After writing each of the more than 160 (and counting) issues of the various incarnations of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book, Brian Michael Bendis is making his debut on the Disney XD animated series of the same name this Sunday.
The episode, titled "Freaky," is based directly on a 2004 two-part story which ran in Ultimate Spider-Man #66-#67.
"It's an adaptation of sorts of the 'Jump the Shark' story from the comic book, when Spider-Man and Wolverine inexplicably switch bodies," Bendis said in an interview with Newsarama. "It was originally an idea from editor Nick Lowe, who I strangle in the book because of it, and here I am writing it again."Though "Freaky" premieres nationwide this weekend, it was shown this past April during the Marvel TV panel at the C2E2 convention in Chicago.
"They showed it in Chicago, and it went over very well," Bendis said. "I didn't even know they were doing that. I started getting all these texts and emails, and I was like, 'What happened?' I showed it to my kids, and they liked it as well."Bendis is a consulting producer on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, which debuted on April 1 and earlier this week was announced as renewed for a second season. "We're doing really good in the ratings, and everyone's really happy," he said of the show's success. "I couldn't be more happy to hear that." Though it was hailed in the press release announcing the renewal as "Disney XD's No. 1 animated series," some observers have criticized the show for being too focused on appealing to younger audiences.
"I've had a couple of these people coming up to me on Facebook," Bendis said. "I don't know what to say — 'You know, you're watching Disney XD.' It's not on Showtime. I want you to like it too, but like it in the context of what it's for. It's for kids. We're thinking of them while we write it."Bendis is joined on the Ultimate Spider-Man creative team by comic book veterans like Paul Dini, Steven Seagle and Joe Kelly; the latter of which wrote the decidedly dark "Grim Hunt" story in Amazing Spider-Man in 2010.
"I know it's weird," Bendis said. "You see all of our names on the credits, and some of us have been responsible for very mature and involved storytelling, and then there's this other thing — which by the way takes just as much work — but is meant to spark the imagination of younger kids. "Bendis, who has more episodes coming later in the series, reports that he's proud of the episode airing on Sunday's "Marvel Universe" programming block — and particularly the work of Spider-Man voice actor Drake Bell and Wolverine voice actor Steven Blum, who previously voiced the character in multiple projects including Wolverine and the X-Men and Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
"It has tremendous voice acting, as the characters have to be themselves in another body," Bendis said. "It's hopefully a lot of fun, it's certainly fun for nine-year-olds."And since it is a show directed at kids, Bendis assures that the story won't end the same way as the comic book version did — with a suggestive line where Mary Jane requests that Peter Parker waits until they're "older" to try something Wolverine attempted off-panel while inhabiting Peter's body. "I'm still shocked that's in the comic," Bendis said, with a laugh. "That's what you call perfect innuendo. I remember the conversation — 'He doesn't say what she's talking about.' It could be anything!"
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