I’m Jewish and that’s what you do, and I’d stop by stores where a few owners told me they wanted to sell the book so badly but there were certain religious organizations that would shut them down if they did. And I truly didn’t understand that as it’s not porn! Adults dealing with sexuality was—scary, I guess? Who knows, as I live in the “free-wheeling world” of Portland.

But most people forget the original series wasn’t even “R” rated most of the time, but they want it to be now! Yes, Jessica dropped an “F-bomb” like it was her job, but the stories were mature. They were stories for adults about adults, and yes, she’ll be looking at things from a mature lens. But it’s funny because we were at the Peabody dinner, it was the first time I was with Krysten Ritter. Someone mentioned that Krysten never actually said the “F word” on the show, and I couldn’t believe it. But she didn’t and I watched the show! But it’s all in the eyebrows and her facial expressions—she just oozes it.

Marvel.com: So we can expect this series to retain its edge?

Brian Michael Bendis: I’ll just say it is mature and we won’t be skirting issues.

JESSICA JONES from Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and company hits the streets on October 5!

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