After the success of the Netflix series, tough-talking private investigator Jessica Jones returns with her own comic by University Heights native Brian Michael Bendis.
Brian Michael Bendis was nervous when he heard Jessica Jones, the superpowered private investigator he created in the Marvel Universe, was getting her own Netflix series starring Krysten Ritter.
“Jessica for sure is a bigger part of me than any other character I write,” says Bendis, who created the endearingly foul-mouthed badass for the Marvel MAX series Alias (2001-2004) while living in Lakewood. “Just because you have powers doesn’t mean everyone’s going to love you or everything is going to be fine.”
So Bendis was skittish about the show’s debut. Oh no, please don’t screw this up, he thought. But he was thrilled with Ritter’s portrayal and the average 4.8 million viewers it drew.
“The opposite happened,” he says. “The best version of Jessica was revealed.”
As in Alias, the show featured Jones drinking, investigating and searching for a way to stop Kilgrave, the mind-controlling stalker who forced her to do repulsive things.
Unlike many, Jones finally got to stand up to her abuser, receiving hard-earned retribution in both the comic and show. That perfect closure prompted Bendis to suddenly end Alias at 28 issues in 2004. While Jessica Jones season two doesn’t return to Netflix until at least 2017, Bendis is giving superfans another way to binge: a solo, self-titled Marvel comic book series, Jessica Jones, set to be released in October.
“Jessica is shockingly in a worse place than when we met her,” says Bendis, who will continue writing while fellow co-creator and Cleveland Institute of Art alum Michael Gaydos returns as the artist. “We’ll see her whole life has been turned upside down, and we’ll slowly reveal what happened to her, and why no one in the Marvel Universe is speaking to her.”
Since Alias closed in 2004, Jones has joined the Avengers, had a daughter and married the father, Luke Cage, whose own self-titled Netflix show starts streaming Sept. 30. Bendis, who compares the new comic to a superhero noir Rockford Files set in the Marvel Universe, promises both fans of the original comic and show can jump into the edgy new comic.
One thing that won’t change is Jones’ anti-heroine nature, which Bendis drew from Cleveland’s gritty underdog persona.
“She’s almost like a Second City kind of superhero, the kind you have to really look at to see, Oh no, she’s really special,” Bendis says. “And Cleveland’s a lot like that too.”