Behind the Symbiote: Zeb Wells on Venom: Dark Origins

Wells on Venom: Dark Origins

In August, Eddie Brock and his evil symbiote go back to basics with Marvel’s release of Venom: Dark Origins. Hot on the heels of the “New Ways to Die” storyline in Amazing Spider-Man, Dark Origins takes a look at Eddie Brock’s life before and after his fateful merger with the symbiotic alien suit Spider-Man acquired during the first Secret War. Writer and member of the Spidey Brain Trust, Zeb Wells, is joined by artist Angel Medina as they explore the murky past of one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes.

Newsarama sat down with Wells to talk about Eddie Brock’s connection with the evil symbiote and what to expect this fall in Venom: Dark Origins.

Newsarama: Zeb, Venom: Dark Origins will be telling the definitive origin of one of Spider-Man's deadliest enemies. How cut and dry is this origin story? What kinds of added dimensions can readers expect from a miniseries such as this?

Zeb Wells: I think Eddie Brock/Venom has one of the cleanest origins out there (once you get past explaining the mix up with an alien costume fabricator, of course.) The Black Costume and Eddie Brock both felt betrayed by Spider-Man (for dubious reasons) and found each other. Elegant, character motivated... great. So, for me, the fun is showing readers how each of them got to the point where a rejection turned them into a blood thirsty monster. So in a perfect world this mini will be 10% cut and dry, 90% added dimension. But that ratio can change when you get to a scene you know Angel Medina would just kill. I mean, you want to see how he’s going to show Eddie’s first bonding with the symbiote and give him the room to play.

NRAMA: The character has changed quite a bit in the past few years; will Dark Origins mark a status quo return for Venom? Or will that be happening elsewhere?

ZW: I’m writing this mini like all I’d known of Venom was from his appearances up to Amazing Spider-Man #300 (with a nod here and there to other Venom milestones,) so you could say this is a return to the status quo, but it doesn’t affect how the character has evolved in other books. Hopefully, it slots in nicely with Dan Slott and JR Jr.’s unbelievable kick ass “New Ways To Die” arc.

NRAMA: Will there be any other familiar faces in Venom: Dark Origins? Spider-Man will be there, naturally...who else?

ZW: We got some Sin Eater, Eddie’s Dad, Eddie’s wife, Mary Jane, the symbiote’s “family”... you heard me.

NRAMA: In your mind, what is the biggest hurdle to leap over when it comes to writing this character? Does the work of previous writers make this job more difficult or is that just part of the fun of taking the character forward?

ZW: I kind of love looking at strong origin stories and trying to fill in the blanks while being respectful to the canon. A lot of awesome origin tales have been told in a total of two comic book pages. It’s fun to get in there and flesh things out.

But it does get a little tricky when there are conflicting accounts of the origin story, which you have to expect when a character is around for 20 years. There was the suggestion in recent stories that the symbiote found Eddie Brock because he had cancer. The symbiote was attracted to the adrenaline his body was producing. I chose to stick with the original, character driven reason for their merger. It was too meaty to pass up.

NRAMA: When all is said and done--will Venom still be this embittered anti-hero style character? Or are readers getting back to basics with Venom starting with Dark Origins and his appearance in New Ways to Die in Amazing?

ZW: I can’t speak for Dan; but, by the nature of the series, I’m taking the character back to basics.

NRAMA: What do you think are some of the defining character traits of Eddie Brock? Is he merely misunderstood or is this guy truly a real S.O.B.?

ZW: Eddie Brock, pre-Venom, definitely has some problems. He’s so desperate for attention that he protects a serial killer for a good story. This is a sociopath. If I had to give him a defining characteristic, I’d say that he is desperate to be the “good guy,” the “hero,” but doesn’t have the strength of character to do it honestly. He cheats. Of course, post-Venom, his ample self-loathing is transferred to Spider-Man and this defines him.

NRAMA: From your past experiences with the character--even as a reader--what is the previous defining moment for Venom/ Eddie Brock? How do you plan to help the character grow past that?

ZW: His defining moment was not taking responsibility for the Sin-Eater debacle. Until he does, he cannot grow as a character. He’ll always hate Spider-Man for ruining his life.

NRAMA: What other projects do you have coming out in the near future?

ZW: I’m trying to make room in my schedule for more Spider-Man right now, and I’ll be pitching a bunch of stuff, but nothing concrete on the plate right now.

NRAMA: Do you think other characters from Spider-Man's rogue's gallery could benefit from something similar to Venom: Dark Origins?

ZW: Yeah, all those perfect Stan Lee/Steve Ditko origins are out there...perfectly told in one page, but containing enough depth to support a miniseries.

NRAMA: To get the speculation started; give something for Venom fans to think about until the release of the first issue of the series.

ZW: Eddie Brocks first date. You know you want to see it.

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