Poison to both Peter and Spiderman: The case for Venom

Probably the most infamous of Spiderman’s foes, Venom has grown to become one of the most popular character’s from the Spiderman stories, sometimes even eclipsing the webhead himself at times. However, it’s this very popularity that’s caused the character to come under much scrutiny. Many of have criticized the 90’s stories he took part in. Some even go further then that. Many older fans proclaim Venom is a lame or boring villian.

Film critic, editorial writer and avid Spiderman fan Bob Chipman had this to say about Venom in his thoughts on Spiderman 3.

“ Okay I get there are people who see something in Venom that I just don’t but I still don’t there’s nothing interesting about him other then he looks like Spider-man”

As much as I love Bob Chipman’s thoughts, I respectfully disagree. In fact, Venom is one of the best villains in the Spider-man rogues gallery, easily rivaling the likes of the Goblin or Doctor Octupus. Venom as both the symbiote and the Eddie brock hybrid, represents addictions, toxic relationships, A inverse mirror to Peter’s ego, a twisted “familiar” mirror to his alter-ego and a threat dangerous to him physically, emotionally and far more spiritually then any other villian in his rogue’s gallery.

Let’s first start with what Venom represents in his most basic form: An addictive and toxic relationship. The symbiote at first provides Peter with things he seems to want such as success in crime-fighting and a confident backbone. However, slowly it becomes clear that this all comes at the cost of Peter’s personnal life and health. The symbiote wears him like a puppet and he starts to lose his identity to more aggressive behavior. Thankfully, he realizes what happens and rejects it.

However, what’s terrifying is that experience didn’t come without a twisted price. Later the Symbiote would become Venom and wreck havoc on Spider-man. What’s even creepier is that it resembless real world toxic relationships and how intimacy with a person can be used against you. The symbiote was able to get into his thoughts and feelings and is able to use that “quality time” against Peter. He knows Peter’s identity, loved ones and a number of personnal details. The connections gives the Symbiote a perverse obsessions with Peter too. In additions Peter’s spider-sense, a self-perserving force, is completely powerless against Venom. To put it simply, The familiarity the two of them had makes the confrontation far deadlier and dramatic. (Improve)

However, the interesting master-stroke in this equation is in in character Eddie Brock. Originally planned to be a woman who lost her child to Spider-man, Brock is instead a muscle-bound thug-like man who blames Spider-man for his personal losses in life. Unlike the symbiote, Brock knew nothing about Spider-man as a person. But, he knew he hated him, blaming the wall-crawler for his greatest failings. Spider-man becomes a symbol in his mind for everything that is wrong in his life.

While their alter-ego’s are similar Peter and Eddie are polar opposites from demeanor to physique. While Peter was a scrawny nerd, Eddie is a large Body builder the size of a tank. Where Peter is intelligent and Clever, Brock is foolish and in some cases foolhardy. Peter Parker is constantly thinking about others, While Brock only cares about his goals of vengeance and not the pain it will cause. While Peter complains about his experiences, he ultimately remembers he has responsibility in life, Brock constantly blames and scapegoats everything around him.

This adds a new dimension to the character. It makes him less of an evil clone and more of a de-construction of everything Peter is. He’s not Peter’s double, he’s Peter’s anti-self.

This is what makes him such a great villian. He is the un-maker of Peter Parker and he doesn’t have the distractions or the strange “honor code” other villians do. Take Green Goblin for example. In Green Goblin stories, While Goblin does know his secret identity and occasionally WILL strike at Peter’s loved ones (famously Gwen Stacy), There’s a perverse sense of limits due to the interconnected of Peter and Norman’s personnal lives being connected and Norman having his own distinct goals and convoluted master planner madness.

This is not the case with Venom. Venom Hates Spider-man in every way and will take him every moment he can, only holding off on killing him So Peter can suffer more. It’s so disturbing because it comes from a much more human place instead of “evil for the sake of evil” mad scientist behavior that many of Spider-man’s rogue gallery possesses. Instead, combines the disturbing intimacy of an abusive friend, family member or ex-lover with the prejudiced bigot who barely knows you but is willing to murder you because of what you represent to him.

In addition to all that, Venom is a terrifying physical threat for Peter. As pointed out, he’s not merely a clone of Spider-man, he’s Spider-man amplified. He’s stronger, hardier and even has more powerful webbing then Peter. That mixed with his spider-sense immunity, means Peter always has a large disadvantage and has to win via his wits. Venom is so dangerous, that he’s one of the few villian’s that Peter actively has PTSD fear or nightmares about.

In both Spider-man the animated series and Spectacular Spiderman, Peter has visions and dreams of Venom even after defeating him. Again, this further connects Venom and the symbiote stories with elements of Toxic relationships, abuse and being “used”. Peter is emotionally scarred by Venom himself and the physical and emotional torments directed towards Peter. These conflicts are exactly what makes him so valuable as a villian. he forces Peter to respect who he is rather then constantly feeling “guilty” for what he’s not. Excellent evidence for this is the end of the first Spectacular Spider-man season 1 Peter pours out a potion that would have removed his powers permanently. He affirms to himself “Spider-man is who I am” This is the conclusion of a subplot of the season of where Peter had been questioning whether to get rid of hi spowers or not.

In the end, Venom represents a Physical, emotional and spiritual threat to Spider-man that the rest of his rogues gallery can learn from. His alter-ego destroys the spirit of Peter-parker, He emotionally torments people as the symbiote and the terrifying venom and he’s never going to be a villian he can punch away like a street thug. However, because of all that, it’s such a powerful triumph when he wins.

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Spider-man and unrecognized care and talent.

So the Spider-man stories tend to focus on the torture of dual identity then many superhero mythos. Peter toils with the burden of both being a superhero with incredible talent but also one that has to constantly sacrifice these talents in his everyday life. His family, friends and even employers never get to see this noble side of him.

We may not have to conceal a superhero identity, but I think we all have private battles in are life and things that others don’t see. What’s even worse, these can be are very gifts. Mental illness and problems is a good example. Mental problems are not something that can be seen on the surface. Mental health or disability can not always be seen on the surface. When people look at you, it’s hard to imagine certain struggles. Someone with ADD might shock his peers when they do poor at school despite intelligence. A person with a chipper persona may shock his peers with the knowledge they have clinical depression.

Peers don’t always understand how tough it can be to keep healthy, to keep up the battle everyday. we all have private battles no one sees. Instead of Green Goblin, it’s a learning disorder, instead of the symbiote Venom, It’s PTSD and trauma.

There’s just going to be times where your great accomplishments are “hidden” from the world. With private battles you’re not always going to get the social acknowledgement and respect you deserve. Much of the Spider-man stories are about the injustices that Peter faces from bullies and a world that doesn’t appreciate his intelligence. It’s a major theme happening before Peter gets his spider powers.

Sometimes when you are alone in this world, you have to acknowledge the good you are and the good you’ve done. It’s not a matter of growing an ego, just self-gratitude so it’s easier to press on another day. As much As Peter may hate his dual-identity, he knows it’s a necessity and is doing some good. That’s why he never stops.

Nerd Passion: why I love Mad Science!

 

So I’m a big fan of the Mad scientist trope. Some of my favorite villains include Doctor Octupus, Lex luthor, Mister Sinister And Scarecrow. Hell, even some of the “good” mad scientists like Tony Stark and Donatello I really enjoy. There’s just some beautiful inventiveness to this Sci-fi archetype that I just love and as I learn about writing, I just love them even more!!!

I think one of the biggest reasons I like them is their inventiveness. There’s just a range to what they can do. They Can build a weather control device one week, Make a new supervillian (one that might end up as cool as the villian) itself the next week, make Robot dopplegangers of are heroes to cause chaos and then a new plot involving mind control to end the month! These guys lead to great writing potential and creativity. Hell, when they’re not doing the “i’m going to give the hero too much time” for something cliché, They can craft Anti-Deus Ex Machina’s. Plans and devices that save them or add as an unexpected threat to the hero as he finds victory.

There’s an episode of Justice League where the “King” of mad scientists Lex luthor makes a simple looking belt, that can instantly counter and reverse the superpowers of all the Supervillians in the “secret society” It’s a simple looking belt, barely noticeable and he’d have to know the intimate natures of his comrades powers to make something like that. This sounds like a ridiculous feat and yet I believe he did it!

In addition, as I learn more about writing and archetypal characters, I think i’ve discovered something really cool: They are Male patriarchal “old Hags”. In older stories and espicially fairytales, Old witch women were depicted as sowers of dischord and chaos. Sometimes, they were depicted as mentors or beings to consult, but in a lot of retold tales they are the monsters that bring curses and self-hatred.

However, in the age of sci-fi storytelling, these old women seem impractical. Instead, they seem to have been replaced by these egotistical men (mostly anyway) who think’s they can control the world with their “superior” reasoning and intellect. To them, their should be no limits to their experiments and human lives are just another frog to be dissected. Atleast with Witches most of the time it was simple human grudges, With these conceited scientist, they will claim it’s for a “higher” cause. As we learn most of the demonization of Witches was propaganda, I think these mad scientists are a good substitute for an age critical of patriarchal structure and rule.

Nerd Passion: Why Nerdy Wisdom?

So in an age where it seems like more and more people are neglecting history, news and science why is it important to critique art, culture and new media? This is a question I find myself asking often espicially as I gravitate towards making a career in art.

Well, a couple of reasons. One, pointing out meaning and purpose. With how popular philosophy like existentialism and nietzchean nihilism is, you’d think the world would be deprived of meaning. However, my experience is the opposite and are entertainment industry is the prime example. Despite thoughts to the contrary, are media is TEEMING with passion and meaning. In fact, I’d argue we go to it more for meaning and purpose then entertainment. Entertainment is defined as enjoyment and amusement. I didn’t watch Jessica Jones( A series about rape, psychological abuse and gaslighting) to be filled with “amusement and enjoyment” and I don’t think the creators do that either. The purpose of the series was to bring light to ugly relationships and manipulative behavior. Tons of media, has similar good intention either fueled by positive authorial intent or positive audience desire. As such, I think it’s important to understand that.

Two, is that in a world full of more and more media coming out and in addition, more negative criticism coming from these new art-forms, it’s easy to get swept up in the destructive elements of art while ignoring the Constructive elements of art. Now don’t get me wrong, no work of art is above criticism and I even have a few things to say on those things as well. However, I choose to focus on the positive and constructive elements of what most people take for granted. It’s simply not as common as it should be.

Third, we need to know that art is not just for entertainment. It appeals to are emotions, values, philosophies and minds. By knowing how they do that, I believe people will abandon their shame at consumption. The idea that we “escape” into art is sillier then it sounds. Much art is filled with violence, pain and misery. Even the most cheery stories have conflict as that’s arrives in the story. We don’t go too them for escape we go into them for emotional catharsis, mental guidance and many more wonderful things. Understanding that I believe will change the world, especially one that has so much art without the power to appreciate it.

Nerd Passion: 5 songs I’ve been into lately.

So I know this is a bit of a shock, but I really enjoy music! I’m not much of a musician or music theorist, but I do love a good song and this week I’ve been pondering what I like and possibly why I like it. It won’t be the most comprehensive list but considering it’s midterms I hope people will bear with me and enjoy.

 

5. Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

This song is well, Interesting. The hook is great and simple (and possibly referencing drug use), and the song itself seems to be about observing something “other” then physical reality as well as keeping your inner child (“Rhythm, you have it or you don’t. that’s a fallacy). A lot of the lyrics refer to percieving something beyond your physical senses (Yall can see me now cause you don’t see with your eye, you percieve with your mind!) and the fact that the rapper in the music video is a “spirit” is very telling. Overall, the song itself doesn’t sound to weird but the hook and the subject of the wrap remind you that there’s something deeper beyond it all.

 

4. Panic At The Disco – This is Gospel

 

Quite simply one of the best songs i’ve heard in a long time! Concept wise, it’s another “ode to the outcasts” song, but if you enjoy my blog you know that it’s not whether it’s been done before, but how it’s told differently. And MAN does it give a great spin on this concept. Beyond the singing and instrumental sounding absolutely amazing, the lyrics are just to die for. There’s alliteration, rhyme and a huge multi-syllabled vocabulary make it sound like a Shakespeare era sonnet. I don’t know what else to say, it’s just an amazing song.

3. Flobots – One love

No official music video here, but This is an amazing song, especially if you’re in a lonely place. It’s all about just remembering we don’t have to go through the trials of life completely alone and calling for the ever true concept of love. It must have been a great closing song for their performances back in the day.

2. Flobots – White flag Warriors

 

Very powerful song. this is obviously a very “politically” charged song. As the name implies, it’s a protest song against declaring war. Throughout it talks of how there’s better ways to get your “rage” out and that questioning war is not a cowardly thing. As they say, It’s love, not treason.

  1. Of Monsters And Men – Slow and steady

 

Just a nice song to listen to when you’re winding down physically or emotionally. I’d like to think everyone has those moments where you feel like you can do more but don’t where you feel like you just haven’t been given the opportunities in life. this song helps with those feelings (as well as winding down for bed.)

 

Hope you readers enjoy! more content soon.

Little Moments: Relationships and Web-comics

So it’s no secret that relationships haven’t always been depicted the best in a lot of popular media. Even in the most well written stories, their tends to be an idea that the “magic” of two characters in love will somehow be lost if they get together, or worse get married. The conquest of the chase is always more preferable to the end result, no matter how contrived the “chase” becomes.

This is why webcomics are so interesting. Many of them hinge on real life moments with the artist and their girlfriend/boyfriend. In these worlds, Relationship’s aren’t depicted as some second-guessing soap-opera. instead, they are depicted as a fun series of moments from people being silly and happy. It’s cute, it’s happy and best of all, it’s real.

kevin-bolk-comic-2.

A few notable examples include. Kevin Bolk’s “I’m my own mascot” series and Sarah Scribbles. I’m My own Mascot has depicted Kevin bolk and his misadventures with his girlfriend Sarah. He’s depicted everything from sarah’s “sacrifice” when moving to a new home to the wonders of Alliterating around a laddle to even depictions. There’s even a telling comic of them balancing each other out with Kevin frustrated at a computer and Sarah stopping him from making a “stupid decision”

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While Sara scribbles doesn’t depict anything that dramatic, it to has a number of “cute moments.” From showing off her new shaved legs or telling her boyfriend of 6 years to not peak when she changes. Again, the relationship is less some dramatic conquest and more of an experience.

It’s little moments like this that aren’t shown in most of the popular drama’s and soap-opera’s. It’s a shame, because these moments depicted aren’t just more realistic but more warm and happy. Web comics show how a relationship can be fun and have chemistry without conflict.

Check out the web-comics here!

Kevin Bolks “I’m My Own Mascot” www.mascotcomic.com

Sara Scribbles https://www.facebook.com/DoodleTimeSarah/

 

 

Deconstructing Shrek: how it struck a chord with people.

So it’s no secret that the film Shrek was a collosal hit, leading to three sequels and a massive following of merchandise, advertising and other media. What was it that struck that struck such a big chord with everyone? Well, I believe it was Supplanting old Fairytale perfection ideals, having a heart underneath all the satire and criticizing the imperfect, trying to turn the world “perfect”.

The film is very unapologetic about it’s “disrespect” for the sacredness of old fairytales, to the point where The opening features Shrek using a piece of a classic story as toilet paper. In another scene the Fairytale hero robin hood and his Merrymen are depicted as glory hounds.

In a world with stories that depict stereotypical attractive characters always having a victory and treating older stories as sacred, It can be very cathartic to see those old iconic characters and story notions pushed aside and satirized.

However, the film is not a “Don Quixote style” deconstruction of the notion of fairytale either. Underneath all the story is a story with a big heart. The main characters have their own charm, they care about each other and they are allowed to have happy endings. Despite their unorthodox appearances, they are allowed to live happily ever after. This makes the film still aesthetically pleasing when something more cynical wouldn’t.

Which leads me to another big theme in Shrek, the notion of hypocritical perfection. Lord Farquad (and the Fairy-Godmother in the later films) is trying to impose his own standard of beauty on the rest of the world. It’s the reason he banished the fairytale characters to the swamp to begin with. He does this despite he himself not fitting the standards of “a Prince Charming”. On top this, he is terribly vain and when he finds out Fiona’s Ogre appearance he vows to lock her back into the castle “For the rest of her days.”

This behavior, makes the ending so much more poignant. Shrek cares not about Fiona’s appearance. They don’t need to be living in a beautiful kingdom dotted on by forest animals, they just need to love each other. This is a great message for an age where we’ve focused so much more on the spectacle of fairytales and not the messages of them. The message of loving and accepting people for who they are, and a reminder you don’t have to be perfect to find happiness.

Ichigo Kurosaki and the art of the power fantasy

Anime is famous for having their leads do things a teenage boy would be envious of. Whether that’s be the center of every other’s ladies attraction or powering through loads of enemies, or dish out vigilante the goal of many Anime protagonists been to fulfill a fantasy. One of the most interesting in this category is Ichigo Kurosaki of Bleach. What makes Ichigo so interesting is that his very powers seem to appeal to the one-man army fantasy.

Now Ichigo doesn’t fulfill all the associations with the cliché. While attractive women are interested in him, there’s only two characters in the story show feelings. The rest are either friends or indifferent. In addition, Ichigo Does NOT always win or appear unstoppable. In the beginning of almost every major arc, he’s usually defeated in a brutal fashion. Sometimes the villians even torture him when he’s powerless. These moments remind you that he is human.

Nonetheless, Ichigo’s abilities all revolve around Amplifying his base strength. For example, Most Shinigami have abilities that do something specific. Captain Kyouraku’s has the power to play games, Hitsuguya’s turns into an ice dragons. Ichigo’s does a really simple energy blast. It has no style, but it does release his spirit energy.

Ichigo’s Bankai also doesn’t do anything fancy. The sword doesn’t turn into a monster and his surroundings don’t change. He simply gets a “boost” in speed and strength because his energy is internalized. This may not sound like much, but it fits into a power fantasy. He doesn’t beat his character with cleverness or gimmicks, he beats them with raw will power.

In fact, Ichigo’s powers are based around Will power. Whenever he’s in a dire predicament and Hollowfies, it tends to be when his mind is still focused on an intention of “winning”. His Hollow abilities also don’t seem to give him any new abilities, they simply increase his overall power.

Everyone wants to be like Ichigo, Everyone wants to be able to “power through” tough situations and come out on top. Everyone wants the agency to change the world around them, if only for a little bit.

The More things Change: Miss Martian and the “Loathly Lady”

So Young justice is a show about a lot of things. Growing up, learning your talents, helping out your fellow man. An in addition, it’s also a show about accepting yourself and others. One of the premeire story arcs for this show is the Tale of Miss Martian and her “White Martian” heritage.

 

Miss Martian is as her title implies, A Martian from Mars. She’s a shapeshifter and a resident telepath in the group. As the show progresses, it’s shown she hides a dark secret from her friends. She keeps herself in the form of a green skinned teenaged girl, when in reality she is a huge monstrous looking bi-pedal White Martian. She keeps this form seperate out of fear the people around will reject her, espicially her boyfriend Conner.

 

Now the interesting thing about this story, is that it’s a reversed Beauty and the Beast. Conner must learn to accept his girlfriend as she is, even in her monstrous form (which he does without avail). Interestingly, this story has been done before. In medieval European storytelling there was a trope called the Loathly lady. Beautiful women would appear as old hags by day or night and the curse could only be broken by a man giving them love and freedom.

 

The White Martian story is very similar. Conner is like a chivalrous knight, accepting his woman for who she is, not what she looks like. As such, he helps Miss Martian to greater heights of happiness and telepathic power.

 

This example, is a bit less verbatim, but I still think it shows how stories of accepting others negative aspects and understanding you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, have been around long before “progressive” television.