That’s What I’m Talking About – Tom Brevoort on Continuity

In a recent Cup O’ Joe article in CBR, Marvel SVP of Publishing Tom Brevoort was questioned about Venom’s current MO, namely his desire to eat brains. I haven’t read most of Venom’s appearances. As I said in my review of Spider-Man #654.1, he’s just not my kind of character. I did however read his appearances in Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts. I believe that’s where the whole brain-eating thing started. But people can’t be satisfied with that. They worry about how this works. The focus on 23 years of serpentine continuity rather than telling a good story.

Venom and his ExceptionsThey want everyting to fit in it’s own little box. Brevoort’s answer hit a variety of topics from that specific question to editorial goofs. But there was one passage, regarding continuity that resonated with me.

In the course of telling stories month in and month out, I’m focused on what makes for the best story. I certainly don’t go out of my way to invalidate a story from 1994 or whatever, but if it’s a choice between three panels in a story from 1994 that’s not been reprinted and a great story for today, I’m going to opt for the great story today. And eventually at some point later I’ll try and find a way to reconcile the two. That’s how the Marvel Universe grows into the future. The history should not be handcuffs. The quip I use with creators and sometimes in the public is that the continuity is there to serve the stories. The stories are not there to serve the continuity. One is the cart and one is the horse, and we need to put the right one in front.”

I couldn’t agree more. As some comics series pass 600, 800, 900 issues, creators can’t be expected to know every appearance or detail. It’s about knowing what’s important to a universe and its characters and following that. Venom has evolved since first pushing Spider-Man in front of a train. The symbiote has evolved and hungers for brains. Let’s move on.

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