Noted comics fanatic Seth Meyers no doubt enjoys the all-out media blitzes of spandex-donning (actual costumes or mo-cap) of big Hollywood stars coming onto his Late Night to talk about the latest Marvel mega-franchise installment. But it’s pretty clear that Meyers really gets excited when he can squeeze in an appearance from one of the comic book writers and artists he admires, like Alex Ross, Geoff Johns, and Grant Morrison, who’s written, among myriad other cosmically weird and wonderful things, the fourth-wall-breaking Animal Man, over which Meyers will fanboy, if you have a hot minute.
So Thursday’s show saw Meyers bringing in another of his heroes who write his heroes, with DC Comics’ Brian Michael Bendis sitting down for a geek-friendly chat. Having recently decamped from his Marvel Comics home after 19 years in favor of the Distinguished Competition, Meyers compared the move to, say, Derek Jeter leaving the Yankees at the height of his career to play for Yankee arch-rivals (and Meyers’ other heroes) the Boston Red Sox. (Bendis, not a sports guy, instead agreed with Meyers that it was more like Superman defecting to The Avengers.)
And while the House Of Ideas is currently Bendis-less, Meyers pointed out that one of Bendis’ co-creations (with artist Sara Pichelli), new-generation Spider-Man Miles Morales, has only become more popular and influential thanks to the unqualified success of the brilliantly fun animated movie Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Calling the neophyte Miles’ journey a way to “expand the idea of what a hero is,” Bendis says that, like his new DC character Naomi, Miles’ story of discovery and inclusion is “Everything I’ve ever wanted out of the experience of telling stories.” He also called the movie better than his original source material, and called Miles resurgent popularity “a hug, and it never stops.”
Not that Bendis’ DC defection means he’s out of storytelling ideas, as he’s currently writing the superheroic adventures of no less an icon than Superman. (He’s also rebooting the Legion Of Superheroes. Yes, again.) Marveling (sorry) at his own journey as “a little Jewish kid from Cleveland” following in the footsteps of Superman creators (and fellow Jewish kids from Cleveland) Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Bendis fanned out on his new gig as hard or harder than Meyers was fanning out over him. Saying that writing for arguably the greatest superhero character of all has driven him to elevate his already pretty impressive game, Bendis told Meyers that the Man Of Steel has also asserted his legendarily spotless personality in the writer’s actual life. Describing writing Superman as getting up every morning thinking, “What would the greatest person think? What would the greatest person do?,” Bendis half-complained that it’s gotten tougher for him to be a jerk at the grocery store. Bendis explained that he’s had to train his brain to think good thoughts all the time to get into Superman’s head, which has, in turn, made him a better person in the real world. Which is a bit of Grant Morrison-like meta-fictional magic, when you think about it.