Jeff Bridges on his experiences as Obadiah Stane in 'Iron Man'

While falling down a YouTube recommendation rabbit hole, I managed to rediscover one of my favourite Jeff Bridges scenes of all time:

"Tony Stark Was Able To Build This In A Cave! With A Box Of Scraps!" - Iron Man (2008) 4K Ultra

But the experience of playing Obadiah Stane in Iron Man wasn’t plain sailing for Jeff Bridges as he discussed in a Variety interview in 2016:

“I like to be prepared,” Bridges said. “I like to know my lines.”

Bridges discussed the difficulties when filming “Iron Man” back in 2007, when the script was constantly being changed or altered. He detailed several of the setbacks the cast and crew faced after parts of the script were disavowed by Marvel.

“It turned out that many times — 10, 12, 15 times — we would show up for the days work, not knowing what we were gonna shoot,” Bridges said. “All the guys in the studio are sitting there tapping their foot, looking at their watch, and we’re sitting in my trailer trying to figure out my lines.”

However, it was also during this experience that Bridges learned not to take the process so seriously.

“I made a little adjustment in my head,” Bridges explained. “That adjustment was – Jeff, just relax, you are in a $200 million student film, have fun, just relax.”

I love that he called it a $200 million student film which I’m sure riled up some fans. MCU films are more polished these days (I hope) and—SPOILER ALERT—while Obadiah Stane died in that movie, he did make a cameo in Spider-Man: Far from Home which was just the above YouTube clip as a flashback.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Official Trailer)

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE - Official Trailer (HD)

This trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage dropped in May and while I’ve already watched it, I’m just getting around to posting it here because I got busy I guess. That said, watching it a second time has improved my opinion. I didn’t enjoy the first Venom movie all that much but I love Venom and Carnage so I’ll take any excuse to watch them in a film together.

Tom Hardy reprises his role as Eddie Brock/Venom alongside Woody Harrelson (Cletus Kasady/Carnage), Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, Stephen Graham as Detective Mulligan, Naomie Harris as Shriek, and Peggy Lu returns as Mrs. Chen.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is scheduled for release in the UK on 15th September, and then in the US on 24th September.

Looper ranks every Venom from worst to best

Venom is my favourite super villain (as you may or may not know). But everyday is a new opportunity to realise that there are a lot of different versions of the symbiote in the Marvel universe. In April, Michileen Martin compiled a list of the 12 best and worst Venoms.

In 1984, “Amazing Spider-Man” #252 hit the stands bearing a cover with a stark change: Instead of his trademark red and blue, Spider-Man’s costume is black and white. Inside the comic, fans learned the new costume responds to Peter Parker’s thoughts: It can disappear, transform itself into different clothing, and even store items like his wallet. Furthermore, Peter no longer needs to make web fluid, because the suit creates it all on its own. Neither Peter nor his fans knew at the time that one of Marvel’s most popular anti-heroes had just been born.

I’m happy to report—at least for my own ego—that I knew 7 of the 12 chosen, even if I don’t agree with the #1 choice.

Who’s your favourite Venom? Let me know in the comments!

Reagan Ray's Marvel superhero letterings

I love these Marvel 3D-letter designs by Reagan Ray which he explained in a recent post:

I just started getting into comic books for the first time a few years ago. My son was interested as well, so we started making regular trips to the comic book store (pre-covid, of course). We loved looking at the artwork and lettering of the older comics. And like most lettering, right around the late 90s, it all went to shit. The hand-lettering masterpieces were abandoned for fonts and photoshop effects. With that said, I limited this post to the pre-’00s. I wanted to do something more vintage, but there are just too many from the 80s and 90s that I love. My absolute favorite was seeing all the interpretations of 3D type.

They’re all amazing and I’d wear each and every one of them on a t-shirt.

The best Marvel gaming experiences online

The universes of DC and Marvel have become a cultural phenomenon’s in recent years, permeating cinema, gaming, pop culture and television.

Avengers: Endgame was one of the biggest movies of 2019, making $2.8bn (£2.1bn) at the box office. Unlike the title suggested, it was far from the actual end, with TV shows featuring the characters of the universe becoming popular and further films planned.

The DC Universe also boasts some blockbuster films, and with characters such as Batman and Superman, it has sustained mainstream popularity for many years. Whichever superhero universe you turn to for your enjoyment, you will find plenty of material to feed your hobby.

Films draw in the big money, TV shows deliver a longer, more involved experience, whilst gaming puts you in control of your favourite superheroes, living their lives through their powers. Gaming is big business – the world’s gamers will spend around $159.3bn (£119.6bn) in 2020, on new releases and digital-only games too, which makes it an obvious industry for Marvel and DC to explore.

Not all games that use the imagery and themes put you in control of the powers, but they do all give a fan some sort of experience they find enjoyable and, in many cases, social.

Marvel fans are certainly well catered for, with a wide range of online experiences available to fans of Iron Man, Hulk and the rest of the roster. We have selected three genres of online Marvel games which you can enjoy online right now and the best titles for each genre.

Mobile simulations

"Marvel Contest of Champions" - NYCC Trailer

Mobile gaming is on the rise, with technology allowing increasingly complex games to be played on the go. One of the best gamers have enjoyed in recent years is Marvel: Contest of Champions, a fighting game in the Street Fighter 2 mould. It boasts a huge array of playable characters, almost 200 across the different tiers and challenges. It is free to play and whilst it is the front-runner in Marvel mobile games, it is by no means alone in putting you in control of your favourite characters.

Slots & alternative genres

⭐️ NEW - Iron Man slot machine, feature

Some mobile experiences do not draw directly from the abilities and experiences of a superhero, rather they use their images to merge with another genre to gives fans an alternative option when gaming.

For instance, Marvel Puzzle Quest uses the characters in the context of a neat puzzle game, whilst Marvel Strike Force is a turn-based role-playing game. Deviating further from the core mechanics of a superhero game, online providers have also used the characters in online slots to open another avenue for Marvel fans.

Leading European gaming platform Tuxslots has several titles that are linked to the Marvel Universe, including Iron Man 3 and Incredible Hulk, which use popular characters in a completely different game genre. With variety for the customer often at the core of a successful provider, having a range of Marvel games is attractive to both parties.

Online console experiences

MARVEL AVENGERS - ONLINE MULTIPLAYER GAMEPLAY (2020)

The last quarter of 2020 saw the next generation of consoles released, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox S Series.

Both take gaming to the next level and it is only fitting that the ultimate Marvel experience is available through the powerful new technology. In the past, the likes of Spider-Man and Hulk had tested consoles capabilities, but the September release Marvel’s Avengers pushes the boundaries with four-play online cooperative play.

Online gaming can mean several things – gaming on the move, gaming for physical rewards and, of course, gaming with friends. Boasting a roster that includes Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow and Captain America, it is perhaps the ultimate online Marvel experience you can enjoy right now.

Marvel related: A Marvel Comics character database on Tableau and Tom Comitta’s parody essay about Marvel and Martin Scorsese.

A Venom/Eddie Brock sculpture timelapse video

A Venom/Eddie Brock sculpture timelapse video

We’ve featured Steven Richter in an article about his custom Jumanji board and here he is making a Venom/Eddie Brock sculpture.

Richter opted for the live-action Eddie Brock from 2018’s Venom rather than the Topher Grace rendition from Spider-Man 3 (and probably for the best). I particularly like this comment from the video:

Every sculpture starts off as a very rough Easter Island head.

But it doesn’t take long before Richter gets the face looking more realistic before he starts on the Venom half of his face. The symbiotic detailing is the real highlight of the sculpture. In fact, it was so good, he put it on his Etsy shop and it sold but you can request a custom sculpture if you want a Venom of your own.

For Venom-related objects that are in stock, check out these Venom socks.

Venom Sculpture Timelapse - Venom

Polygon's MCU Machete Order

Marvel Cinematic Universe

We’ve covered the Star Wars “Machete Order” and the X-Men Machete Order and now we have the MCU Machete Order. Well, not exactly.

Dave Gonzales wrote “The ultimate way to watch the Marvel movies” for Polygon, suggesting the “right” order to watch the MCU films, not in a “chronological marathon”, but for a “well-paced experience”. 14 days of the biggest film franchise in history? Sure, why not, and the order makes sense (especially now since Day 5 is called “Christmas Day”.)

You’ve probably seen many of the Marvel films before, either because you were on board since Iron Man in 2008 and have since gotten a steady stream of Marvel content keeping you up-to-date on the “in universe” events, or maybe you just like big action, blow-em-up-or-shrink-em-down movies, or you’re a fan of one or more A-list actors named Chris. But now, with all the movies now at our disposal for instant renting or streaming, we can experience the MCU in a pure way and at a more relaxed pace than those poor souls who attend in-theater MCU Marathons. A 23-movie arc should not be viewed in marathon fashion. This isn’t an Olympic event, it’s a road trip.

Of the 23 movies in the list, I’ve only seen 11 of them so I’ve got some catching up to do. And there’s some mild controversy over the first movie in the list not being Iron Man which is objectively fair—it did start everything off, after all. But everything else looks good. Well, not Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3—they sucked.

And for the future? We definitely need more black superheroes.

Marvel Comic Characters on Tableau

Marvel Comic Characters on Tableau

Thanks to my friend Soph for putting me onto this.

Pradeep Kumar G made a Tableau workbook using data on Marvel comic book characters:

Did you know that the first Marvel comic book was published in 1939 by Martin Goodman? Today, the number of Marvel comic books published is over 30,000. Check out this #IronQuest visualization by Pradeep Kumar G to learn about all of the “good” and “bad” characters that have appeared in Marvel comics over the years.

As Soph pointed out, only ~25% identified as female and ~6% agender, genderfluid (only 1 character) or unknown. There wasn’t any racial demographic data but I’m sure the disparity would have deepened further. For info on Black superheroes, check out my ongoing list.

Shuri as the new Black Panther?

Shuri from Black Panther

We Got This Covered is suggesting—based on intel from a credible source—that Shuri might be the next Black Panther.

There will likely be a delay to Black Panther 2‘s May 2022 release date as Boseman’s friends, peers and collaborators come to terms with his passing at the age of just 43, but we’ve now heard from our sources – the same ones that told us Ben Affleck would be returning as Batman in The Flash and that a She-Hulk show is coming to Disney Plus, both of which were correct – that Marvel still want to proceed with the second installment as a tribute to the leading man’s legacy, and the film will see Shuri become Wakanda’s permanent protector and assume the mantle. At least, that’s the plan right now.

This makes sense and it’s not the first time We Got This Covered has claimed Shuri will take T’Challa’s place. The clearest reason for this idea is based on the comics, where Shuri became Black Panther for the first time in the Dark Reign series from 2008.

That volume opened with Doctor Doom brutally attacking T’Challa after he refused to join Norman Osborn’s cabal. Barely alive, the king returned to Wakanda before his wife, Queen Ororo, took over leadership duties and immediately nominated Shuri to become the next Black Panther.

We’re all still grieving the loss of Chadwick Boseman and I’m not trying to think about Black Panther 2 or 3 (even though I’m writing about it) but this would be the best transition if it happened.

Black superheroes

5 Black superheroes

A few weeks ago, I sent the following tweet:

I left it open-ended as not to restrict the potential answers. The purpose of the tweet was to see which Black superheroes people knew without looking them up. Here are the results:

SuperheroCount
Black Panther17
Storm16
Luke Cage11
Spider-Man10
Static Shock9
Falcon8
Green Lantern7
Nick Fury6
War Machine6
Bishop6
Spawn6
Cyborg5
Mister Terrific4
Black Lightning4
Blade4
Ironheart3
Shuri3
Misty Knight3
Icon3
Bloodwynd2
Steel2
Batwing2
Catwoman2
Monica Rambeau2
Bumblebee2
Martian Manhunter2
Lightning2
Thunder2
Deadshot2
Human Torch2
Vixen2
John Diggle2
Okoye2
Starfire2
Black Vulcan1
Jakeem Thunder1
Rocket1
The Herald1
Forge1
Superman (Val-Zod)1
Apocalypse1
Pixie1
Rage1
The Signal1
Batman1
Goliath1
Amenadiel1
Blue Marvel1
Bat-son1
M’Baku1
Michonne1
Hardware1
Deathblow1
Battalion1
Killer Croc1
Sister Night1
Blood Syndicate*1
Max (from Batman Beyond)1
Bronze Tiger1
Lunella Lafayette1
Frozone1
Domino1
Butterfly1
Valkyrie1
Hancock1
Victor Stone1
Hawkgirl1
Firestorm1
Darwin1
Amanda Waller1
Dr Mid-Nite1
Dr Manhattan1
VooDoo1
Cloak1
W’Kabi1
Heimdall1
A-Train1

I will be updating this periodically if any new responses come in but, unsurprisingly, Black Panther came out on top (although he was neck-and-neck with Storm for most of the time).

For any of the pedants out there, some of these aren’t technically superheroes but I didn’t try to correct anyone because 1) my Black comic book knowledge is poor and 2) I wanted to see what people’s interpretation of Black superheroism was. Do you need to have superhuman powers to be a superhero? That’s a question for another day.

Grab a pair of Venom socks

venom socks

Does your sock drawer lack panache? Cachet? Any other superfluous French word to describe taste? Then you need a pair that stands outs amongst your black and white socks and, ironically, a pair of Venom socks has both with hints of blue, red, and pink.

Okay, cheesy sales pitch over. These Venom socks are cool AF and, according to the Amazon listing, doesn’t require batteries which is what you want in a pair of cotton socks. They’re also safer than wearing a symbiote suit and becoming a homicidal anti-heroish alien-human hybrid monster. But if you were one already, wouldn’t a cosy pair of socks be the best thing ever?

And if you don’t believe me, check out some of the reviews:

Great print, great quality. These socks are soft, warm, have cushion, and a great classic tv version of Venom from the 90’! They are a bit tight at the first and the second times, but become more comfortable over the time. After 3-4 uses, they are now perfect and so comfortable! Love the print, love the quality. Worth the price!

Super qualité!

I bought these for my 8 year old son and he loves them… I’m sure these where ment for a man but my son used them for crazy sock day and they fit comfortable

Buy a pair on Amazon today.

(h/t Steph)

Venom, the symbiotic supervillain – good or evil?

Venom

When it comes to supervillains, their evilness varies. Sometimes they come from the depths of Hell while others just want to have a laugh (like the Joker). They act as the literary opposites of their superhero counterparts in a semiotic relationship and no other villain personifies that trait than Venom, the alien inverse of Spider-Man.

Trigger warning: this article contains themes related to suicide and murder.

Who/what is Venom?

A picture of Venom terrorising Spider-Man

Venom is a sentient alien symbiote from the Marvel Universe and came out of a request from Marvel for readers to send ideas for its comics in 1982. A man named Randy Schueller answered the call and asked if Spider-Man could have “a new black costume made of unstable molecules”. A year later, and Schueller got his wish. From there the character developed from a black Spider-Man costume to a fully-fledged villain with an appetite for destruction and human heads (more on that later).

Venom was introduced as the Symbiote in The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984) but didn’t get its first official appearance as Venom until The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988). Before then, the Symbiote was a regenerative suit for Spider-Man. It was shapeless, genderless, and took the molecular form of a viscous liquid, but could also mimic plain clothes. But it had a sinister secret: it could only survive when bonded with a host.

Peter Parker had the symbiotic costume examined by Reed Richards and the secret was revealed. Peter rejected the bonding and the Fantastic Four contained it. But of course, the Symbiote escaped and bonded to Peter again. With its weakness to sound waves, Peter used church bells to expel it from his body. Eventually, it found its most infamous host, Eddie Brock, and became the villain we know as Venom.

Eddie Brock

The best-known Venom host has had multiple storylines but the most common backstory is that Brock was a Daily Globe reporter (where Peter Parker was the photographer) and blamed Spider-Man for his career failure. He had worked on a story about Sin-Eater and believed he’d revealed his identity only to discover he was wrong.

Brock took up bodybuilding and worked for sleazy tabloids before contemplating suicide. While seeking solace in the church where Spider-Man rejected the Symbiote, it bonded with Brock after sensing his hatred for the web-slinger. He chose the name “Venom” due to the nature of his work.

Other Venoms

Different versions of Venom

Eddie Brock is one of many Venoms in the Marvel Universe. Other hosts have included:

  • Mac Gargan as “Scorpion”
  • Flash Thompson as “Anti-Venom”
  • Lee Price as “Maniac”
  • Tel-Kar
  • Malekith
  • Ben Reilly as “Scarlet Spider”
  • Anne Weying as “She-Venom” (Eddie Brock’s ex-wife)
  • Patricia Robertson
  • Angelo Fortunato
  • Kulan Gath as “Kulan Venom”

The Symbiote’s backstory

Born in the 998th generation from a race of parasitic alien Symbiotes known as the Klyntar, the Venom Symbiote separated from its first host and was “deemed insane by its own race” after they found out it wanted to stay with its host rather than drain it of its life (heavily frowned upon in the alien Symbiote community). It was imprisoned on Battleworld to keep it from dirtying the gene pool.

Venom’s “relatives”

Venom’s family includes the following Symbiotes:

  • Carnage (the “child”)
  • Toxin (Carnage’s “child”, and therefore Venom’s “grandchild” so to speak)
  • Scorn (another Carnage spawn)
  • Mania (born from Venom’s tongue which got cut off in a battle with The Thing)
  • Anti-Venom (a hybrid of Venom and Flash Thompson’s white blood cells, fused together by Mister Negative)
  • Scream
  • Lasher
  • Phage
  • Agony
  • Riot
  • Hybrid (a combination of the previous 5)
  • Sleeper (born from one of Venom’s seeds)
She-Venom

Is Venom good or evil?

It’s a difficult question to answer outright as there’s a spectrum of good and evil but I can say Venom isn’t good. Venom’s existence relies on feeding off a host; it’s a monstrous leech capable of killing. But the Symbiote has shown moments where it has cared for its host. When Peter Parker rang the church bell to repel it, the Symbiote left his body and moved him to safety before finding someone else.

Venom has also shown anti-hero tendencies, predominately in film adaptations, likely in order for viewers to warm to the character. His notable roles as an anti-hero in the comics came in 1993 and 1994 when he made peace with Spider-Man who saved his ex-wife, Anne Weying, saving homeless people from the Symbiote spawns, and to help Spider-Man defeat Carnage in Separation Anxiety.

Venom in popular culture

Venom as a character has plenty of tropes in the comics but its biggest pop culture boon is in Hollywood. There are also a host of Venom toy lines, from Hasbro, Disney and Funko Pop!

Venom: The Movie

Let’s cut to the chase – Venom wasn’t great. It was Sony’s second stab at the character (this one played by Tom Hardy) and they blew it, even if they did finally execute that anti-hero arc. But we’re getting a sequel (delayed until 2021) and Carnage will feature, played by Woody Harrelson who is even more evil.

But Venom’s first live-action film appearance came in Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace. The film was widely panned and spelt the end of any further films in the series as it was later rebooted (twice).

Video games

Venom has been a character in the following video games:

Further resources

To watch

To read

What more can we expect from Venom?

From leeching alien to oddly loveable monster pet, Venom is a disparate future for Spider-Man in the movies, as long as Venom stays with Sony. But everywhere else, Venom is more than just Spidey’s adversary and there’s plenty of life left in the jet black symbiote.

Tom Comitta pens tongue-in-cheek rework of Martin Scorsese's Marvel essay

A shelf of books

Tom Comitta’s Airport Novella was a whimsical jab at trashy airport books. But for his recent essay, I Said Mainstream Novels Aren’t Literature. Let Me Explain., Comitta took on one of the greatest film directors in history.

Martin Scorsese wrote an essay for the New York Times entitled I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain. where he reminded readers that cinema was “an art form” and superhero movies took no risk to create. The piece was polarising, to say the least.

Comitta told me after reading the Marvel essay, he noticed parallels with the fiction world and decided to copy and adapt it with all the film references replaced with literature subtext. But during the copy and paste process, Comitta spotted all the online ad text that came with it. And he left it in.

“This piece is tongue-in-cheek in some ways, but it highlights a problem that I find pervasive in the publishing world: that less-mainstream forms and voices are largely ignored in the face of a risk-averse, highly consolidated and corporatized publishing industry.”

Tom Comitta

This kind of writing resonates with me as a sample-based music producer. It also highlights the current era of cookie-cutter entertainment, full of reboots, remakes, and formulaic art. Scorsese would likely agree with that. But I wouldn’t put comic book movies in that bracket.

Superhero stories are more than fantastical tales of people in skintight costumes saving the world. They come from myths and legends. Captain America was a “consciously political creation” according to co-creator Joe Simon. Some scholars claim that the Superman story contains Judeo-Christian themes. Batman was inspired by pulp fiction and other sleuths like Dick Tracy and Zorro.

Tom Comitta’s stance, of course, lies in the world of publishing and the mainstream engorging with money and space while riskier, more obscure forms of literature get left behind.

The POSCA Pen wizardry of Oskunk

oskunk

One of my favourite artists is Keith Haring. His ability to create art anywhere made his work accessible to anyone. It courted controversy within the art world when he was alive and that only enhanced his appeal to me.

Oskunk offers a similar approach to his art. Based in Paris, the French artist combines video games, Japanese manga, graffiti, and comics to create incredible typographical pieces.

He started out in 2007 after viewing a custom art exhibition and started out by customizing a NES. He uploaded the result online and requests came flooding in. Now, Oskunk prefers paintings using a “tag cloud” aesthetic with comic book style typographic mixed with art from his pool of pop culture inspiration. And he’s mean with a Posca pen too.

But talk is cheap in art. Let’s take a look at a few of Oskunk’s best works.

Customised Wario Gameboy

Customised Wario Gameboy

I’m a sucker for customised Gameboys (I’ve even made some myself). This was the first Oskunk custom design I saw and it’s glorious. He brightened up a beaten-up yellow Gameboy DMG with a cool Wario Posca pen design.

Undead Magneto Pop Figure

Undead Magneto

Oskunk transformed a plain pop figure into a bright but frightening undead zombie Magneto with the help of his black Posca marker and some brilliant paints. It certainly looks better than the newer X-Men movies.

Calavera Iron Man

Calavera Iron Man

This stunning render strips Iron Man down to a monochrome palette with a Mexican calavera design. Can you imagine Antonio Rígido (Tony Stark translated to Spanish) as a luchador?

Lindt Bunny Skeleton

Lindt Bunny Skeleton

Following on from the macabre theme is this quick custom job on a Lindt bunny. Ever wondered what a Lindt bunny skeleton would look like? Well, now you can. (No bunnies were harmed in the making of this piece and the chocolate bunny does not contain any bones.)

Thanos

This spectacular work uses just six Posca markers on black paper. Thanos’s rendered face is amazing in its use of negative space but the star of the show is the typographical gauntlet, made up of the Marvel heroes’ names.

Create your own art with these tools

Want to try your hand at making great art? These are some of the resources you might need (please note, these are Amazon affiliate links. For more information, please read our Disclaimer page):

Oskunk on the web

Instagram | Shop | Twitter | Website

The Machete Order for X-Men

Wolverine - The Machete Order for X-Men

You might have heard of the machete order for watching Star Wars movies. The idea is you watch the Star Wars movies in a certain order that makes more sense to the overall storyline and fills in knowledge gaps. Well, there’s now one for the X-Men movies. It’s a good idea on the surface since the X-Men franchise suffered from similar issues to Star Wars but on a wider scale. Lots of confusing plot lines, weak character development, unnecessary character development, way too many Wolverine movies.

James Nghiem put together his own machete order and the biggest positive that stands out for me is the omission of X-Men: Origins and The Wolverine. In fact, his order captures the true essence of the “machete” in that it cuts out a lot of the movies. The final order will be controversial to some fans but any change to the default will ruffle some feathers.

I’ll spoil the order but you’ll have to read his article on NonDoc to find out his reasoning. Do you agree with this order? Let us know in the comments and if not, what should it be instead?

James Nghiem’s Machete Order for Fox’s X-Men

  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men
  • X-2
  • Days of Future Past
  • Logan
LOGAN Official Trailer # 2 (2017) Wolverine, X-Men Movie HD