The original version of Carnage debuted in 1992's , and was the produce of serial killer Cletus Kasady bonding with a spawn of Venom's symbiote. He was already a murder, but that made him even worse, and led to some memorable Marvel killing sprees like the 14-part "Maximum Carnage."
That's not exactly suitable material for Disney XD's current animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, yet an altered version of the character is making its debut this Sunday, in an episode appropriately titled "Carnage." Supervising producer Cort Lane told Newsarama that the Ultimate Spider-Man creative team wasn't especially concerned with the character's origins when adapting him into the series.
"We felt like Carnage needed to be an extension of our Venom story, and so we very organically grew it out of that," Lane said. "Yes, the Carnage in the comics is not kid-appropriate. But we didn't really start from being worried about that portrayal. We knew that we had our own version of Venom, and that story is loosely based on the comic story by Brian Bendis, so we just grew it from there."
More than that, both Venom and Carnage have a strong appeal to kids, Lane said, which makes them natural choices to include in the series.
"Venom is a hugely popular villain among all kid superhero fans.," Lane said. "We get that information all the time. Both Venom and Carnage are incredibly cool visuals that play really well with kids today, just as they did when they were first introduced."
Of course, bringing Carnage to the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon came with some significant alterations, including tying the character's origin to not only Venom, but also Green Goblin.
"What really drives this episode is this very sort of tragic arc between Harry and Norman, and we do continue to play that out in this season," Lane said. "The creation of Carnage is just one step along that path."
Though Carnage may be one of the more notably adjusted characters in Ultimate Spider-Man — though the character design and powers remain very recognizable — every character undergoes some degree of alteration in an other media adaptation, especially a kid friendly-show like this. Lane said that the changes are usually motivated by a specific reason.
"When we adjust a character, it's usually so that it connects more directly or more emotionally with Peter Parker," Lane said. "When we do major tweaks to a villain, it's so that personal relationship or animosity comes from our story. So many of the classic villains are really fascinating, and interesting visuals, but their personal connections to Peter are maybe more distant than we need to tell a story in this animated series format. With Norman [Osborn], it's so easy. With a guy like Kraven, not as much."
"It varies from character to character," Lane continued. "In the case of Electro, there are many different options in relation to his look, and we're able to explore two approaches, and find a way to give Max Dillon and Spider-Man history, and a more compelling reason for Max to want revenge on Spider-Man."
Beyond this episode, Lane said there's consideration to Carnage returning, but nothing definitive yet. The producer said he's been very pleased with the reception the second season of Ultimate Spider-Man has gotten so far ("Carnage" is episode eight), and that coming up viewers will see Man-Wolf, K'un L'un, an episode where Spider-Man and his team get stuck in the "Mini-Spidey" format of the cutaways due to magic, and an "adventure featuring major Marvel space-faring characters" — which he declined to confirm were 2014 live-action movie stars the Guardians of the Galaxy.More from Newsarama:
- 10 Best Comic Book Animated Series of All Time
- Things Get Personal for ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN in Season 2
- Meet Marvel's New CLOAK & DAGGER!