Word Balloon: Brian Bendis on Robert Kirkman

Word Balloon: Brit Invasion Panel

In his viral video and on a recent Word Balloon Robert Kirkman started an open dialog call to fellow creators. His "Mission Statement" was a call to writers and artists to weigh the advantages of making creator owned comics versus making corporate comics working for DC or Marvel.

Creators have written blogs message board threads and have been interviewed on podcasts and websites giving their perspective on the issues Kirkman addressed.

Marvel writer Brian Bendis made his views known in a still to be released new edition of “The Bendis Tapes.”

Well we're not stupid, this is the subject of the moment, and we present this interesting conversation where Bendis discusses the points of Kirkman's view. The full “Bendis Tapes” will be presented in the days ahead, but for now, here's another great discussion from Word Balloon.

A few Bendis quotes from the conversation...

I'm not looking to make this into a feud, or make this into a thing...I have a lot of respect for Robert and was one of the cheerleaders about getting him into Marvel...and we goof on each other on letter columns and message boards...but the recent statements he's made publicly, since his Image partnership I don't agree with at all... I have told Robert all of this in private and would say this to him if we were on a panel together..."I don't agree with your arguments, so please stop using my name to illustrate your point."

I'm really excited that Robert is excited about his creator-owned work, I've had that same feeling since I was producing independent comics, but that's like saying you're anti-rape... I would say to him that the reason he's seen some success with his Image books is based in part, not fully, but in part on his work generated at Marvel...

I know that the reason Powers is successful is in part because of the audience i built up through my years in independent comics, but also from the audience I've generated through interest in my work at Marvel...it's not the only reason, but it is one of them.

So when he announces that all creators should come and do creator owned work I completely agree with that ... it's a very exciting, really amazing feeling...and for me, personally, not for everybody... doing both (independent and Marvel contracted work) is very healthy for me.

The excitement of doing whatever you want in Powers, plus the excitement of working on the greatest icons in the world and having the challenges that come with sharing characters... for me they feed each other, not only financially, but creatively they feed each other.

I also do understand, that whatever time period this is or however long it will last... particularly since 1999 that I've been breathing rarefied air , I've been very lucky having my cake and eating it too... I understand that I am one of the very few people that can do creator owned work and do mainstream work and find some success creatively in both fields...but having experienced what I have through comics, and being a little older than Robert, I can look back and can say at this level of play that I'm at and Robert is at, to ignore the fact that part of your audience came from Marvel is a mistake I hope he doesn't learn the bad way.

Almost all of the Image founders quickly turned to doing work for hire projects to keep their books afloat, so that dichotomy that he's ignoring in his mission statement was frustrating.

The other thing that bothered me is, that there are hundreds of comic book creators that don't follow this plan that I'm saying was good for me...That's the difference between me and Robert...I'm saying your should follow your own muse.

Creators who haven't followed the path I took are having great success and have never done mainstream work... guys like Adrian Tomine, and Chris Ware. People who have absolutely no interest in doing super heroes or work for hire... it's an insult to them to ignore what they got us...This simplistic view of creator rights versus working for Marvel or DC and ignoring that aspect of it is a mistake ...particularly this generation of comic book creators are standing on the shoulders of giants who worked very hard to make things easy for us, and get the (creator rights changes) they got us. It was really just before I got into comics that things got a lot easier, and at DC and Marvel got a lot better.

The thing that was great about what Robert did was it started a dialog and it's a dialog that clearly I love...but, it's important that it be an educated conversation. It's important that it's a conversation that's not just a blank stare call to arms, but makes people really look into, 'What do I want?'

I'm not mad at Robert ...where Robert's heart's at is fantastic...I swear if I didn't have tons of (bleep) to do I would've made my own viral video with the green screen and "Hava Nagila" playing in the background...and by the way Robert, Marvel and DC are not going on a cruise with you.

Click here for the episode.

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