No one expected Venom to become such a force of nature at Marvel. Yet, he defied all odds – and so did his offspring Carnage. Created by David Michelinie, Erik Larsen (co-creator of Cletus Kasady), and Mark Bagley, the character became one of the top villains in the comic book world as soon as he made his debut in 1992. Michelinie revealed that he pitched the idea of another symbiote to Marvel with the intention of making him different from Venom. "I intended to do this by introducing a similar but contrasting character with no sense of ethics or right or wrong at all – a sociopath. That became Carnage," Michelinie told Syfy Wire.
Interestingly, Michelinie's original plan was to off Eddie Brock in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 and allow the symbiote to bond to other hosts afterwards. Due to Venom's popularity, however, Marvel was having none of it; thus, the idea of Carnage was developed from there. Even though he's primarily considered a Spidey villain, there's no doubt that he's Venom's number one rogue and foil. It's a rivalry that's carried on for close to three decades and doesn't look set to end any time soon. There's so much to learn about Kasady and his symbiote, and that's why we're here to fill in the blanks.
20 BASED ON THE JOKER
It's easy to see why any reasonable person would peg Carnage as Marvel's version of the Joker. After all, they're both homicidal, crack one-liners while on violent sprees, and are about as bananas as two Toucans on a summer holiday. Their connection doesn't end there, though.
As revealed on the Image Comics message board, Erik Larsen designed Cletus Kasady to look more than a bit like the Joker. "He was inspired by the Joker. I basically drew the Joker and had him colored with regular skin and red hair," he said. So, it's perfectly acceptable to say that Kasady is the ginger version of the Clown Prince of Crime.
19 BONDED WITH THE SILVER SURFER
Much like bubblegum to a shoe, a symbiote will always stick to something it desires. In 1998, while the Silver Surfer was on Earth, Carnage abandoned his host, Cletus Kasady, in favor of Norrin Radd. As a result, he became the best named comic book character in history, under the moniker of Carnage Cosmic.
The reason for Carnage Cosmic is simple. Galactus had devoured one of the planets the symbiotes lived on and they ensured that this memory would live on for future races. Since Silver Surfer was Galactus' herald at the time, the symbiote recognized and latched onto him. Of course, it was temporary, but it was still a cool storyline.
18 CARNAGE WASN'T HIS ORIGINAL NAME
Thinking of the name Carnage, it literally describes everything that the character is about. In fact, you'd struggle to find a better or more apt name for him. It wasn't the first choice, however, as revealed by former Marvel Comics editor Danny Fingeroth to Syfy Wire.
Fingeroth explained that the creators considered several other names, including Chaos and Ravage, which were already utilized in other comics. "Eric Fein, an editor on the Spider-Man titles, was the one who came up with 'Carnage', and David and I liked it, so we went with it," Fingeroth said. We wonder if anyone considered Mr. Fluffypants as a viable alternative.
17 GREEN JELLY WROTE A SONG ABOUT HIM
In the early '90s, comedy rock band Green Jellÿ was at the peak of its success with the catchy hit single "Three Little Pigs". MTV, when it still played actual music videos, couldn't get enough of this outfit and played the video on an endless loop. As it turns out, Green Jellÿ was a fan of Carnage, even writing a tribute song, "Carnage Rules", for the album 333.
This wasn't the band's only run-in with the symbiote, though, as it was also responsible for the soundtrack of Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage video game. Oh, how we miss the days of Green Jellÿ being on the stereo!
16 BONDED WITH THE GREEN GOBLIN
What's scarier than Carnage, you may ask? How about Carnage bonded to the Green Goblin?! In the "Red Goblin" storyline, by Dan Slott, Stuart Immonen, and Humberto Ramos, Norman Osborn bonded with the Carnage symbiote to become Red Goblin. To make matters worse for the heroes, the symbiote got mixed with the Goblin formula, making it more powerful and nullifying its weaknesses.
It took a colossal effort from Spider-Man and his friends to put a stop to Red Goblin, and even so there were casualties. Though the character isn't a part of proceedings right now, we have a feeling that we might see him again down the line. It would be tragic if we didn't.
15 WOODY HARRELSON IS THE FIRST LIVE-ACTION CLETUS KASADY
We've seen six Spider-Man films in the past two decades. In hindsight, that's quite a lot for the Web-Crawler (plus, he also had his own live-action series in the '70s). In that time, we've seen numerous heroes and villains appear alongside Spidey – except for Carnage.
In fact, the actual Carnage symbiote hasn't appeared on the silver screen just yet, but Cletus Kasady made his debut in the mid-credits scene of Venom. Played by Woody Harrelson, who wears a majestic red wig in the scene, Kasady is interviewed by Eddie Brock and promises there will be "carnage" when he escapes from prison. Undoubtedly, everyone prays he'll be the main villain of Venom 2.
14 CLETUS KASADY WAS ALREADY A MANIAC
In several iterations of the symbiote stories, we've seen how the aliens accentuate their hosts' emotions. So, if you're a happy camper, you'll be a powerful do-gooder. If you're a bad guy, the symbiote will make you worse. The only one who seems to be immune to this is Cletus Kasady.
In many ways, Kasady and Carnage are soulmates because they didn't change each other. Kasady was already a maniac before he bonded with the symbiote, and it didn't change him for the better or worse, bar giving him some new superpowers to cause havoc. It's literally a match made in heaven hell as these two rascals complete each other.
13 THE SYMBIOTE PROTECTED CLETUS KASADY FROM CANCER
As parasitic as the relationship between the symbiote and its host is, you can't deny that you aren't curious about bonding with one of those little critters. While they protect you from the average everyday threat in the Marvel Universe, they're also capable of keeping you alive when dreaded diseases strike.
For Cletus Kasady, it was Carnage who prevented him from succumbing to his terminal stomach cancer. The only problem was when the symbiote decided to hitch a ride with the Silver Surfer and left him to deal with his issue. Thankfully for Kasady, the cancer hasn't been mentioned since, so it seems like he made a full recovery.
12 CARNAGE BROUGHT SPIDER-MAN AND VENOM TOGETHER
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? When it comes to Carnage, Venom and Spider-Man put all their differences aside and join forces to stop the evil symbiote. While Venom isn't exactly a saint, by any means, he's nowhere near as bad as his offspring.
As we saw in Maximum Carnage, it was the threat of the city being in peril that made Spidey and Venom realize Carnage was too powerful for them to stop him individually. Since then we've seen a similar trend as numerous villains and heroes have teamed up to stop the symbiote when he veers out of his lane and gets destructive.
11 HE TEAMED UP WITH THE CLOWN PRINCE OF CRIME
We've touched upon the point that Cletus Kasady was inspired by the Joker, but there was a time when the two actually met in the comic book world. It was a fan's dream come to life as the symbiote and Mr. J crossed over in Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds.
While you'd think they'd be instant BFFs, that wasn't the case here. Initially, they formed an alliance but their preferred methods of mayhem caused a disagreement between them. At the end of the day, it was this clash that actually resulted in their loss to Spidey and the Caped Crusader. Maybe likeminded individuals just can't get along in the comic books?
10 CLETUS KASADY IS HIS FIRST HOST
When it comes to the symbiotes, Marvel changes its canon whenever it feels like it. Right now, no one really knows what's the true story there, as every writer takes liberty with their history. In the case of Carnage, though, there's one acceptable premise: Cletus Kasady was his first host.
Since Venom gave birth to Carnage in a prison cell and the symbiote slithered across and bonded with Kasady, this means he's the first person to harbor Carnage. Much like the Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers' infamous song "Just the Two of Us", Carnage and Kasady are building castles in the sky as they became one.
9 HIS MOST FAMOUS STORYLINE BECAME A VIDEO GAME
In the mid '90s, Venom and Carnage were all the rage. They were incredibly popular and you saw every kid at the arcade proudly wearing a shirt depicting either of them. At the same time, a brand-new Spider-Man video game was released for the Sega Genesis and Super NES titled Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage.
It dazzled gamers as the first prints were sold in red-colored cartridges and featured music by Green Jellÿ. Additionally, the storyline closely followed the Maximum Carnage arc from the comic books, which is widely considered the best Carnage tale of all time. The villain promised to paint the town red and he duly delivered.
8 HE HATES DEADPOOL
While Deadpool is a likable character to the audience, it's easy to see why he might annoy everyone else. First of all, he never shuts up. Two, he seems to get out of every bind by sheer luck. And finally, he's actually more annoying than an edgelord after a movie trailer drops.
Now, you can add Carnage to the list of people who despise the Merc with the Mouth. Despite dismembering the motormouth, Deadpool survived Carnage's onslaught and bonded with four symbiotes. Then, he tricked Carnage into wounding his beloved Shriek. To top it off, Wade Wilson transferred the four symbiotes to a dog after he was finished with Carnage.
7 MENTIONED IN PROMO FOR AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
The Amazing Spider-Man film series is a peculiar case. While the movies never captured the imagination of the general audience, there was a lot of world building and potential for further flicks. Perhaps this was the series' biggest flaw as it tried to accelerate its universe too quickly.
One thing we know for sure is that Venom and Carnage were in Sony's plans. Carnage appeared as an antagonist in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game, but Cletus Kasady was also mentioned in a promotional blog post from the Daily Bugle, written by a certain Eddie Brock. Naturally, fans saw this as confirmation that Carnage was on the way.
6 BONDED WITH BIZARRO
In 1996 DC and Marvel made every fan's year by combining their characters into one comic book line. Amalgam Comics was born and gave rise to new heroes such as Dark Claw (Batman and Wolverine) and Super-Soldier (Superman and Captain America). The villains also received their own special treatment; though Carnage's merger was stranger – or should we say more bizarre? – than expected.
In the Amalgam Universe, Carnage was combined with Bizarro into the new creation Bizarnage. This rogue served as an adversary for Spider-Boy and only appeared in one issue. To be honest, it would've been more interesting if Carnage had amalgamated with a higher-profile villain than Bizarro.
5 HE WAS A PART OF THE SPIDER-MAN MUSICAL
Not many comic book villains can claim to have been on Broadway but Carnage can. He appeared in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, based on the book by Julie Taymor and Glen Berger (with revisions by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa), and music by U2's Bono and The Edge.
Carnage showed up as a member of the Sinister Six and brought a little more menace to the Web-Crawler's world. Of course, Spidey dispatched of him and the other villains in the play, as he sought his happily ever after with Mary Jane Watson. The production opened in June 2011, receiving mixed reviews, and was finally closed in January 2014.
4 ATTACKED A MAN FOR HAVING A FUNNY NAME
No one has ever said that Carnage is a rational being or someone who has a semblance of a plan. At times, his violent tendencies even lean towards the ridiculous, as poor Gunther Stein found out in The Amazing Spider-Man #360 (1992) by David Michelinie and Chris Marrinan.
In this issue, Carnage waits for Gunther at his home and then adds him to his ever-growing body count. His reason for it? He found Gunther's name in the phone book and thought it sounded funny. Not only did Gunter lose his life that day, but he also lost his dignity as Carnage made fun of him. Talk about being cruel!
3 SHRIEK IS HIS GAL
Much like the Joker and Harley Quinn's relationship, Carnage has his own special lady to accompany him on his homicidal drives. Since Maximum Carnage, we've seen Shriek at the side of Carnage more often than not. They're the Bonnie and Clyde of the Marvel Universe, as they lay waste to everything in their path.
While Carnage's co-creator David Michelinie believes the character to not care about anyone but himself, he seems to share a genuine fondness for Shriek. In fact, he was traumatized when Deadpool tricked him into wounding her and showed a form of remorse for his actions. Maybe Shriek is his soft spot.
2 TRIED TO OFF HIS OWN OFFSPRING
Carnage's co-creator David Michelinie stated that the character lacks any moral compass or integrity; in other words, he's a real chump and only serves his inner, dark desires. So, are you surprised that he isn't exactly father of the year material?
Even before Carnage "birthed" his bouncing baby boy, known as Toxin, he wasn't enamored with the prospects of being a daddy. You see, his biggest fear was that his son would be better and more powerful than him. The natal depression didn't go away when Toxin popped out; instead, Carnage decided it was a good time as any to put an end to his offspring. Thankfully, he was unsuccessful.
1 SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN: S3 ALMOST INCLUDED HIM
Spider-Man has been blessed with terrific animated series. No matter how many shows get released, each of them has had its own appeal and uniqueness. Still, there are many fans who are bitter that The Spectacular Spider-Man got canceled after two seasons because of a dispute between Disney and Sony over character rights.
While we saw a multitude of characters appear throughout the 26 episodes, Carnage was a notable absentee. It isn't like the showrunners were ignoring him, though, as he was planned to appear in the third season of the show. Fortunately, he's appeared on the small screen since then, so we shouldn't complain too much about this one.