Symbiote and Spirit of Vengeance mix as Ghost Rider goes Venom!

Simon Spurrier and Tigh Walker just might tip the scales in favor of the symbiotes in the pages of EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3. The July 26-dropping issue brings a new Venomized character into the fold: Ghost Rider! With the Spirit of Vengeance, otherwise known as Robbie Reyes, on the side of the symbiotes, it may seem impossible for the good guys to pull out a win—but we’ve got faith in them.

While we wait on the big event, we talk with Walker about bringing these two deadly designs together, working towards a monumental story, and working with Spurrier!

Marvel.com: When creating the look of this symbiote-possessed Ghost Rider, what were the key elements of each individual icon that had to come through in the finished product?

Tigh Walker: One thing that I really hoped to carry over from both characters was that slick black oiliness against those clean, crisp white designs. From Venom, the spider, and from Ghost Rider, those bold blocky lines. So I tried to combine those two iconic shapes into something new but familiar for the Host Rider.

More specifically, I really wanted to include Venom’s tangle of teeth, tentacle-y tongue and scraggy eye shape.

Then, I was also looking to borrow Ghost Rider’s skeletal schnoz, cheek bar thing—I don’t know what it is but I dig it!—and that fountain of forehead flames.

I really wanted to make him something you might actually be scared of if you met him in real life. I mean, I’m sure if you met him in real life he’d be totally disarming. His name would be Stu or something, and he’d be a dentist or an accountant and he’d have two corgis, a favorite movie, and a song that made him cry every time he heard it; he’d be a lovely guy. But because it’s not real life and both Venom and Ghost Rider are a tad horrifying on their own, it was important that that quality be mirrored in the Host Rider.

Marvel.com: How was the actual design process for this combined character? Was there a lot of back and forth about getting him to look just right?

Tigh Walker: My first impulse was to go out, grab a Ghost Rider and a Venom costume, put them on at the same time, stand in front of the mirror, take some pics and send them to [editors] Devin [Lewis and] Allison [Stock] for feedback. But the sales clerk thought I was saying denim, not Venom, and basically I got some sweet jean shorts that I didn’t want instead.

I’m just kidding. I totally wanted the jean shorts. They’re amazing and do wonders for my calves.

For the design, Devin/Allison initially sent me a few really nice covers that had been done previously, so I had those as a reference to begin with. Then after reading the script, I had a fairly solid idea of what I thought this [fiery]/goopy/toothy guy should look like.

For the Host Rider himself there wasn’t too much back and forth, but there was a bit for his mount/vehicle, just to get that sweet puppy looking right.

There were a lot of designs for this issue and every one of them was insanely fun to work on. So much so that I’ve started Venomizing random things at home. Toothbrush? Venomized. Grape soda? Venomized. My fish, Fin Diesel? Venomized. It’s pretty fun, you should totally try it. Or don’t, I’m not the boss of you, do what you like.

Marvel.com: With a Venomized Ghost Rider you’ve got two very different kinetic elements at play between the symbiote and the latter’s fire. How was it playing with those two from panel to panel?

Tigh Walker: It was interesting to find a balance for sure. Both of those elements can get pretty busy visually just on their own, so it was fun to marry them and find ways to have them co-exist.

I found that the fire really helped show large sweeping movement because you can have it trailing off of the Host Rider in fun ways. There were also cues from Simon about which element should be favored and when, which really helped.

For his weapons, the Host Rider uses a sort of fiery flail type thingy sometimes, but he can also shoot chains—like webbing—that are covered in that slick, black symbiote goopy stuff. So there are opportunities to showcase it all.

Marvel.com: Both Venom and Ghost Rider are pretty powerful on their own, but combined they sound almost unstoppable. Is it fun playing with that level of ability on the page?

Tigh Walker: Look TJ, by now I feel like we’re friends, so I’m not going to sit here and lie to you: it really is. It’s super fun. It was a challenge to try and convey that amount of energy on the pages, but I tried to fit as much in as possible. Oddly, as I was drawing this issue, every now and again I caught myself smiling giddily for no other reason than the page was just crazy fun to be drawing. And I don’t normally smile, like, ever. Not even for pictures.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Simon and editorial on this important lead up to a big event?

Tigh Walker: Working with Simon/Devin/Allison has been sincerely fantastic.

I can’t really say enough about Simon’s script for this issue. Immediately after reading it for the first time I stood up, screamed “Are you kidding me right now?!?” at some random cat that just happened to be in my living room, ran down three flights of stairs and whipped an egg salad sandwich at a parked car. So basically, Simon owes me an egg salad sandwich. That’s how good his script is. It’s egg salad all over a car good.

Devin and Allison are super great to work with and I’m very honored and excited to be a part of the lead up and to see where the story takes us. I’ll tell you what though, if I ever get a chance to meet them—they’re both getting hugs. And I’m not even a hugger, like at all, so it’s sure to be extra awkward for all of us.

EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3 by Simon Spurrier and Tigh Walker roars into stores on July 26.

Read More

Roland Boschi straps Wolverine to a symbiote in exclusive sketches!

Eddie Brock returned to his symbiote roots this week in VENOM #150. That reunion will also lead to an immense Venom-ization of various characters across the Marvel Universe.

EDGE OF VENOMVERSE launches in June. Each issue focuses on a Venom-ized character with a different creative team. The first issue, by Matthew Rosenberg and Roland Boschi, will showcase X-23—aka the All-New Wolverine—and her struggles as she deals with not only escaping the Facility, but also the symbiote trying to take over her mind and body.

We talked with Boschi about combining Laura’s sharpness with the fluidity of the symbiotes, plus his experience working with Rosenberg on helping to set up this major event.

Marvel.com: This project is unique in that it’s using each issue to introduce a new character for the Venomverse story by a different creative team. How does that experience differ than some of your other work?

Roland Boschi: At first I previewed a sample of the amazing Venomverse covers when Marvel hired me on X-23. Then you realize that you’re part of a big crossover. It’s totally thrilling!

Marvel.com: The Venom version of X-23 looks like just about the most dangerous character of all time! How was it coming up with that look?

Roland Boschi: I truly enjoyed the character of Laura in the movie “Logan” recently, how versatile she can be, from the silent young girl to the savage killer. Mix that with Venom’s symbiote and there is indeed a scary character! I try to show [Laura’s] face through the dark tendrils as much as I can, especially when her humanity speaks before she unleashes the symbiote!

Marvel.com: What are the key elements of X-23’s character that will remain even given her Venom-induced transformation?

Roland Boschi: She is constantly fighting the hunger of the symbiote and it looks like she finally almost handles it. The claws, high velocity, and healing factor of X-23 remain, plus the vicious Venom skills!

Marvel.com: Symbiotes have always been very striking visually as they seem like they’re always moving. Is that something you try to convey on the page?

Roland Boschi: Absolutely; make tendrils in motion and spread them all around the page as much as possible!

Marvel.com: How was it working with Matthew on this kick-off to a big event?

Roland Boschi: I haven’t had the chance to meet Matthew so far, but it’s a true honor to be working with him. The first reading of his script was immediately exciting with the action sequences and X-23 infected by the symbiote, but I enjoyed even more the second part, focused on teenagers, living their wild life and meeting Laura.

X-23 struggles with her symbiote in the pages of EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #1, out June 28 by Matthew Rosenberg and Roland Boschi!

Read More

Before it gets a new host in Mary Jane, review the symbiote selections!

On June 14, the Venom symbiote gets a brand new, untarnished host in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #8 written by Gerry Conway with art by Ryan Stegman. That’s right, responsible mom, loving wife, and trend setting fashion blogger and boutique owner Mary Jane Watson-Parker tackles a new challenge: showing that alien space suit who’s boss.

To see just where the bar is set let’s take a look back on past hosts…

Spider-Man: While fighting alongside his fellow heroes on Battleworld, Spidey went looking for a suit to replace his damaged one and instead accidently found the Venom symbiote. Peter Parker definitely remains the host that Venom loves to hate. The oldest pairing of the bunch, they have a bad relationship that just won’t end. After rejecting the alien entity, Spider-Man frequently finds himself either the target of Venom’s rage, or the eye of a desperate attempt to reclaim him. Hell hath no fury like a weird alien death suit scorned?

Deadpool: Fun fact for all you thinking it’s Spider-Man or nothing at all, Deadpool actually became the first human to bond with the symbiote. He also came across the alien while searching for a way to repair his outfit on Battleworld. However, in a somewhat ironic twist of fate, he immediately detached himself thinking he would corrupt the suit. Oh Wade, if only you knew… But after Spider-Man abandoned the little guy it sought out Deadpool once more and thus began Wade and Venom’s moral rollercoaster ride.

Eddie Brock: A Spider-Man-resenting news reporter who just so happens to come across our poor rejected alien symbiote after Deadpool sends it packing. Sensing his fixation on the Wall-Crawler, Venom merges with Eddie because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Eventually Eddie sells the symbiote to Angelo Fortunato’s father, Don.

Angelo Fortunato: With this host, for the first time we see the symbiote setting some standards for itself instead of getting kicked to the curb. After only a brief period bonded to Angelo, Venom finds him cowardly and unworthy and abandons him while jumping between buildings. Yes, that does mean he fell to his death. And yes, that’s probably a bit of an overreaction.

Mac Gargan: Venom choose to bond with the villain known as Scorpion and somewhere between the Sinister Twelve and a Thunderbolts team we find out that Mac had special implants to help control the symbiote. They evidently did not work considering by the end of his time with the suit he had some pretty strong “let me eat you” vibes going on, forcing the government to split the two.

Flash Thompson: The U.S. military’s brilliant attempt to weaponize the creature, known as Project Rebirth. Flash took a novel approach to controlling the suit: basically, this entailed getting it addicted to drugs so it couldn’t leave him and wouldn’t make him eat people. But over the course of their team-up Venom began to like the hero lifestyle so that’s still a win, right?

Ann Weying: Eddie Brock’s ex wife briefly bonded with the symbiote, becoming She-Venom on two occasions; once on Eddie’s request to save her from dying from a gunshot wound, and the second as a way to escape police custody. Poor little symbiote just wanted to be helpful but ended up turning her into a real man-eater causing a guilt ridden Anne to commit suicide after killing a couple thugs.

Otto Octavius (Peter Parker): Otto tricked our poor defenseless symbiote into bonding with him, thinking it a true return to his favorite host, Peter Parker; he of course became overwhelmingly violent until Mary Jane asked the Avengers for help. Flash Thompson coaxed his little buddy back to him and the symbiote ended up alerting him to something being off with the so-called “Superior” Spider-Man.

There have been many other brief hosts of Venom including: Patricia Robertson, Lee Price, Carol Danvers, Red Hulk, Gorilla, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, Mercurio, and Otto Octavius. As well as a few “What If?” story lines with The Punisher, Wolverine, Thor, Galactus, Black Bolt, and Captain America.

So with all the hosts before her there’s quite a bit of wiggle room for MJ. Even if she’s not in perfect control she really just has to avoid randomly killing or eating people and as far as history is concerned she’s right in that sweet spot.

Be sure to catch all the potential limb devouring in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #8, out June 14!

Read More

Tour the octet of hosts to the sometimes sinister symbiote!

Any career can lead to complicated partnerships and the supervillain game proves no exception. Take Venom for example. The Klyntar alien symbiote spent so much time with Spider-Man that, when the two split up—because the creature took Peter Parker on a few patrols while the hero slept—the ditched being felt more than slighted.

Since then, the Venom symbiote has bonded with a variety of characters, many of whom failed to control the creature’s more nefarious nature. With Lee Price becoming the latest cohort in the pages of VENOM by Mike Costa and Gerardo Sandoval, it’s the right time to look back at some of those less-than-successful partnerships!

1Deadpool
Hey, remember that time Deadpool snuck behind the scenes of Secret Wars, tried on what would be known as the Venom symbiote first and then had another run-in with it on Earth? Well, it’s true and can be seen in in the pages of DEADPOOL: BACK IN BLACK. In fact, some say that the reason for the symbiote’s instability could be because of Deadpool’s maddening influence over the creature.

2
Peter Parker
More readers will remember Peter Parker donning the black costume in 1984 between appearances in his own books and the seminal SECRET WARS #8. Instead of just changing looks, though, he soon realized that the black costume actually exhibited a hostile nature that seeped into his own consciousness. They eventually split, leading to an intense resentment from the suit towards its former companion.

3
Eddie Brock
In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #299, Eddie Brock revealed himself as Venom, kicking off the symbiote’s longest relationship to date. These two stayed together through a variety of Spider-Man stories plus plenty of limited series in the 90’s. In the next few decades the Brock-Venom combo accidentally created Carnage and played hero from time to time until, disillusioned with one another, Brock sold his longtime partner to Don Fortunato.

4
Angelo Fortunato
The shy, weak and bullied son of Mafioso big wig Don Fortunato, Angelo decided to bond with the symbiote that his pops just paid $100 million for in the pages of MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #7. Ultimately, this coupling didn’t work out when, disgusted by Angelo’s fears, Venom released his new partner while between buildings, letting the young man plummet to his death.

5Mac Gargan
In MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #9, the symbiote presented itself to Mac Gargan, also known as The Scorpion. As Venom, Gargan joined up with the Thunderbolts for a time under the watchful eye of leader Norman Osborn. Thanks to a chemical provided by Osborn, Gargan even took on a more humanoid look, to become the Dark Avengers’ Spider-Man during Dark Reign. However, he didn’t escape the Siege on Asgard and had the symbiote removed while in prison.

6Flash Thompson
With Venom removed from Gargan, it gave the government the opportunity to merge it with Flash Thompson, creating a super-soldier in the process. They also built in safety precautions like a 48-hour time limit and a kill switch if the alien took too much control. Agent Venom joined teams like the Secret Avengers, Red Hulk’s Thunderbolts, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and even the Space Knights. A trip to the symbiote home planet healed Venom and restored some mental stability, but the two split after returning to Earth for Civil War II, in a tale yet to be told!

7
Lee Price

Separated from Flash, the symbiote wandered looking for a new host in VENOM #1. He latched on to a homeless man who stumbled into a botched deal involving former Army Ranger Lee Price. The creature joined with Price and tried to convince him they could be heroes, but the man’s darker nature took over, negatively influencing Venom anew.

8
The She-Venoms
One of the sadder Venom hosts has to be Ann Weying, Eddie Brock’s ex-wife. In VENOM: SINNER TAKES ALL the symbiote bonded with her to save her life after Sin-Eater shot her. Once combined, they killed a group of people which sickened Ann. Brock sent the symbiote to do the same thing in the pages of VENOM: ALONG CAME A SPIDER. Later, in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19, Ann kills herself after seeing Spider-Man swinging around in a black costume. Another woman, Patricia Robertson, became known as She-Venom for a time, but that came as the result of her interactions with a Venom clone.

The continued evolution of the Lee Price-symbiote relationship will be chronicled by Mike Costa and  Gerardo Sandoval in VENOM #3 on February 22!

Read More

A surprising returns spawns over 25 special variant covers!

The month of March. Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming. And Venom is taking over!

That’s right, the sinister symbiote just made his big return in the pages of Mike Costa and Gerardo Sandoval’s hit VENOM series. But that was just the beginning! Marvel’s celebrating all things Venom in the month of March with a big issue and an even bigger variant program. It all kicks off with the can’t-miss VENOM #5, as the new host comes face-to-face with the symbiote’s greatest nemesis – the Amazing Spider-Man! Plus, a shocking return that will have fans everywhere talking!

“Mike and Gerardo have a lot up their sleeves and they’re just getting started,” says Associate Editor Devin Lewis. “Each issue ramps up the stakes, and March’s VENOM #5 is the biggest one yet. With a knock-down, drag-out fight with the one-and-only Spider-Man and a cliffhanger that’s definitely going to turn lots of heads.”

Then, witness the Avengers, Black Panther, Deadpool, the X-Men and more as they bond with the symbiote for a series of Venomized Variants coming to your favorite Marvel titles!

“One of the coolest things about Venom is getting to see the symbiote bond with other Marvel characters. Well, we’re taking that idea and dialing it up to 11 this March,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “Some of our top heroes are about to get a symbiote makeover, courtesy of the best artists in the business. Each of these mega-talented artists let their imaginations run wild, producing some truly fun (and frightening!) variant covers.”

Look for these Venomized Variants coming exclusively to comic shops throughout the month of March:

Venom is back and he’s badder than ever. Be there this March when VENOM #5 and the Venomized Variants take your local comic shop by storm!

Read More