Tag Archives: Eddie Brock

The Case of the Venomous Offspring (part 1)

RCO001_w_1463374424-1-1-1-1We’re gonna eat your brains! Sorry. But when it comes to the “Father of Symbiotes,” I feel almost giddy! Why, you ask? Simply put, this is my jam, baby! I mean, look at my pen-name, Symbifan. I like to think of myself as an authority on the subject of Venom and all of the other Marvel symbiotes. (God knows I’ve spent enough money on comics over the years!) All of that said, welcome back to the Unspoken Decade and boy, do I have a story for you! So, without further ado…….

rco005_1463374424-1We begin our tale in sunny San Francisco. (Venom had recently left New York as per his deal with the Amazing Spider-Man.) But not all of the city is bright and cheery. Like anywhere else, some of it is dark and dangerous. Down in one of those places, an alley to be exact, a local thief is angered that his mugging of a young woman has born little money. He threatens to take his payment in other ways. As he flashes a knife, he comments with glee how he loves seeing fear in his victim’s faces! That’s when he hears a monstrous voice from behind him agree! Venom attacks the thief with savagery and brutality! It takes no time at all before the criminal is pinned by his throat to a wall by the Lethal Protector! Voicing disgust, he sends tendrils of symbiotic goo down the man’s throat until his eyes roll back into his skull! Presumably dead, Venom drops the street filth and turns to the victim. The anti-hero picks up the fallen purse, apologizes for this whole ordeal, and pats her on top of her head before leaping away. The woman promptly screams and runs away in terror! (That’s some gratitude for ya! You try to help a girl out! I mean, he had a mohawk in the 90’s! He kind of deserved to die, right?)

rco007_1463374424-1-1Eddie Brock and his symbiotic other then make their way through the city, via webline. Once they’re sure they’re out of sight, the symbiote camouflages itself as street clothes and Eddie Brock emerges. He rounds the corner from the abandoned alleyway and joins the rest of the San Francisco populace. He enters a motel and inquires about a room, but it seems that he was sighted after all, as two police officers enter after him, guns drawn and ordering him to put his hands in the air! (And wave ’em like he just don’t care! Woot! Woot! Sorry, I’m in a mood while writing this. A mood….to DANCE!) Instinctively, the symbiote slithers up his hands and webbing fires from both of his fists! Webbing both weapons, he swings both officers into opposite walls, knocking them out! Now fully covered by his symbiote from head to toe, Venom politely cancels the aforementioned room. The terrified clerk shakingly complies.

Meanwhile, on the isle of Manhattan, Peter Parker goes about his work within the walls of the Daily Bugle newspaper office. It’s here that he learns of Venom’s run-in with the San Francisco Police Department. Thinking back, he remembers how the Venom symbiote was on Earth in the first place because of him. He also remembers how it was Eddie Brock’s hatred for him and his alter-ego that called the abandoned symbiote to him, thus creating Venom. He feels that everything that Venom has done or ever will do is his responsibility. (Talk about a martyr complex! Geez! Am I the only one who gets annoyed at how much we, the readers, are reminded of Uncle Ben’s words? Broken record much? Ugh!) That said, Spidey decides it’s time for a trip.

rco015_1463374424-1-1The next day, Eddie takes a stroll through a local park when he suddenly becomes aware that the local homeless are being harassed and beaten by well-dressed goons! (Well, they are dressed nice. But one does have a mohawk. What is it with that? Did thugs in the 90’s have a certain dress code they had to follow that encouraged these early 80’s punk hairstyles? Inquiring minds want to know!) Enraged, Brock demands that they leave the people alone. In reply, “Mr. Mohawk” pulls a handgun! This does him little good, as Venom crushes the weapon easily! He starts systematically fighting his way through the villains, but a red-clad boot comes seemingly from out of nowhere and slams into Venom’s back, knocking him flying! Spider-Man is here!

The two begin duking it out until Venom finally gets through to the wall-crawler that these aren’t police officers, as he suspected, but rather criminals that he’s fighting! Spidey wastes little time in joining Venom in battle when the men begin shooting! When the dust clears, Spider-Man finds himself alone. Venom is gone. Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location, a sinister man watches this all on the local news with keen interest. He lifts a phone and commands someone on the other end to assemble “your men.” (Hmm. Who is this mystery shady character? What is his agenda? Does he wear boxers or briefs? No? Not important? Okay, moving on….)

rco016_1463374424-1Where is Venom? He walks, as Eddie Brock, with the homeless people he has just saved. Where are they, you ask? Beneath San Francisco. In a hidden sanctuary within the sewers! They explain there is a whole secret society here and, if the council approves, he is welcome to live here. But before he can answer, huge mechanized suits of armor drill their way through a nearby tunnel wall! (Only in comics, ladies and gentlemen!) Brock shifts into Venom and stands in front of the crowd of innocents. The men within the armor waste no time and attack! Venom is lifted by powerful robotic arms and shot with lazers! Hating the heat, the symbiote fights back! The vigilante begins to win the day too until sonic weapons are used! Hating loud noise even more, Venom begins to weaken! (Hey! Superman’s weakness is a rock, okay! Don’t be so judgmental.)

The armored monster then raises two large fists above its head in unison and brings them crashing down on our hero! The force of the blow not only damages Venom but the ground beneath him! Both hero and villain crash through the floor and fall through to a hidden chamber! When both come to, they look in wonder as it appears that they have not only fallen through the ground, but back in time itself!?

rco023_1463374424-1To be continued…..

…..right now! Issue two begins with the armored villain and Venom continuing their brawl within the strange antique city. A second bad guy, a complete copy of the first, falls through the opening and comes to the aid of the other goon! The suspicious man from last issue, Treece, is mentioned to be their boss! Some of the villagers come to Venom’s rescue with weapons of their own. This angers the goons and they retaliate with lazer blasts, killing several of the people! Venom flies into a murderous frenzy, smashing the head of one and impaling the another through the chest! Soon, all that remains is smoke and death.

rco004-1It is later revealed that this part of the underground city is not accessed through time travel, but is rather a city from the past that fell during the big quake of 1906 and was paved over and forgotten. It was later discovered by a homeless man and has been a secret sanctuary for those less fortunate ever since. (Aww! No time warp? And I was all ready to dance in my Dr. Frank-N-Furter costume! Get it? You’re not “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fans?! This younger generation with its cell phones and video game consoles….sob….)

While this is going on, elsewhere in San Francisco, Spider-Man hacks a police computer database and finds the home address of Eddie Brock’s father! What’s he up to? Later, Eddie Brock is taken before the council. It takes little time for them to reach a decision. Their ruling? He cannot stay! Even though he saved several of their lives, they are afraid of him. Upset, he calls upon his symbiote and becomes Venom once again. Shooting webbing, he swings back up to the surface world. Meanwhile, Peter Parker knocks on the front door of the Brock residence. Asking about Eddie, he is answered by a door slammed in his face!

rco012-1-1Venom does some searching and soon finds the corporate headquarters of this Treece. Easily breaking in, he crawls along the ceiling, and while examining the building’s rooms he discovers a scale model of the park that he saved the homeless from earlier that day. The model depicts the park, only newly renovated as a gift to the city. This type of renovation would require all of the city’s “undesirables” to be removed from above and below! But before he can examine further, security guards burst in and open fire! (Damn! Look at all of that drool in the photo above! Talk about giving away your position! He’s gotta be leaving a huge slimey trail! Reminds me of a giant slug cosplaying as a ninja! HA! I amused myself!)

rco014-1They state aloud how they followed his drool trail to locate him. (Ha! Told you! And it’s not just because I’ve read this miniseries a million times. I’m just that smart.) Venom tells them, as they are doing the work of others, they may be innocents and are allowed to leave with their lives. They answer with even more gunfire! Venom falls! They foolishly approach, thinking their prey deceased. Venom then leaps to his feet, firing the bullets his “other” has just absorbed right back at them! Those who aren’t gunned down are beaten mercilessly by the Lethal Protector!

Meanwhile, Peter approaches Mr. Brock Sr., this time in his Spidey gear, through an open window. He demands to talk. As this is going on, Venom finishes with the guards and turns to leave through a window. He is then blasted out of the air by a group of heavily armored people! In front of them stands a mysterious blonde man! The man says, with a sinister smirk upon his face, that The Jury has come to destroy him!

To be continued…..

rco017-1Third issue. We begin where we left off. Only now, the armored men have attacked our hero! He is struck down by a sonic weapon, shocking the symbiote to its core! Eddie Brock manages to stumble across the right words and asks why he’s being attacked. The blonde man replies that he is Orwell Taylor, and that during one of Venom’s escapes from The Vault, a prison for supervillains, he had murdered this man’s son! He has since studied Venom thoroughly in order to take him down for good! He even assembled friends of his deceased son that either served as guards within The Vault as well, or with him in the military! He calls them The Jury! (Boy, this sure seems like a lengthy explanation since Venom is nowhere near death and quickly regenerating. I’m reminded of Disney’s “Incredibles” and the villain’s joke about “monologuing.”)

rco004_w_1463374524-1Venom uses this opportunity to lash out at his captors, his strength fully renewed! (See?! What did I say?!) He battles The Jury with great skill and quickly leaps to freedom! Meanwhile, Mr. Treece surveys the damage done to one of his offices by your friendly neighborhood symbiote. He is not pleased. He makes it clear to one of his cronies that Venom must not find out the true purpose of the park rejuvenation project.

rco012_1463374524-1At the home of Mr. Brock Sr., Spider-Man is told only that he cut ties with his son long ago and to leave immediately. (Nice guy, huh? Ah. Reminds me of my own dear papa. Maybe I should become a supervillain turned anti-hero. Now if I could just locate an alien symbiote….)  As Spidey turns to leave, he is approached by the housekeeper. She tells him that she wants to help.

Elsewhere in San Francisco, Venom is having a moral dilemma. He did kill the man’s son after all – isn’t he in the wrong? Is there no hope of his becoming a hero? Deep in thought, neither he nor his “other” sense the oncoming assault from The Jury! And attack they do! Well-coordinated and high-tech blast after blast either hit our hero dead on or miss him by a fraction, all along the length of Golden Gate Bridge! Two of The Jury members strike out at the same time, with their armored fists, sending Venom sailing through the air! Looking off the side of the bridge, they see no signs of him. Deciding to attack him further at a later time, they flee, leaving Venom clinging to the undercarriage of a car, camouflaged and relieved!

rco016_1463374524-1The housekeeper begins her tale of young Eddie Brock. She tells how Eddie’s father only loved one person in his life, Eddie’s mother. When she became pregnant, he was happy, until she died during childbirth. Raising the child alone and secretly blaming him for his mother’s death, the man became more and more bitter. Nothing the child could do, be it sports or schoolwork, pleased his father. When Eddie landed the job as a reporter and broke the story of his career, still nothing. When Eddie lost his job, after the story ended up being false, his father cut all ties. (Great guy! I wonder who gave him parenting advice, Charles Manson’s father?!) Spider-Man takes his leave as the old woman finishes. He wonders, is he actually not only getting to know his enemy better, but is he also beginning to understand him?

rco018_1463374524-1Venom detaches himself from the car, reverts to Eddie Brock mid leap, and lands on the sidewalk some distance away. As he walks incognito, he suddenly becomes aware that a metallic orb is hovering in the air behind him, following his every move! Before he can react, it drops to the ground beneath him and lets loose an intense sonic shriek! The loud sound starts to cause the symbiote to retreat away from its human host! (Have you ever found it amusing that when stuff like this happens, the human host has just enough symbiotic goo left to cover his or her naughty bits? Hey, if the rest of it retreats, where does it retreat to? I think a proctologist might be involved.)

rco019_1463374524-1A man boasts from behind that the orb was a sonic grenade, and then raises a rifle to finish the job. Venom tries to reason with the man, arguing that Eddie understands why The Jury is doing this, that the man he killed was a good man. But if he were to die, many good people would perish beneath the sewers. This makes the man hesitate. He does so long enough that Eddie can call the symbiote to cover him and then quickly reach out to crush the weapon! He then defends himself against an onslaught of blasts from the armored fists of one of the other Jury members! This battle doesn’t last long, though, as a missile explodes, knocking Venom’s foe unconscious! Looking up to the source of the projectile explosive, Venom sees a hovering helicopter! Someone is actually helping him!

rco021_w_1463374524-1A megaphone from within the copter announces that his savior offers him sanctuary and a proposition. Curious, Venom shoots up a webline and boards the craft. Once inside, he is met with a screen, on which is a black-haired man with a goatee. The Man introduces himself as Roland Treece, and he wants Venom to act as his head of security! Venom asks if this includes the park project. He is assured it does. Obviously smelling a trap, Venom agrees. (We all know that this is gonna go sideways for the V-Man, don’t we? The question is how.)

Our hero is taken to a secluded compound in the Mojave Desert. (Sounds bad already, huh? I’m guessing he’s gonna be forced into slave labor. A symbiote could make a lot of tennis shoes in an hour, after all!) Anyway, one of Treece’s men points Venom in the right direction, stating that the boss will meet him inside. Done playing games, Venom encircles the man’s throat with a symbiote tendril and forces him ahead as a hostage. It does him little good as the man breaks free when the walls surrounding them burst into flames!

rco023_1463374524-1-1A voice tells Venom that he can blame him for this predicament if he wishes. He introduces himself as Carlton Drake of the Life Foundation. He states that Treece, a board member of his, told him that Venom could possibly be of help to him. Venom roars that he would never help the likes of him! Drake replies that he isn’t interested in Venom….but his offspring!

To be continued….

This article is dedicated to my nephew, Blade Miller. He has grown up beyond even my greatest expectations and is a big Marvel symbiote fan as well. I love ya, kiddo, and I couldn’t be more proud of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Venom: The Madness – Eddie Brock Joins the Outer Church

“To get the facts, you need strong fingers on metal keys, paper white with honesty – and then you have to cut hard and deep to make the truth bleed ink.”

Eddie Brock, alien symbiote host who really loves his typewriter, from 1997’s Venom Minus 1.

Venom, perennial Gimmick Era favorite, had a tie-in to that month’s Flashback event because he was the star of a series of mini-series going back to Lethal Protector (my personal favorite). He was the hero of his own story and the main character in whatever temporary title the Spider-Office decided deserved an embossed cover that month.

In celebration of Madness Month, let us turn our attention to 1993’s Venom: The Madness, wherein we see that Tall, Dark, and Toothy did not merely adopt the dark, but was born in it, molded by it, and (I am fairly certain) has yet to see the light.

VENOM06
I would prefer reading Eddie Brock’s Twitter account to almost anything already announced for Convergence.

Eddie is an unreliable narrator. What else would you expect from a man who began his professional career as a journalist? He knows how to edit and what to present as fact. He is his own favorite storyteller. The quote above is from a scene that explains why he still used a typewriter. It tells you what it is he wants from the world. That purity, that honesty. For everything to be what it actually is and nothing else. This is a man who cannot help thinking violently, even about ink on a page. A man who does not want to become better because he believes it is the world that is at fault. What is there for an alien skinsuit not to love? Eddie was never going to be friends with Peter Parker. The Black Suit was merely the excuse. Together he and it are Venom, as in spider-venom (took me longer than I care to admit to piece that together).

Ann Nocenti scripted these three issues, though she was far from the only creator attempting to give Venom a voice in the early nineties. Between the complicated behind-the-scenes origin of the Black Suit itself and the overly complex way that Venom was so good at being a villain that he became a hero, this is a character who never had a stable life. Is it any wonder he would end up mad?

Even though Venom is a primarily toyetic property, I have a personal connection with him. My first comic was Amazing Spider-Man #346 by David Michelinie & Erik Larsen. My earliest memory of Spider-Man, who I have come to collect more than read (the only character I can say that about), is in the reflection of those otherwise blank, alien eyes. I thought of Venom as a hero for a new age. Spider-Man belonged to a previous era. A whiny throwback, similar to those guys at DC with the capes. Not Venom. Not Eddie! Then I read The Madness and watched him murder an elderly woman, who the author goes to lengths to show just how innocent she is.

VENOM07
The teeth constantly grow, phasing in and out from higher-dimensional space, the person they belong to merely forming around them.

Venom’s component parts felt slighted by Spider-Man, the mask, and Parker, the man. Everything that went wrong was conveniently the fault of that man, and so it must have made sense to hightail it across the country where no superheroes could bother you. What he finds is “The World Below” San Francisco, relic of the great earthquake from nearly a century before and haven for the disenfranchised. I assume that this originally meant the homeless and those wanting to live off the grid, but the fact that community activists and other sensible people feel welcomed among the crumbling ruins of a turn of the last century metropolis has me imagining it more as Portland of 2015 than the Morlock tunnels.

Our hero is coming to terms with himself and has even managed to have a love interest, as he becomes embroiled in a stock plot of corporate espionage and environmentally unfriendly shenanigans. This results in him contracting what is essentially super mercury poising and hearing a new voice. Referred to as “The Creep,” it is responsible for that wonky, multiple head thing you probably imagine when thinking Venom: The Madness. Never choosing between a singular or plural identity, the Creep takes Eddie’s mind out for a spin and finds that not only is it already a bit crowded but that he/they may not be the drunkest one at this particular party.

Some eras are best represented by cave painting, fresco, or relief. We have Flair ’94.
Some eras are best represented by cave painting, fresco, or relief. We have Flair ’94 Collectible Trading Cards.

Venom has the added bonus of being thrust into the literal Realm of Madness, presented as both the type of dark dimension that Marvel is lousy with, as well as merely a construct within his own mind. Is he actually fighting Dusk (unfortunately not the one from Slingers), a manic, supernatural entity or just his own “inner demons” as rendered by Kelley Jones’ claustrophobic, barely discernible art? Neither the character nor the reader is ever sure, but the former does not seem to care. Other superpeople make excuses for the things done under the influence of a foreign entity; Venom embraces it and never acts in a way other than how he chooses. Is this the will of the Creep, the Black Suit, or just Eddie Brock finding another way to justify getting what he wants? Does he even know what that is anymore?

It is an interesting reversal of the classic Black Suit story, present in comics and other media. Parker, iconic nebbish from Queens, gets tired of the world pushing him around (which it does mostly because he lies to everyone he cares about and is unable to meet any of his many commitments) and attracts the attention of some predatory alien entity. His anger gets the best of him, and he says and does a few regrettable things (that hair in Spider-Man 3) before throwing the entity back into the abyss. The wounded extraterrestrial animal finds solace in soon-to-be-mulleted ace reporter, Eddie Brock, who comes to love it and offer it a home within himself. He is empowered by that freedom and never turns back, unlike Spider-Man, who never referred to himself as “we.”

VENOM05
Inside the mind of Venom is a far more dangerous place than the cold, lonely world of several miles below early 90’s California.

Particularly surreal in the otherwise barren, underground cavern of the World Below are the trees. In the background of most panels are trees, leafless but seemingly alive, as evidenced by their size. Are they specially bred to live and thrive in a world without natural light and all but the deepest of underground wells? Is there a master botanist somewhere on the fringes of this society making sure everyone has air to breath? Someone is keeping this place running, though we are never shown who. The entire place has an odd mystery to it that promised to be far more interesting than whoever Venom was going to fight that issue. This could have been a new locale for the greater Marvel Universe. Maybe one of Confederates of the Curious retired here back in the day after helping with the earthquake.

Venom is at home in this Tim Burton-type of wonderland (lowercase “w”) with its beautiful old buildings, gnarly, unobstructed trees, and whimsical folk who, though homeless and destitute, are unfazed about asking a supervillain to help them out. These people have no hero, no champion. Why not Venom? They have already rejected the world they were born into; why not accept a similarly disenfranchised man to defend them, to be one of them? Taking the original, skewed narrative at face value, Eddie should welcome a release from Parker’s totalitarian impact in his life. Someone, somewhere, at some level of existence bought his sob story and gave him a genuine do-over. What does he do with it? This was 1993, what do you think he did with it?

He fought the Juggernaut.

There is no image of Cain Marko in this comic that anyone would be proud of so here is Jones' contribution to "The Multiversity."
There is no image of Cain Marko in this comic that anyone would be proud of so here is Jones’ contribution to “The Multiversity.”

You might remember the genre defining Roger Stern & John Romita, Jr. story where Spider-Man could not, under any circumstances, stop Juggy from doing whatever it was he wanted. The one that appears on all the Top Ten lists and, in two issues, tells the reader, new or old, all they need to know about Aunt May’s favorite nephew. Whatever it is that makes him unstoppable cannot hold up against having your name on the cover, and so Venom wipes the floor with him. This little X-Over may have been intended to cross-pollinate a few of the bigger books, and give Big Vee something to punch, but Nocenti still finds Juggernaut’s voice. This is him and here, among the mad, he apparently can be stopped.

Venom does not seem to mind the Creep, regardless of the fact that another character refers to it explicitly as a cancer, and in the end he just lets it go. If anyone we meet in this story is truly mad, there is no convincing Eddie it is him. Triumphant, the hero returns to his city, confident in the bedrock of his own mind despite all of the continually mounting evidence to the contrary.

Appearing as a shadow, interrupted only by the constantly shifting, endless row of teeth, Venom must be a comforting presence to the dwellers of this cavern home. The type of protector the disenfranchised expect because those that protect the World Above probably have little time for them. In this way, Venom has chosen to surround himself with those who have as unreliable a perspective as he does, those who assume and prescribe to their own views more than what actually occurs. Venom is at home with what someone not living underground would call madness. To Venom that is all there ever is.

"We accept [him]... one of us!"
“We accept [him]… one of us!”
Does the Black Suit feel the same way? Not to disparage the origins of the entity as already established, but I believe that it does not matter what happened to the Suit before it found its way into the Beyonder’s machine. For canon versus non-canon, I normally begin with this: what has survived through retelling? The Suit feeds on what a wearer feels. The stronger the impulses, the stronger the suit becomes. It learns, adapts, and is empathetic to its wearer. Venom does not trigger a Spider-Sense, is far more powerful that the Wallcrawler, and yet his only source of superpower is the Suit. What kind of state was it in when it met Eddie Brock in the first place?

The 80’s were a weird time. I do not remember much, but everything seems as if it was awful. Spider-Man wore the Black Suit (be it an alien symbiote or regular cloth costume) during some incredibly turbulent times in the character’s existence. I have always seen it as a mourning suit, the black shroud draped over a man who cannot help but lose people. It may have appeared too late to be a result of what happened with Gwen Stacy, but it still feels as if wearing it should tell the reader something other than that the artist cannot be bothered with Ditko’s Lines.

Spider-Man wore the Black Suit for Peter David’s first professional work, The Death of Jean DeWolff. This featured the Sin-Eater, a character whose reign of terror and subsequent capture were retconned into the origin of Eddie Brock. Less explicit to Venom is exactly what Peter Parker lost during that story. He was not yet married to Mary Jane. He watched as a good friend (who may have become something more), one of the few in law enforcement, is brutally murdered while the party responsible brings the whole episode to an even darker place. (The reveal is inconsequential if you have not read it, but if this would have been a spoiler then please go read it.)

If you have ever read "The Invisibles" you may recognize that as Barbelith.
If you have ever read “The Invisibles,” you may recognize Barbelith in the background.

Another notable episode is Jim Owsley’s Spider-Man vs. Wolverine. This a story filled with Cold War intrigue, piles of bodies, and the type of moral ambiguity that I do not know if Parker the character or Spider-Man the franchise was yet able to handle. Though the majority of that issue is spent in a knockoff version of the Red & Blues, it is the Black Suit that he wears at the beginning, and, if the climax is anything to go off of, what he returns to in the end.

These stories are the first instances of Parker’s identity being revealed to Daredevil and Wolverine respectively, setting the stage for the casual meet-ups of the 90s through today. Later on, when Spider-Man rids himself of the Suit, he could be attempting to free himself of all of this grief, anger, and misplaced trust. What if all of that pooled at the bottom of the proverbial basin, similar to blood, or, say, ink?

Eddie may be a sinkhole of desperation but Spidey could learn a thing or two about moving on.
Eddie may be a sinkhole of desperation, but Spidey could learn a thing or two about moving on.

The black ink that defines Venom. Those heavy shadows, those uncompromising depictions that have him ill-defined and almost part of the background. Venom is not only the arch-foe that Spider-Man needed in an era where Norman Osborn was dead and Doctor Octopus was not considered “bad ass” enough, but he is a literal reminder of what Spider-Man was put through. If the 80’s put the character into places where he had to confront the real world, then Venom is what happens when you want to tell those stories but need the conflict to be symbolic.

The Madness is not a story of personal growth. The time of the Black Suit had pain and readjustment that the Spider-Man franchise had to process. Venom is the result. Eddie’s madness is what happens when a fictional character tries to make sense of the real world. The moral ambiguities and unforgivable nonsense that people, not governed by seasoned creators, inflict on one another. Add to that the constant, market-driven demand to be the Next Big Thing, no matter what, and you have a concoction unlike any other. Forcing all of that into its own little box warps into the mess of drool, fangs, and heavy inks that I revered as a child.