For those of you who missed yesterday’s announcement the final book report on our last book is up over at The Clutter Reports. Now it’s time to move on to another book in my library.
You don’t have to be here long to know I love books and superheroes. I can read about superheroes in comics, watch them on TV, and play as them in video games. Novels are a territory there aren’t many superhero stories for since they dominate comics (at least culturally as the indie scene plays with other story types) but there are a few available. Most of them are of course based on the DC and Marvel characters. There might be a few original superhero novels but they’re even rarer to the point that I couldn’t tell you of any off-hand. In a previous Chapter By Chapter I looked at an adaptation of the Death and Return of Superman arc. This one isn’t going to be as huge because it’s an original story. Also it doesn’t involve DC heroes.
Yes, Marvel too put out novels. For example there was an X-Men crossover with Star Trek: The Next Generation that started in the comics and ended in a novel I don’t currently own. They’ve also produced a number of original novels over the years and I happen to have one. Only one mind you as the other four prose superhero stories I have come from DC and all but the “choose your own adventure” Superman story are adaptations of comic story arcs or the one movie novelization. The thing is I don’t remember reading this novel or if I got it from the comic store catalog I ordered my comics from or something I saw at a bookstore or book section of a regular store. The book came out in 1995 and if I’m not sure if I read it I definitely won’t remember how I got it. So let’s make sure I call this book read because our fifteenth book in the Chapter By Chapter review series is….
Spider-Man: Carnage In New York
by David Michelinie & Dean Wesley Smith
While Iron Man is my favorite Marvel hero until the comics ruined him, Spider-Man was my first exposure to the Marvel Universe. Between the cartoons–I grew up with reruns of the 60s cartoon as well as Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends airing on NBC Saturday mornings–the live action series–USA Network used to rerun it on Thanksgiving as “Spider-Mania” and yes I enjoyed it despite the translation errors and the limited effects of TV back then–so I always had a like of the character. His powers are cool and he was smart and funny when written correctly. I didn’t really get into the comics because as a whole the Marvel Universe isn’t my style but on TV he was really enjoyable. The back of the book sets up our story.
The Amazing Spider-Man must go head to head with his most dangerous enemy: the psychotic murderer known as Carnage! A vicious serial killer named Cletus Kasady has had his body chemistry altered by an alien creature. Now Kasady can transform himself into Carnage, who , along with his lethal living costume, lives for chaos and random acts of senseless, brutal murder! Carnage has been returned to New York in chains, the subject of a daring attempt to reverse the effects of his metamorphosis. When the interference of a deranged scientist causes the experiment to go horribly wrong, Carnage is set loose upon the city once again! It’s up to Spider-Man to stop his deadliest foe before he unleashes…Carnage in New York.
I’m guessing the book is based on the comics rather than the cartoon (I don’t recall if it was even up to the Carnage symbiote splitting from Venom yet when the novel came out) that was airing at the same time on Fox Kids. I also don’t know if it’s considered canon to the main Marvel universe, though a quick look at the Marvel Database fan wiki claims it at least is set in the regular universe (aka 616 of the Marvel multiverse). Published by Byron Preiss Multimedia, the fansite Spider-Fan says it’s a two-part arc that is followed by a book I don’t have. So we may be ending this one on a cliffhanger, folks.
About The Authors
David Michelinie is more known for his excellent run on Iron Man but as a co-creator of the symbiotes, who are about to become a lot more prominent thanks to the recent Venom movie (plus talk of a crossover with the Tom Holland version of Spider-Man from the MCU I don’t expect to see) and an upcoming event over at the current Marvel’s Spider-Man cartoon (I did not plan on this last part when I chose the next book but thank the Lord for coincidence). The symbiotes are about to become more familiar outside of comics. Michelinie co-created both Venom and Carnage specifically so I expect he probably knows the character better than anyone else.
A look at Micheline’s wiki page reveals no mention of novels, including this one, and I was only able to find one other novel with his name on it, an Avengers story from 1979, so I guess that may explain the back-up. Dean Wesley Smith has written many novels, including the sequel novel I mentioned earlier, a number of Star Trek novels (so we may see him again), and numerous original series and stories so he’s a good back-up for Michelinie.
Additionally, each chapter starts with a full-page piece of artwork, like a comic cover. The outside cover credits James W. Fry while the inside credit page also lists Keith Aiken as another artist. I don’t know who did what and I’ll try to scan it so you can see it but some of these mock covers…let’s just say they don’t do Mary Jane any favors. Otherwise they’re decent to good. Hopefully we can say the same about the book as next week we begin our chapter by chapter book review of Spider-Man: Carnage In New York!