The Weekly Pop Culture Audio Podcast Featuring In-Depth One On One Interviews and Discussions From The Entertainment Worlds Of Genre Fiction-
Comic Books, Novels, Television, Film, Video Games And More. Created In 2005 By Chicago Radio/TV Host John Siuntres

Word Balloon Live

Listen and Download The Word Balloon Podcast

The Bendis Tapes Archive


After starting Word Balloon in May of 2005, I began to collect my interviews on CDs as mp3 data files, and gave out many copies to writers and artists who were attending the August 2005 Wizard World Chicago Convention as a calling card to introduce the podcast. Among those I made sure got a copy was then Marvel writer and established indie comics creator Brian Michael Bendis . At the time, Bendis was well known for his work on AKA GOLDFISH,  JINX,  TORSO, POWERS, ALIAS, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN and DAREDEVIL. Bendis had my attention since 1999, and I enjoyed his takes on the super hero and crime comic genres.I also was a rabid fan of the infamous Powers Letters Page and the No-Life checklist of great Films TV DVDs Comics and Books that were being enjoyed by Bendis.

We finally did our first WB talk in January of 2006. The following month at the first Reed sponsored New York Comic Con , Brian asked if I'd be willing to help him with his Q& A sessions he'd host at his JINXWORLD message board. He was answering back by writing answers, but some of the more complicated questions were getting laborious to transcribe.Could we record me asking Brian the questions and he'd answer them?

So the following month , March of 2006, The first Bendis Tapes session occurred. We taped non stop for almost 4 hours, and got very slap happy pouring through the questions. The recording sessions became a 3-4 time a year event for word balloon and the sessions helped increase my audience very rapidly.

The characteristics of the Bendis Tapes conversations have helped shaped the philosophy of my Word Balloon interviews in general . In the tradition of my talk show host heroes like Dick Cavett, Terry Gross, Tom Snyder and Charlie Rose, we discuss the crafts of writing and producing comics as well as dissecting the characters Bendis creates and embellishes. Plus as a fellow pop culture consumer, listeners are afforded the chance to hear more details about the books, films, and television shows that excite and inspire Bendis, and myself.

I'd like to thank Brian for the many hours of laughs, his invaluable support as a Word Balloon advocate to pop culture industry professionals and his readers promoting this podcast in print, and our genuine friendship that has developed from these talks. 

May 9th 2017

To celebrate Word Balloon's 12th anniversary (5-10-05) it's time for a new Bendis Tapes . Brian Bendis & I talk about the coming sequel to Spider-Men. How has Miles being in the same universe as Peter Parker changed the story?
We also talk about Marvel's Legacy event coming up later this year, and some Jessica Jones, then we present the Marvel press conference about The Defenders featuring Brian Dave Marquez and Tom Brevort .
Also a serious plea from me to petition the FCC about Net Neutrality, with help from John Oliver


May 12th, 2017

Brian Bendis & I continue our latest conversation, featuring his Free Comic Book Day experiences, more talk about Defenders Jessica Jones Spider-Man, and the current debate about creating new legacy versions of Marvel Heroes while balancing the stories of the original heroes.
Plus Chicago Film Critic David Fowlie joins us to talk about the Chicago Critics Film Festival happening now thru May 18th. We discuss lots of current festival films you need to keep your eyes out when they come to town, or to streaming video and DVD, featuring actors like Burt Reynolds Sam Jones and Harry Dean Stanton


Sept 9th 2016

Brian Bendis is back with a new conversation. We talk about the creation of Riri Williams, the return of Jessica Jones Comics with Mike Gaydos, Civil War Miles Morales Spider Man and lots more comic-wise...

But we also get into the questions of more diverse creative voices in comics and Bendis's meetings with The CIA.

We talk about his experience attending and winning a Peabody Award for his involvement with The Jessica Jones Netflix series.

Brian talks about Sony ending production of the Powers TV series and the development at Cinemax with Scarlett .

Plus lots of pop culture recommendations along the way.

Sept 15th, 2015

What was scheduled to be a Summer Review of Powers 1st season, Comic-Con Stories and a look at Brian's Secret Wars Tie-Ins, all got interrupted with what may be a Major Sea Change in the way Marvel makes movies
  • Big News broke this week that Marvel Film Honcho Kevin Feige has gained independence from Marvel's CEO Ike Perlmutter answering only to Disney CEO Alan Horn. A reported bi-product of this power shift was the apparent dissolution of The Marvel Creative Committee of Bendis, Marvel's Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and Publisher Dan Buckley. What does this mean for the future Marvel films? Wasn't the inclusion of input from the comic book makers the difference in Full Fledged Marvel Films versus the failures like Fantastic Four, The Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films, etc? 
  • During the first 35 minutes of this marathon edition of The Bendis Tapes, I ask Brian questions regarding the news. Things like,  "How does it impact the future films? How does his role at Marvel change ? ". We also talk about new comics Bendis recommends, more Powers TV news, and More. Then we present a talk we started to record last month featuring More Powers Behind the scenes talk including upcoming changes in the production of the series, including the inclusion of Comics and TV master-scribe Ben Edlund (The Tick, Buffy, Angel) on the writing staff. plus more talk about Brian's current and future books. It'll play like we're old and don't realize we were talking about these same books an hour earlier, but the information is more detailed in this earlier conversation.

  • Enjoy! 

June 11th 2015

Marvel Press Conference With Bendis Dave Marquez Tom Brevort and Axel Alonso

A look at the new direction for Tony Stark when The Secret Wars end. The Former Ultimate Spider-Man team takes over Stark Industries in the Fall, and Wednesday they faced members of the comic book press who had plenty of questions

Feb 2nd 2015

Bendis was just on Seth Meyers we talk Secret Wars The End Of Marvel's Ultimate Universe stepping down from the X-Men books, Powers The Tv show and more 

Jan 15th 2015

Marvel Press Conference Brian and Sam Humphries discuss The Black Vortex story arc from X-Men and Guardians Of The Galaxy

Oct 8, 2014

It's Time for The New York Comic-Con, and Brian Bendis will be showing the first footage from the Powers TV show, and participating in Marvel 75th anniversary panels. Bendis joins us to tell stories about the production of Powers hanging with the cast and crew and preparing for the premiere coming in just a few months. Bendis assures us that the 1st episode will be available free on many Sony online streaming platforms like and others.
There's lots of TV and movie talk, as the superhero genre prepares for a very crowded 2015. How has 2014 "set the table" for what's to come? Bendis even has positive thoughts about the upcoming Captain America 3
We also talk in-depth about his comic books Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man, The X-Men books, United States Of Murder Inc., and of course Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Plus, final thoughts on the closing of the Jinxworld Bendis Message Board, the 22-year-old online community that launched many comic creator careers, and THIS VERY PODCAST!

Aug 27th, 2014


April 20th, 2014

Word Balloon Podcast Ep 493 C2E2 wrap w Brian Bendis Amanda Connor Jimmy Palmiotti Kyle Higgins

Time Cues
Brian Michael Bendis 00:00-104:08
Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti 104:09-120:58
Mike Perkins On Deathlok 120:59-136:13
Kyle Higgins On Image's C.O.W.L. 136:14-155:52
Pro Wrestlers Chris Daniels & Kazarian 155:53-202:35
Pete Tomasi on Batman & Robin  202:35-210:41
Marvel Press Conf w Sam Humphries on Star Lord 210:42-248:39
Sean Dove On The Lat Days Of Danger Kickstarter 248:40 - 259:54
Dave Gruba & Rene Castellano on the Tales Of The Wolfman Kicktarter 2:59:55-End Of Show

March 17th, 2014

Word Balloon Podcast Marvel Press Bendis Fialkov & Fiffe On The Marvel Ultimate Line

On this episode of Word Balloon, we take you back to last week's Marvel Press Conference where writers Brian Michael Bendis Joshua Hale Fialkov and Michel Fiffe spoke to the press about their plans for Marvel's Ultimate Comics Line. There are big changes ahead for Miles Morales, The very cosmic Ultimate Fantastic Four and the Street level hero New Ultimates.

January 14th, 2014

Word Balloon Podcast Bendis Tapes Janelle Asselin & Scene Missing With Hardman Pfeifer and Barta

On this episode of Word Balloon, it's a king-sized episode, with a new edition of The Bendis Tapes. Brian Michael Bendis lays out the blueprints for the new direction for Marvel's Ultimate Universe. From new creators to new team line-ups all starting in April. Bendis also talks X-Men Guradians Of The Galaxy, a new crime project with Michael Avon Oeming , television and film project updates including an animation series from FX and details of his upcoming book on writing WORDS FOR PICTURES . Finally we talk about the oscar contending films out in theaters now, because Brian gets dvd screeners...lucky bastard.



My first interview with Brian. We talk about the new direction he took the Avengers in following the events of Avengers Dissassembled. We also talk about wrapping up his run on Daredevil, and handing the book over to Ed Brubaker. We also talk about the debate over decompression, and Brian's attempt to describe his style of writing.

You'll hear all about Brian's days at Calibre, plus writing and drawing with David Mack, Mike Oeming, Frank Cho and Michael Gaydos.

Bendis Nov 2006 Part 1
Brian talks about artist Stuart Immonen joining Ultimate Spider-Man, What's coming up in New Avengers , along with movie & TV talk, and lots of friendly jabs at fellow Marvel creators like Ed Brubaker, and Robert Kirkman.

Part 2 Nov 10th
Time for part 2 with more talk about Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Bendis's writing process, plus a celebrity story that may rival Brian's encounters with Lou Ferrigno.

Part 3 of the never ending story continues, but it's loaded with interesting insights. You'll find out about the workings of the fabled Marvel Retreats , where the elves get together in the hollow tree, and bake the cookies.
We'll also discuss various thoughts on Steve Ditko, the craft of writing, hints at upcoming arcs in new Avengers and Ultimate Spider-man, The current TV and Movie seasons, and who would YOU cast in the JINXWORLD movie?

                                                Bendis Tapes Post NYCC February 26th 2007   

Download the MP3 Here
In this special edition of THE BENDIS TAPES, Brian gives his thoughts on DAREDEVIL : END OF DAYS, his THE END project co-written by David Mack, with art by Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkewicz, and Alex Maelev,and his work with Maelev on the first arc of the new Marvel ongoing HALO series, produced in conjunction with Bungee and Sony.
In addition, Brian discusses behind the scene facts about CIVIL WAR:THE CONFESSION , The current and future issues of NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI , and the upcoming arcs in NEW AVENGERS and MIGHTY AVENGERS.
If you want to hear more about the future of Mighty Avengers New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, and a whole lot more, the 2007 winter edition of THE BENDIS TAPES podcasts starts Tuesday.
Part 2 of our marathon conversation continues, with comments about the philosophy behind comic book events, more background of Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers books, and lots more! 

You'll hear behind the scenes info on all of Brian's current and future projects, including the Halo comic adaptation, Secret Invasion , next year's Icon crime project with Alex Maleve and much more.
October 6th 2007

This weekend several comic book podcasters got together to do a non-stop 24 hour comics podcast. They included DC artist Mike Norton and Chris Crank of Devil's Due (The Crankcast) Marvel artist Skottie Young, Chris Neesman Brian Salazar & Tom Katers (Around Comics) Stevie D and Eric (The Comic Book Queers) and John Siuntres (Word Balloon).

Along with the round table discussions, there were informal interviews with other comic pros like J Torres, Tim Seeley, Chris Moreno Jeremy Haun Chris Burnham, Sean McKeever and Brian Michael Bendis. Most of the pros just talked casually about work in general, but Bendis dropped a few comic news items regarding his books. 
Some highlights from the interview...
On Ultimate Origin being re-scheduled...

Bendis and artist Butch Guice have three issues completed, but some tie-in stories written by Jeph Loeb won't be ready till next year. Plus they didn't want the Ultimate Universe storyline to conflict with Bendis' Secret Invasion miniseries, so Ultimate Origin is getting pushed back until the end of summer 2008.

On the Avengers/Secret Invasion/Illuminati books…

When artist Frank Cho finishes his Mighty Avengers arc he will move to the Mighty Avengers Annual featuring an all female Avengers team facing a group of female villains. Mark Bagley then replaces Cho on the series, and he's already finished drawing his arc. After issues #6 and #7 of Mighty Avengers comes out, Illuminati #5 will be released.

New Avengers #38 will be a very special issue focusing on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage drawn by Alias co-creator Michael Gaydos. "I don't want to spoil the story but it's called ‘The Break-Up.’"

On Secret Invasion...

There are clues to who is a Skrull in some of the thought balloons in Mighty Avengers, so it will be fun to see who can figure out who the Skrulls are, by re-reading those issues."

On Ultimate Spider-Man

"I got permission to Ultimatize a few villains from the 1967 Ralph Bashki Spidey animated series that have never appeared in any Marvel Comics. "I was surprised that there didn't have to be any legal wrangling to recreate these villains."

In fear of the pending 2008 Hollywood writers/directors strikes, the studios are rushing to production with any potential films in the development pipeline. Apparently, this has resulted in some upcoming good news for Bendis. "Uh yes... in about three weeks, I should have some announcements."

December 28th 2007 Part 1

Among the subjects covered-the recent Marvel Creator Retreat,some tidbits about the upcoming Secret Invasion storyline, and many plots questions involving Powers, Daredevil-End Of Days,
Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and the two Avengers books.
                                               August 2008 Bendis VS The Kirkman Manifesto

 This was an interesting month. On August 13th Robert Kirkman released this video at Comic Book Resources suggesting other creators working at DC and Marvel should focus more on creator owned books, and leave the big two to focus more on getting kids 10-14 yrs old hooked on comics.

Kirkman followed up his CBR video with a August 14th WB talk to further explain his views
He said Marvel already had a guy like Bendis and didn't feel like following his career path. 

Bendis had a rebuttal to some of Kirkman's points and felt obligated to respond on the next Word Balloon

The Debate culminated in a panel at The Baltimore Comic Con.  Video courtesy of iFanboy

Bendis Tapes Aug31st 2008 Part 1

Sept 4th 2008 Part 2

Sept 5th Part 3

Sept 9th Part 4

                                                         January 2009 Dark Reign Begins 

January 12th Part 1

January 16th Part 2

January 23rd Part 3

                                                            July 2009 Paging Dr Voodoo

July 14th Part 1

July 16th Part 2

July 22nd w special cameo guest Matt Fraction Part 3

                                                                   September 2009

September 24th Part 1

Brian breaks down the differences between the new Spider-Woman motion comics available at ITunes, and The first issue, which debuted this week. We talk about the art changes made by Alex Maleev and the story's pacing from motion and dramatized sound, to static images and text .

We talk about what's been going on in the news of the comics world , including Marvel's acquisition of the rights to Marvelman, and how it affects The Sentry's place in the Marvel U.

We also discuss the acquisition of Marvel by The Disney Corp, and how THAT affects the Marvel U. We'll talk about the shake-up at Time Warner regarding the re-organization of DC Entertainment.

October 1st Part 2

More discussion about the transition form Doctor Strange to Doctor Voodoo. Daredevil is "full front" in New Avengers #60. Next Year Bendis teased he will again work with artist Howard Chaykin. There's a new Ultimate Universe project coming in 2010. You'll hear character discussions about DD, Wilson Fisk, and Norman Osborn

Plus, Bendis discusses some of his favorite meetings with Stan Lee, including his lunch with Stan last month, in which The Man asked  Brian "How did Norman Osborne get here?" 

                                       Baltimore Comic Con  The Bendis Oeming Powers Panel

Oct 13th 10th anniversary Of Powers 

We present audio coverage from this weekend's Baltimore Comicon. Marvel scribe Brian Michael Bendis gives us details on The Siege story arc, which begins in December and runs through the start of 2010. The story as reported from the retailer summit features a major shift in all the Avengers titles, The Secret Warriors and Young Avengers, and the need for Marvel's hero trinity, Iron Man Thor and Captain America to finally re-unite. We also present audio from the Powers Panel, where Bendis and Powers Co-Creator Michael Avon Oeming discuss the first 10 years of the Powers comic, and look ahead with the new volume starting in November, the Powers Encyclopedia, and new details on where the future of The Powers TV series stands, at the FX Network.

April 13th C2E2 "Preview"
At the con SCARLET was announced. Brian pre taped this talk with details .
(starts at 29:02)
Brian Bendis is back to talk about his new creator owned Icon series Scarlet with co-creator Alex Maleve . We also talk about the IPad, and other digital issues regarding Spider-Woman, Powers, The Ultimate Universe,  and The Avengers .

May 18th Part 1

May 25th Part 2

June 8th Part 3

In this part, you'll hear more background on the first chapter of the Oral History Of The Avengers, Why the Next Avengers were chosen for their role in the first Avengers Arc, Comparisons of the Scarlet Witch and The Sentry’s mental breakdowns, which hero was let down more by their compatriots?  The continuing discussion of the $3.99 monthly comic book price. Movie talk about Spider-Man 4 ,  and an offer from Warner Bros to write the Flash movie? Pranks played on DC creators at Con Panels , and another healthy dose of pop culture talk.

June 17th Part 4

More talk about Avengers Prime and New Avengers #1 plus you’ll hear about Brian’s one on one interview with writer/director David Mamet some San Diego announcements and recollections of  little known career moments. Like the fact that Bendis was offered the chance to write the Dick Tracy Comic strip with art by Mike Oeming, but Warren Beatty’s long standing option on the Tracy license squashed the plan. You’ll hear about his early days in Cleveland assisting Mike Gustovich on things like The Justice Machine. Plus  turning down such industry jobs as making foot fetish comics, and saying no to Mexican vampire comics which he would’ve drawn under the name “Manuel Sanchez “…it’s true.

June 22nd Part 5 

July 27th CCI Panel
From Comic Con the spotlight panel on Brian Michael Bendis. During this live presentation of the Bendis Tapes Featuring questions from the con audience, Brian received the con's prestigious Inkpot Award from Comicon's director of print and publications Gary Sassaman , Jeph Loeb asks Brian to be the executive producer of the upcoming ultimate spider-man animated series, and fielded many questions about his marvel and creator owned books.

NYCC Preview Oct 

In a full disclosure discussion we had prior to the convention , you’ll hear all about Taki O, the new creator owned all ages project from Bendis and Mike Oeming , how Brian's daughter played an important role in creating the concept, and how it will impact future arcs of their other creator owned series Powers.

We also discuss, Bendis’s new reboot of Moon Knight with Alex Maleev, all of Brian’s Avengers books, including a preview of the next arcs in New Avengers and Avengers, the joy of working with Alan Davis on the well received Avengers Prime, and  welcoming Sara Pichelli who will alternate arcs with David LaFuente Ultimate Spider-Man

Then we cut to a brief floor conversation from last Friday at the con with talk about Scarlett, the 150 issue plans for Ultimate Spider-Man, and next years Avengers annuals which will have a linking storyline. Bendis also teases a 2011 Avengers story drawn by Brian Hitch 

Feb 16th Part 1

On this opening salvo to this season’s Bendis Tapes, we start with a closer look at the new Moon Knight series beginning in May. After a mixed reaction to last week's Marvel press conference Bendis addresses the initial concerns old time Marc Spector fans have with the idea that his 3 multiple personalities have doubled to include Steve Rogers, Spider-Man and Wolverine .
We talk about Takio the all ages graphic novel from Brian and his Powers co-collaborator Mike Oeming

On the Marvel movie front, Bendis gives a non detail disclosing thumbs up to the Thor film, and more importantly describes the environment of the meetings with Thor director Kenneth Branaugh . You’ll also hear behind the scenes details of the last Marvel retreat, which was the first led by new Editor In Chief Axel Alonso.

We also get updates on the many TV projects Bendis has in the works. You’ll hear about Powers at FX, AKA Jessica Jones at ABC and Ultimate Spider-Man at Disney XD.
March 1st Part 2

Brian Hitch and Bendis have a 2012 project in the works. Spider-Woman will be featured prominently in Avengers 12.1 , and wait till you see Hitch’s Spider-Woman. Bendis is trying to get Romita to stop drawing Jessca Drew’s hair-do like Snooki’s.

On Moon Knight’s move to Los Angeles, Bendis hints there’s already been some LA world building going on to further exploit in Moon Knight, and no that doesn’t mean The Pride from Runaways will be featured.

April 20th Part 3

You'll hear more about Bendis and Mark Bagley's new creator owned series Brilliant, The Death Of Spider Man story in Ultimate Spider Man, spoiler free wrap ups to Ultimate Doom and the first 5 issues of his Icon Series Scarlett, his point one avengers issues plus how his Avenger books will tie into Fear Itself,and result in big line-up changes for the 2 main Avenger teams.

We get a new TV update of Brian's work on The Ultimate Spider Man TV series,Powers, and the Jessica Jones series. Plus Brian takes more listener questions about the craft of writing comics and screenplays.

Aug 25th Part 1

In part 1 of the latest Bendis Tapes we go over Brian's Summer vacation. You'll hear about the Powers TV pilot shoot in Chicago, and his adventures in the Windy City. Then we get behind the scene details of the developments in Ultimate Spider-Man. Brian tells us what led to the creation of Miles Morales and the controversey thart followed. We also get details on what's coming up in the pages of Bendis's Avengers titles, from working with Neal Adams and the return of Gabriel Del Otto, to Daredevil joining the team.

Aug 30th Part 2

More details of his work on the creative commitee for the Marvel Movies, Brian's work on the upcoming Marvel MMMO, and more story details on the Avenger books, Ultimate Spider-Man
and other comics.  Plus Brian gives his opinion on DC Comics NU 52, and how he sees comic book storytelling changing in the immediate future.

 Dec 21st Part 1

We discuss the upcoming 2012 event Avengers versus X-Men, what's happening with the return of Norman Osbourne and a new team of Dark Avengers , plus Moon Knight, and this week's issue of Ultimate Spider-man #5.

Dec 30th Part 2

We wrap up our last conversation of the year with Brian Michael Bendis who gives us updates on Takio, The Avengers Film, and his television projects like the Powers, pilot for FX, The Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and AKA Jessica Jones. We also talk about the recent cancellations of b-level character books, which begs the question “Can an ongoing c-level book survive in this current comic market?”