‘Superior Carnage’: Kevin Shinick discusses renewing the monster

April 03, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
carnagetbd2013001col Superior Carnage: Kevin Shinick discusses renewing the monster

"Superior Carnage" No. 1, due in July, is by writer Kevin Shinick ("Avenging Spider-Man") and artist Stephen Segovia ("Thor," "X-treme X-Men"). This cover art is by Clayton Crain. (Marvel)

kevin shinick photo credit dana patrick Superior Carnage: Kevin Shinick discusses renewing the monster

Kevin Shinick, an Emmy-winning TV writer, is working with artist Stephen Segovia on the "Superior Carnage" miniseries for Marvel. (Dana Patrick)


One of the Marvel Universe’s most psychotic supervillains is coming back for a new reign of terror: The homicidal creature called Carnage will be loosed on the world in a new miniseries set to debut in July.

The five-issue “Superior Carnage,” written by Kevin Shinick (“Avenging Spider-Man”) with art by Stephen Segovia (“X-treme X-Men”), finds the nightmarish threat where he was left at the end of last year’s “Minimum Carnage” story line — incapacitated and in captivity. Cletus Kasady, the serial killer whose body hosts a vicious alien parasitic “symbiote” that transforms him into a super-strong, ravaging red terror of fangs and tendrils, is catatonic, and the creature in his blood has been sedated.

But as the new story begins, a certain other Marvel villain, one with a frightful intellect, wants to revive — and try to control — Carnage, who may be a superior killer now that the symbiote is in full control, its human host effectively lobotomized.

Shinick, an Emmy winner whose TV work includes running Cartoon Network’s “MAD” and writing and performing on “Robot Chicken,” is no stranger to Spider-titles or comics: He wrote and directed the 2002 stage show “Spider-Man Live!” and scripted a recent two-parter in “Avenging Spider-Man,” as well as a couple of Batman villain spotlight stories for DC. He spoke with Hero Complex about the horror and possible humor of “Superior Carnage.”

HC: If you could, set the scene for where Carnage is as this series beings.

KS: We’re picking up pretty much where we left off – Cletus is in an undisclosed location, in a prison, guarded, but he is catatonic. I’ve decided that, kind of like and inspired by the way the government and the Avengers have used Venom and turned him into Agent Venom, that the Wizard has gotten the idea that if he can harness Carnage and convert him into sort of an agent evil, that it would be even more wicked and more ridiculous than turning Venom into an agent. So it’s kind of like Frankenstein’s monster. He wants to harness this power, but use it for evil. The problem being, it is Carnage. And without even Cletus in there, we’re talking just pure symbiote and pure chaos. So the question is, can the Wizard contain this, or will it be like Frankenstein’s monster and will he suffer the consequences?

Kevin Shinick, an Emmy-winning TV writer, is working with artist Stephen Segovia on the "Superior Carnage" miniseries for Marvel. (Dana Patrick)

Kevin Shinick, an Emmy-winning TV writer, is working with artist Stephen Segovia on the “Superior Carnage” miniseries for Marvel. (Dana Patrick)

HC: What about Carnage and the Wizard in particular appeal to you?

KS: A couple things when I approached this. Coming from “Robot Chicken,” I’ve done “Avenging Spider-Man,” I always try to bring a little humor or a little lightness to the situation as well, but I try to ride that balance. And what I’ve tried to do here is, I’ve got two models – one which is just pure evil, which I think can be a really great almost horror story, especially now that Cletus is lobotomized. It’s almost like a scene out of Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” It’s just this creature that no one can really control, and yet they want to control it.  And yet I add into that someone who would be capable of doing that on an intelligence level and someone who is going to try and re-put-together this organization that he has and create maybe some sort of the Frightful Four, and he figures if he can do this, it’d be great. And I just find the Wizard great on many levels because he is a genius, but he also … he’s got this Frightful Four about 17 times [laughs], some incarnation of this always exists.  I just like this idea that he’s trying to make this connection with his clone / son, and he figures the best way to do that is to create this group that can really put him on top again and try and make his son proud.

HC: You mentioned putting some humor in. You write comedy for TV. Your recent two-parter for “Avenging Spider-Man” had rapid-fire jokes and pop-culture references, and even your Clayface one-shot from a couple years ago, though it was dark, had touches of humor. So where do you see room for some laughs in “Superior Carnage”?

KS: I’m not going the humorous route directly. I think this is a nice balance to what I’ve done in the past, because I think it can be very graphic and frightening. But I think any time anybody takes on more than they can chew there is room for humor. Just in the history of villains – I keep referring to Frankenstein – but it’s your perspective when you look at that of this guy who creates this monster and it turns on him. He gives life to it and then he can’t control it…. There is a little bit of humor in there, and if I can exploit some it, I will. But like I said, this is not necessarily a funny comic. I think everything I do will have a touch of humor, because that’s just where I come from.

HC: How has your collaboration with Stephen Segovia been?

KS: We’ve just started on it, but so far he’s been phenomenal. A super-talented guy. I loved his work on “Thor,” I loved his work on “X-Men,” and I’m really happy to be working with him…. One of the great things about this series and one of the things Stephen and I are both really excited for is since we’re creating this, the sky’s the limit. I said to Stephen, “Let’s come up with an image of this new Carnage, just the way that Flash Thompson has a new look as Agent Venom.” I said we can take that even further, and create this new look that Superior Carnage will have that I want to be so graphic and so distinct that it will strike fear into Agent Venom himself.

HC: What would you like readers to take away about yours and Stephen’s Carnage?

KS: Carnage has had an interesting history. He is very evil … I mean his name is Carnage. That’s his thing [laughs]. But I think Stephen and I are trying to add another layer to this, which is interesting because he’s already been stripped away a layer by taking out his humanity, by lobotomizing Cletus Kasady. I think we’d like the reader to look at this and take away the fact that we’ve started from scratch, in a sense, with a brand-new Carnage because he’s just the symbiote, and with a brand-new look. And I think if you think you know Carnage, and you think, “Oh, I’ve seen a Carnage before,” we want you to come to this because I guarantee it’s nothing like you’ve seen.

HC: What else would you like to do in comics?

KS: I’m new to this. I’ve been super-fortunate. My first foray into DC was Batman … and my first foray into Marvel was Spider-Man. So my bucket list is filled right there. But I love these worlds so much, and I love exploring not just the popular characters…. When I was doing “Avenging Spider-Man,” certain villains that I had planned on using were not available to me. So I started to have to dig deeper, and that’s where I came up with the Hypno-Hustler, and I think that just opened up a world of opportunities for me. And the same here. I almost prefer that, where you ask why the Wizard, I’m trying to give everybody their due. I like to kind of root around in the world and kind of lift up all the hidden areas and find some people we haven’t seen that often. And in a case where I’m working with someone we have seen often, like Carnage, I want to give them a look like you’ve never seen before…. So, to move forward from this? I can’t even think of it. I’m so immersed and so excited about this guy that I’m just focusing on this, but, you know, Avengers, X-Men, all those guys, I’d love to dabble in at some point.

— Blake Hennon

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex


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One Response to ‘Superior Carnage’: Kevin Shinick discusses renewing the monster

  1. Mike says:

    The best part of the Bendis Avengers relaunch was when the Sentry ripped Carnage in half. They should have left him dead. He's a ridiculous, shallow character who is derivative of Venom, another ridiculous character who should have been a one issue villain.

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