Jun 17, 2011

tom brevoort interview - carnage ongoing

Thoughts on a Carnage ongoing series
During his weekly interview with CBR, Marvel's Senior VP of Publishing - Tom Brevoort - was asked how Marvel decides on whether a series will be limited or ongoing, specifically Carnage.  Here's what he had to say:

Speaking of "Carnage," the next announcement of the week was "Carnage USA" which appears to be the continuation of the same team from the miniseries on that property. How do you decide when to make a series of miniseries as opposed to a regular ongoing? What's that approval process like?
Brevoort: That's a direct follow up to the "Carnage" series that just ended. It's another five-issue limited series that's much like the current book but with more guest stars and more craziness -- an even bigger and louder story from Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain.
Sometimes, we start something intending to be a five-issue thing, and when people seem to like it, we do more. Certainly Clayton is a big part of this book's success, and while Clayton has worked on monthly books in the past, it's not easy given the style of art he produces to do it month-in, month-out. It's also hard to find guys to do fill-in arcs that are in the range of his style. But even apart from that -- and maybe this is just me -- I think Carnage kind of loses his edge as a villain if he's in an ongoing series. Over the years, Venom has transitioned from being an out-and-out villain to an anti-hero or a heroic character -- particularly, in the new Rick Remender series where the Venom symbiote is bonded with Flash Thompson... a guy who's been at times a bullying jerk but who's also a heroic member of the outstanding Spidey cast. That's an instance where we took a character that was Spider-Man's greatest, deadliest foe and transitioned him into a more heroic character.
I think an ongoing Carnage series doesn't really have a lot of places to go due to the nature of that character. You can't have him being an unrepentant, abattoir-like killing machine each month. You're going to have to find a new, sympathetic dimension for him or soften him in a way that is not going to help the character long term. Some characters just should not have an ongoing book, and I think Carnage is one of them. That having been said, there are plenty of cool Carnage stories you can tell. If you tell them in the model of a succession of limited series, where you have a good, strong and new Carnage story with a different take on what he does or how he does it or some new insight as to how he affects the other heroes around him, then I think those are all legitimate. And if the second one does well, we'll likely decide, "Hey... we could do a third one of these."
And at a certain point, the discussion will wander around to "Should we do a Carnage ongoing?" and the question becomes "How would we do that?" How could we maintain all the things that make Carnage popular and without taking away or watering down all those nasty elements that make him a key member of Spidey's villains. Maybe if we get to that, we'll sit down with some creators to scratch at it and actually come up with something. I don't necessarily think we'll get to that point. I think Carnage is better used as a villain, and sparingly. But you never know. I might have said the same thing about Venom ten years ago, and we've got a "Venom" book right now that I think is pretty great. And I'm speaking as someone who, even when I was editing the "Venom" book, I was never the biggest Venom fan in the world. I understood why a lot of people liked him, but he never appealed to me. The current book appeals to me a lot more -- I really love it. Somehow Rick and Tony Moore and Dan Slott and that crew found a way to solve Venom as a series lead character -- keeping the character's edge and savagery and struggle that made him cool while leveraging that with a lead who is sympathetic and interesting and had conflicts different than Spider-Man.
So that's a real specific case, but Carnage in my opinion is not a character who benefits from having an ongoing series.
I have to agree. As much as I loved this mini series I don't think Carnage needs an ongoing title.  Don't get me wrong, he's an awesome villain and I think it would be great to have him in a new mini series each month (similar to what Venom had in the 90s), but I don't think an ongoing series would last.  I do hope they stay with Clayton Crain as the artist if they continue to publish limited Carnage issues.  What do you think - would you love a Carnage ongoing series?