Cates Explains How American Soldiers Hunt Alien Horrors in Marvel's Ve'Nam

One thing I understand we'll see is how Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. influenced the Vietnam War in the Marvel U.

Yes, that's one of the things I really liked. We got to go back to '70s and '80s S.H.I.E.L.D. books and have this dichotomy at work of Jim Steranko style trippy, far out, super sexy spy stuff intercut with a more grounded approach, similar to The 'Nam. So there's blood, guts, and horror and the idea that while all that was going on Nick Fury was sipping a martini while engaging in Cold War style espionage. That's phenomenal.

You're working with Juanan Ramirez who Marvel fans probably know best from his work on the recent Secret Warriors series and the assists he provided on Uncanny Avengers.

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He's phenomenal. Right away, without us even having to tell him, he clued in on a big influence of the book. Because, let's just put all our cards on the table, it's a bunch of human soldiers in Vietnam going into the jungle looking for a bunch of monsters who can turn invisible and that are killing people. It's the film Predator. There’s a little bit more to it than that, but the horror adventure in a jungle environment is where this story lives. And Juan latched onto that right away.

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Web of Venom: Ve'Nam #1 by Juanan Ramirez

There's an opening beat before we get to our title page that for anybody who's read Marvel's The 'Nam comic will feel very familiar. Juan made some artistic choices that helped pull that off in a really great way.

The book is a lot of fun and there's a fine line when you do things like this because you want it to be important. You want to make something that empowers shops to say, “If you have Venom on you pull list you have to get this too because this is part of that overall story.” At the same time, you want to write the ongoing core Venom title in such a way that if you haven't read this one-shot you're going to be fine.

That's certainly true, but your reading experience will be greatly enriched. You will know things that no one else knows if you read Ve'Nam. This book and Venom fit together in a very tight package.

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