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.

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The Lethal Protector defends the multiverse in an all-new series this September!

The tendrils of the symbiote are about to ensnare the entire multiverse to combat an all-new foe that has Venom terrified for his very existence. This September, Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello craft the epic VENOMVERSE!

On a routine battle Venom finds himself transported to a far-off world and learns a terrible truth — a deadly new species has emerged from the vastness of space, and to make matters worse, they’re hunting Venoms! Trapped on the planet’s surface with a ragtag band of Venomized heroes, Eddie has no choice but to mount a counteroffensive and hope to find a way home!

What is the new apex predator species called the Poisons and what is their terrifying connection with the Venom symbiote?

The Poisons have now enacted a plan to consume and feed across universes and Venom is first on the menu. “When a Poison attacks a symbiote, they form an unstoppable one-sided union that the Venom wants no part of,” said series writer Bunn. “And in order to find as many suitable symbiotes as possible, they are making their way across the multiverse in a quest for insatiable power.”

Beginning this September, VENOMVERSE ensnares the entire Marvel Universe! And be sure to pick up the essential EDGE OF VENOMVERSE, a bombastic new six-issue series featuring your favorite characters and creators as they prepare for VENOMVERSE this September available wherever Marvel Comics are sold!

VENOMVERSE #1 (of 5)
Written by CULLEN BUNN
Penciled by IBAN COELLO
Cover by NICK BRADSHAW
Interlocking Variant Covers by CLAYTON CRAIN

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Yellowcard lead singer Ryan Key dives into the venomous event action!

A Venom comic written by Yellowcard frontman Ryan Key with art from Andrew Lima Araujo? Sounds like Marvel music to our ears! As we inch closer and closer to the major symbiote event of the summer, be sure to check out EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #4, an exciting story of fathers and sons—and T-Rexes—set after the events of the original “Old Man Logan” saga.

Before the sticky tendrils of the alien goo complete their takeover of the Marvel Universe, however, we had a chat with Key about his first-ever comic—childhood classroom doodles notwithstanding—writing an epilogue of sorts to a beloved story, and how this issue will directly set the stage for the summer’s Venomverse.

Marvel.com: We’ll be seeing some iconic X-Men characters in EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #4, which is set after the events of “Old Man Logan.” Can you talk a little bit about your approach to writing a follow-up to this classic story?

Ryan Key: At the start I was given basic instructions: “We need Old Man Logan to encounter the Venom T-Rex from the original story and end up in the symbiote suit somehow.” I was pretty much free to build the story around that. Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s original story left me with a lot of really cool toys to play with and I decided to pick up the thread not long after that. In the last scene of “Old Man Logan,” Logan is riding off into the sunset with the Hulk’s infant son, Banner Jr. strapped to his back. Even though he’d lost his whole family, Logan has so much hope in that moment. He’s going to raise this kid he’s adopted to be a hero—they’re gonna save the world together. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I can say, Logan’s past eventually catches up to him and it has huge consequences for him and Banner Jr.

Marvel.com: In a way, the Venomverse is the flip side of the popular Spider-Verse. What’s it like to explore this “dark side” of the Spider-Man universe that is now bleeding into the Marvel Universe at large?

Ryan Key: I was beyond excited when I found out I was going to get to work with Venom for my first ever attempt at writing a comic. I don’t know if you can count the comics I wrote and drew during class as a kid. Spider-Man was a huge part of my childhood and Venom has always been, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite villains in the Marvel Universe. I feel like Logan has always had a “dark side” himself and this version of him in his older age where he slips into this apathy we saw in the first [“Old Man Logan”], provided an opportunity to fuse him with the symbiote and awaken that rage we’ve always seen from him. Just the thought of Wolverine in a Venom suit was more than enough to get me on board for this!

Marvel.com: How does it feel to help set up this major summer event?

Ryan Key: I am so honored to have been asked to write this book. If you had told me 30 years ago when I was starting to get into comics that I would be writing my own for Marvel someday I don’t know that I could have even comprehended that! This has been such an amazing process. I have learned so much about how creating a book is done. I was definitely nervous at first, but as it all started to come together I was just too excited for words. It has been incredible.

Edge of Venomverse by Francesco Mattina

Marvel.com: How will your story specifically help set up the Venomverse?

Ryan Key: At a certain point a symbiote suited Logan gets pulled away from the adventure he’s on at the start of my story by some unknown force.  I can’t say where he goes, or why this happens, but readers will immediately see that there’s something much bigger going on—and it’s all connected to the symbiote!

Marvel.com: What are you most looking forward to with this issue?

Ryan Key: I am like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting to see the artwork for the first time. I am still sort of pinching myself to make sure this is all really happening! I am just so excited to see the words come to life through the art.

Marvel.com: As a musician, do you find anything similar between writing music and writings comics?

Ryan Key: I have always told stories in a lot of my lyrics so I think there is a loose connection there. However writing a script for a comic is definitely a new adventure. I really hope that people enjoy this story so that I might get the opportunity to write more in the future.

Marvel.com: What would you say is Venom’s and/or the Venom symbiote’s theme song?

Ryan Key: Without a doubt, “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and our social channels this week for more information about Venomverse!

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