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    ISSUE EXCERPT: Brian Bendis Interview About Secret Invasion

    secretinvasion.jpg

    BRIAN BENDIS: He waited nearly four years to tell the Skrull sneak-attack. Now, armed with artist Leinil Yu, Bendis is ready to fire.

    So how did this whole Skrull invasion idea get started?
    I think after House of M, I finished Avengers Disassembled and was thinking, “Hey, the Skrull invasion is now the worst-case scenario for the Avengers and the X-Men. I think I’m going to do that next summer.” Joe [Quesada, editor in chief] and Dan [Buckley, publisher] look at me and go, “Well that’s a whole thing!” So I go, “Oh, OK, we’ll do a whole thing.”

    How is Secret Invasion different from House of M?
    It’s a completely different animal. It’s a completely different genre of comic book. House of M was very self-contained and other than Scarlet Witch’s appearances in other books, there was no buildup. … Secret Invasion has had a slow-roll buildup for years and revealing itself last year to the audience — that makes it a completely different type of story. One’s almost a fantasia and one is an alien invasion. Even that, as a premise, is completely different.

    You’ve said the Invasion stuff goes way back to the first arc in New Avengers. Did you know then that it would be Skrulls, specifically?
    Yeah, that was approved by issue 3. I’m in a very unique position with my long Marvel contract to attempt long-form narrative that I know can pay off. … I’m at Marvel for the foreseeable future, so it’s a real attempt to deliver something special. I can do that while other freelancers can’t, just because the nature of the business. … But what’s cool is that House of M, Civil War and all these other things that started cooking only fed the Skrull thing in the right direction. … I was pumped because it was perfect.

    So you had this initial pitch all the way back in 2005?
    I’d say earlier — even 2004. Whenever I started New Avengers. The biggest difference in the tone of the piece since then is the addition of Civil War and the fact that there are two Avengers books. But all of that only accentuates what the Skrulls have been planning. … The Skrulls are helping along any maniacal doing, because their jobs are to literally help fuck things up as much as possible and do as much damage to the powered people as you can possibly do before any physical invasion. So if a civil war was brewing, that could only help the Skrull thing. … There will be one character revealed who has been a primo secret Skrull agent in the Avengers, and I was thinking of them and watching this stuff go on around them. It’s really easy for me to get into that head and go, “Okay, how can I help fuck this up even more?”

    How did you go about figuring out who you wanted to be a Skrull?
    You get in the mind-set of the characters and who will be named in the story, like a Skrull War Tactian. And we actually show that in New Avengers, and we see exactly how they were picked. And say why. Why is this character the best person? I think you see that in issue 40.

    So you figured out, if you were to invade a planet, you’d need these types of people.
    Well, it’s more than that. The one thing that bothered me a bit about the Skrulls is that they have this amazing shape-shifting ability and they come at you with ray guns and space ships. No. The psyche of a shape-shifter is completely different than ours. … They would look at us, not with contempt, but they wouldn’t understand us at all. And nor would we understand them. So you can also see how shape-shifting, for certain sects of Skrulls, would be a very religious experience, and for some, a more extremist religious experience. Some Skrulls would be conveying their version of a Jihad on us. So you have to write them that way, as if they’re real characters. … Think about how you would look at someone with a standardized identity and how you feel about them if you could change your identity. Would you admire them? Would you be disgusted by them? You could be both.

    Is this something you considered in terms of a political connection?
    Here’s what’s important: Not all Skrulls think alike. You and I would have different takes on things, even in comics. Why would all Skrulls think and feel the same thing? Give them personalities, give the motivation, give them a mindset that is clear so they can have opposing viewpoints. You’ll see in the story the reason the Skrulls are attacking now versus Skrulls after the Kree-Skrull war is that there were different people in power. Based on that, develop a religion and mind-set that isn’t generic to all Skrulls. Let’s make sects, let’s make religions. For the Skrulls, there are, like, 15 worlds. Let’s not make them all … Jewish. That’s dumb.

    Do ever you look at your board or other Internet forums and see who thinks who is going to be a Skrull?
    I haven’t read it all. And this sounds braggy, but it’s impossible to read it all. Here’s the thing, we’ve known about this for a while and to reveal the Skrull thing was very scary, because [people could] go, “Whatever!” and not have any reaction and you’re still committed to doing this thing for another year. Having everyone get crazy on the Internet and start looking for clues and stuff was a huge relief. Huge! Every once in a while someone forwards me the craziest fucking thing. “This whole Marvel Universe is actually living in a jar in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.” That kind of thing. Which I think is the plot to Final Crisis, but I’m not sure.

    Who knew in the beginning about the Skrulls?
    There are certain people on certain books we did not want the Skrull secret leaked out to. Me and Tom Brevoort did not want it leaked out at all. That was a big deal. So not a lot of people knew. Me, Tom, Dan and Joe knew. I think Jeph Loeb knew. It was a really small group of people, because Internet leaks are just a nightmare. It’s so fucking hard. Remember when we were kids and Elektra died and you had no fucking idea it was going to happen? It’s so hard to do that now. … I’m really just unbelievably fascinated by people who just spoil everybody else’s shit. … It’s just obnoxious! In this world, creating something and trying to keep that magic is just difficult.

    Did you create any red herrings to throw people off?
    Yeah, there’s a couple of what me and Tom think are hilarious running gags that I think once we reveal who the real Skrulls are, people will love the gags. There is one fake out that is the funniest thing. It’s never not funny to me. No one else might think it’s funny, but I think it’s hilarious. I wrote in the script I think it’s the funniest thing ever.

    Posted by Tim Leong on April 28th, 2008 filed in Blog, In this Issue |

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