"Maximum Carnage" are two words that cause a definite reaction in long-time comic book fans, either fond nostalgia or an unpleasant '90s flashback. Marvel announced a spiritual successor to the 1993 story, a Scarlet Spider/Venom team-up titled Minimum Carnage, Sunday afternoon during their Amazing Spider-Man panel at Comic-Con in San Diego. The story starts in October with Minimum Carnage Alpha (cover seen here), before crossing over into Scarlet Spider #10 and Venom #26, November's Scarlet Spider #11 and Venom #27, and wrapping up that month in Minimum Carnage Omega. Newsarama talked to the writers of the story — Scarlet Spider's Chris Yost and Venom's Cullen Bunn — to see what kind of gory trouble Cletus Kasaday is up to this time, and whether or not Scarlet Spider and Venom will fight before eventually teaming up (spoiler alert: they do).

Newsarama: Chris, Cullen, the two of you previously worked together, along with Matt Fraction, on both The Fearless and Battle Scars. How has the collaborative dynamic between the two of you evolved as we head towards Minimum Carnage?

Cullen Bunn: Every time I hear from Chris, he's making sweeping demands for more Scarlet Spider! It's very difficult to work with the man!

Scarlet Spider

#10 cover.

Actually, I think this is a pretty different situation than Fearless and Battle Scars. With those books, we discussed outlines early on, then we both took off and did our own thing. With this, it's even more collaborative because the story is more connected, weaving in and out of the main books we're working on.

Chris Yost: Every time I work with Cullen, I say to myself, "That was the last time I work with Cullen Bunn." Unfortunately, he now writes half the titles in the Marvel Universe, so I'm stuck.

Nrama: On the subject of dynamics, as the story picks up, what's the relationship between Venom and Scarlet Spider like?

Bunn: Let's face it. They clash straight away. I know, it's something of a cliché, but I think we've found a reason that not only makes sense, but it adds a really interesting dynamic to the characters going forward. I don't think these two will ever be playing beer pong together.

Yost: Embrace the cliché. Everyone's so aware of it now, it'd be cliché if we didn't do it. The other option was that we have them meet, and in a strange miscommunication, they make love.

Venom #26 cover.

Nrama: As the writers of Minimum Carnage, what are your own thoughts/memories/perspective on Maximum Carnage? (Bonus points if you ever played the video game with the Carnage-red cartridge.) And other than the title, does this story reference the original at all? Though Maximum Carnage didn't have Alpha and Omega issues, obviously using that convention feels like a reference to '90s Marvel.

Bunn: I was working in a comic book shop when Maximum Carnage came out, and I remember it just being insane, with dozens and dozens of guest stars. To this day, when someone mentions comics in the '90s, this is the first thing I think of.

That said, while the title is a nod to that event, Minimum Carnage has little connection to that story line. No Shriek. No Demogoblin. This is a new tale exploring new ground for all the characters.

Yost: I owned that game. There are times that I feel like everything I do is '90s related, but you know what? The '90s had great stuff. Horrifically bad stuff, too, but what decade doesn't? As long as I stay away from shoulder pads and two-ton guns, it's going to be okay. I take that back. the guns were cool, too. Suck it, every other decade.

I remember the guest stars. The factions. The insanity. Maximum Carnage was pretty sweet. Sal Buscema art, too.

Nrama: There's been some symbiote-switching lately — with Flash Thompson as Venom and Eddie Brock as Toxin, is the Carnage symbiote still inhabited by Cletus Kasaday?

Bunn: Cletus is still the symbiote. He's just starting to see things in a new light. And he's joining a group of new, murderous friends.


Yost: Murder, Inc. It becomes a rap battle. Carnage has been targeted because of his special affinity for, well, carnage. Someone wants to put him to good use.

Nrama: Maximum Carnage had a rather huge cast — other than Scarlet Spider and Venom, who else is getting involved in Minimum Carnage? Eddie Brock? Spider-Man? Demogoblin? (Oh wait, you already ruled out Demogoblin.)

Bunn: There are quite a few supporting characters in the story, some new, some existing. All of them will be somewhat unexpected. They aren't the typical characters you'd expect to join Venom or Scarlet Spider. In the end, though, this is very much the story of three players — Carnage, Venom, and Scarlet Spider. They won't be overshadowed by the supporting cast.

Yost: This story goes places people may not be expecting. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Mostly physically, though.

Nrama: To get more nuts-and-bolts, how did the breakdown go between you two? Writing your respective titles, than co-writing the Alpha and Omega issues?

Yost: We brainstorm and outline together. We write the Alpha and Omega issues together. With Venom and Scarlet Spider, we're writing our own stuff but keeping each other heavily involved so it all works well together.

Also, Chris likes to write about Scarlet Spider beating up Venom. And I like to write about Venom beating up Scarlet Spider.

Yost: I think it'll shake out fairly in the end. And in Scarlet Spider's favor. Writing Carnage is pretty fun, too.

The original.

Nrama: Carnage is an extremely polarizing villain, where he has incredibly devoted hardcore fans and detractors who think he's the epitome of '90s superhero excess. How do both of you view the character?

Bunn: I think Carnage should come across as one of the absolute most vile villains in the Marvel Universe. There's nothing he won't do. He's scary as hell to me.

Yost: Yeah. Agreed. If you get captured by Doctor Doom, you're in big trouble. If you get captured by Carnage, you're just dead, with the possible exception that he tortures you first.

Nrama: Scarlet Spider is still in its first year, and Cullen, you're still fairly new to writing Venom solo. How early into things was this story conceived?

Bunn: The initial idea started to form a while back. I was in early stages of co-writing the Savage Six arc with Rick Remender when the first email titled Minimum Carnage popped into my inbox.

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