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Bendis’ first assignment was a four-issue run on Marvel’s Daredevil. After the first two issues, Quesada asked him if he was interested in writing Ultimate Spiderman. The series became one of the best-selling comics of the decade.
“He’s really terrific,” Sean Howe, author of “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story,” said of Bendis. “I think he’s one of the few comic book writers that has a really singular voice in terms of dialogue. He just has the snappiness of a really great crime novelist.”
The couple’s financial worries were over. Bendis finally had regular comic book work and his original graphic novels were optioned for movies. He and Alisa began thinking about starting a family.
Doctors told Bendis that Alisa wouldn’t be able to have children, but as they prepared to adopt, she became pregnant with their daughter, Olivia. Later the couple adopted Sabrina from Ethiopia and, three years later, a third daughter, Tabatha, through a domestic adoption program.
“Adoption is something I’m insanely proud of,” Bendis said. “My wife wanted to make a family of the world and help raise children with a lot of love that they might not have gotten otherwise.”
Bendis raised the idea of shaking up the Spiderman franchise at a Marvel creative retreat.
“We thought about what we wished we could do differently,” he said. “We talked about that the New York in Marvel comics isn’t the one you see when you walk outside the door.”
Ultimate Spider Man No. 160 was published in 2011. In that issue, Peter Parker is killed by his archenemy, the Green Goblin. Morales makes his debut in the next issue and inherits his super powers after being bitten by a genetically engineered spider.
The Jewish nature of comic book superheroes has long been an object of speculation, with much attention focused on post-Holocaust Jewish psychology and the yearning for powerful protectors of the innocent. But Bendis traces the connection back even further.
“The Torah is full of mythological sources of father and son, and so is Marvel Comics,” Bendis said. “I think about my upbringing with a single mother – I have father issues – I was born to do this. That’s why I can write.”
In December, Alisa gave birth again. It’s a boy.