Character Analysis

Venom Character Analysis

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Horrific, disgusting, monstrous, powerful, and incredibly dangerous. His name is Venom, and he is one of Spider-Man’s most fascinating enemies. Venom originally started out as a replacement costume idea for Spidey, but he soon developed into a living nightmare that would terrorized the web-slinger for decades.

Throughout the years, Venom has become a popular favorite among Spider-Man fanatics. And for good reason! The depth of this character is cavernous. He has everything that a great comic book villain needs: an awesome costume, incredible powers, and a really cool name. But he also has something more that I think sets him apart as an absolutely stunning character. Venom’s entire character is driven by a powerful yet hidden metaphor.

To me, Venom is the personification of addiction.

The story of Venom is the story of an addict succumbing to his darkest desires and then struggling against the evil that his addiction creates. Like a black ooze, addiction clings to its prey, slowly at first, until it completely consumes the victim. It is like a parasite that will not release its hold. Even if you do manage to struggle free from addiction, it will take a piece of who you are and who you could have been.

The parallels to Venom’s character are uncanny. He is the black ooze that clings to your flesh like a thick tar. And just like an addiction, he becomes your worst nightmare. Yourself, completely out of control.

It’s an interesting thought. Consider this, the villain that scares Spider-Man the most is an imprint of his former self. Venom doesn’t alert Spider-Man’s spider-sense. That fact alone is terrifying!  And the only explanation for this is Venom is a living part of Spider-Man, a dark part that serves as a constant memento to a time when Spider-Man was addicted to power.

With great power comes great responsibility. Venom is the result of Spider-Man’s addiction to great power.

 

All Things Considered

 

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Happy Father’s Day to any fathers out there, and welcome to a special Father’s Day edition of Cure For Kryptonite! In today’s post, I wanted to write about my dad’s favorite superhero: the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing.

If you ask the average comic book junkie who their favorite superhero is, you’ll probably get some long, drawn-out answer about how it’s impossible to judge different characters in different comic book universes. If you ask my dad, you’ll get a very different answer. How do I know? He gives the same answer to anyone who asks about his favorite superhero, and it goes something like this:

“My favorite hero has to be The Thing. He’s the reluctant hero. That which gives him his strength, also makes him ugly and alienates him from society.”

I’ve heard my dad say those words hundreds of times. And the more I think about it, the more I realize he’s right. The Thing is an interesting character with a deep personality.

In 1961, The Thing was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He made his first comic book appearance in Fantastic Four #1 that same year. Since then, The Thing has skyrocketed in popularity. He’s had a huge impact on everything from comic books to movies and video games. In fact, a new Fantastic Four reboot movie featuring The Thing is scheduled to be released in June 2015.

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But his popularity as a character isn’t what makes The Thing special, it’s the layers to his personality that set him apart. On the one hand, we have Ben Grimm the brawler from Yancy Street with some serious power. (And when I say serious, I mean serious. Sometimes people don’t give Thing enough credit, you’ve got to remember, he’s got enough strength to stand toe-to-toe with the Hulk.)

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However, there’s also a very different side to The Thing. Deep down, underneath his rocky exterior, he has the heart of a man. Thing wants nothing more than to be accepted by a society that sees him as an outcast. He craves acceptance so much that he would gladly give all of his strength just to be seen as normal.

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The tragedy of his character is that society doesn’t accept him. People tend to treat The Thing poorly, they stare at him and call him names. But when hordes of Doombots are attacking the city, he’s still the one they turn to. And regardless of everything society has done to him, The Thing doesn’t hesitate to stand up and protect the very same people that look at him with disgust. That’s powerful stuff… even for a comic book character.

So why does The Thing continue to fight for people that sometimes hate him? Easy, he has an unbreakable spirit. We can see another example of his unrelenting will in the iconic fight with Champion. For those of you who don’t know, Champion is an omnipotent character that satisfies his lust for fighting by traveling across the universe and challenging the heroes of a planet to a boxing match.

When Champion traveled to Earth, he went up against some heavy-hitters in the Marvel universe. Namely Thor, Hulk, Colossus and a few others. He was able to defeat/disqualify all of them with ease. Then, Champion came to his final opponent: The Thing. In my humble opinion, this was and always will be one of Thing’s shining moments in comic book history.

Champion hits him hard, and Thing goes down right off the bat.

Wow, maybe that wasn’t as epic as I remember. Oh, right, here’s the epic part!

 

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He get’s back up! Do you know what happens next? Champion knocks him down again… and again, and again, and again. But each time he gets knocked back on his rocky butt, Thing gets back up. After two rounds, Thing’s jaw is broken and he’s crawling across the ring. And yet he continues to fight…

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At this point, Champion realizes that he’ll never beat The Thing without killing him. He yields the fight, remarking that he might break The Thing’s body, but he could never break his spirit.

Well, there you have it folks, a brief analysis of my dad’s favorite superhero. What do you think about The Thing? Let me know in the comments section below! Oh yeah, and one more thing….

IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!!!

Decoding Calendar Man

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Friday the 13th. This superstitious holiday also happens to fall on a full moon. That’s double the superstition, and that would make this particular day doubly appealing to one of Batman’s lesser-known villains, Calendar Man.

Julian Day, aka Calendar Man, is one of the most misunderstood villains in the Batman universe. He is a criminal who is obsessed with dates and holidays. His crimes usually occur on holidays and have a relationship to the date they are committed.

Often times, Calendar Man gets overshadowed by the abundance of Batman’s really cool villains. Between the Joker, Two Face, Scarecrow, and countless others, there’s a lot of competition for a super villain to break through in Gotham. That’s why Calendar Man is not very popular, which is a shame because he’s can be an interesting character.

The problem is, he can also be a very stupid character. Some comic book fans don’t like Calendar Man because of his occasional flamboyant costumes and lame holiday puns.

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…Yeah. I’ll admit, the costumes are lame. But! I still think that Calendar Man has his moments. For example, The Long Halloween is one of my favorite Batman books. It features Calendar Man as a Hannibal Lecter-type character offering advice. He was cool in that book, which shows his potential as a villain. If the comic book writers would just portray him as the sinister intellectual type all the time, he could be a great addition to the DC Universe.
Happy Friday the 13th, Julian! Long live Calendar Man.
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What do you think about Calendar Man? Let me know in the comments section!