By Jim Beard
In working on the all-new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series, writer Brian Michael Bendis infuses it with not only its action and adventure, but an emotional foundation. With a team of characters whose immense, galactic job dwarfs that of the Avengers on Earth, he’s zeroed in on what makes the Guardians heroes on such a large playing field, but roots them in values that everyone can identify with.
We asked him a few questions about this approach to the series, and in addition, Bendis gives props to his collaborator on the book, artist Steve McNiven, and enthuses over his visual designs for the characters and their environments.
|Guardians of the Galaxy #1 preview art by Steve McNiven|
Marvel.com: Brian, what gets you really excited about a series like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY?
Brian Michael Bendis: I tell you full out as a fan of these characters that this is a very fun corner of the Marvel Universe. There is so much at stake and these characters are so unique and are in such a great position. I’m referring to them as the “Cosmic Avengers” because like the Avengers, they are a team of characters that you can’t even imagine how they’d be in a room together, let alone be so close and connected. As I personally travel through life, I find that is what my life is filled with. Look at who my friends are, what a bunch a crazy lunatics!
Marvel.com: What sorts of things do you feel readers will connect with in the book?
Brian Michael Bendis: I really feel that beyond the space thing, there’s a lot to connect to here emotionally. There’s a lot to identify with. I think a lot of people look at their parents, some with love and some think, “I can’t believe I came from that.” I have friends in my life, and the thing I admire most about them, is that they rose above the roles that they were born into. They could have easily just continued on with the nonsense that they were raised with but instead they broke off and defied it and became better people. I don’t think there’s anything more heroic. To write a team full of such characters is a great thing.
Marvel.com: Tell us about Steve McNiven’s work on the title.
Brian Michael Bendis: I’m a huge Steve McNiven fan and rushed to grab him on NEW AVENGERS when I first started it. Steve is amazing. He’s also an amazing character actor which isn’t easy to do. That cover of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3 with Rocket Raccoon is so great. The colors added by Justin Ponsor, who I’ve been working with for years on ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN—those two are such an amazing team. This book is so beautiful. I just looked at the final composite of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 and was like “Holy crap, this is a good looking book. This is something else.” The designs are great.
|Guardians of the Galaxy #3 cover by Steve McNiven|
Marvel.com: Any of the designs of Steve’s that really stand out to you?
Brian Michael Bendis: He tweaked Star-Lord’s design yet again, out of his own frustration and itchiness. The latest version is so great. I’m excited for everyone to see what he does. Even with something very subtle. We talk a lot about the world we live in. Sometimes when you’re watching science fiction on television or in movies, it looks like a set. It doesn’t look like anyone lives in it. This ship is where they live. It’s their apartment. They’re roommates in a moving dorm. They’re all different species with different things that they need. Imagine what their refrigerator looks like. That’s all got to be put in the designs and thought about.
Marvel.com: Which of the other Guardians does Steve really rock, in your opinion?
Brian Michael Bendis: He does a great Groot. And again, the cover of #3. The best drawing of the year and it’s of a raccoon. You’ll say, “Rocket Raccoon? What the hell’s that?” and then you see this drawing and you’ll go “Oh, okay. I get it.”