In all their collective journeys, the Guardians of the Galaxy have visited just about every corner of the Marvel Universe, but beginning this November, they’ll land on a planet never glimpsed before in order to save a teammate.
Starting with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #21, writer Brian Michael Bendis welcomes artist Valerio Schiti onboard to explore the “Planet of the Symbiotes,” and go in-depth on the symbiotic costume that debuted 20 years ago during SECRET WARS.
“[This is], I think, our biggest, our most epic storyline,” suggests Bendis. “It’s an amazing storyline for Flash [Thompson aka Venom] because the symbiote means something different in the galaxy than it does on Earth. There [are] a lot of things he never even bothered asking about because how would you even know to ask. [I’m] very excited that we get to add such a major part of the Venom mythos to the story. It also lets us add a big puzzle piece chunk to the Marvel cosmic landscape. These are new players and new ideas.”
The genesis of “Planet of the Symbiotes” came even before Flash Thompson joined the Guardians and took shape once Bendis looked backward into Marvel history to find a significant gap.
“When we were planning the re-launch of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and I had the idea of including somebody from [Earth] on the team, I never in a million years thought I was going to get Iron Man, but [it was] fantastic,” he recalls. “But on the list of characters that were discussed and highly voted on was Venom. [Marvel Publisher Dan] Buckley and [Marvel Chief Creative Officer] Joe [Quesada] and many other people were like, ‘Oh you should do Venom.’ I could see the visual, but I didn’t have a story.
“I sat with it for a few months and I went, ‘Do we ever see the planet? Have we been to the planet where the symbiote came from?’ There’s been a planet where the symbiotes took over but it wasn’t the home planet. I called [Marvel Senior VP – Executive Editor] Tom [Brevoort] and I go, ‘Could it be even during the craziness of the 90’s when Marvel was shipping Venom comics ever five minutes we never got to this story?’ He goes, ‘Never been there.’ And I’m like, ‘Gotta do it then. That’s it. I’m in.’”
Valerio Schiti, who burst onto the Marvel scene with JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and most recently illustrated issues of NEW AVENGERS, had quickly become a major artistic force—not to mention one of the All-New Young Guns. Bendis relished the chance to work with this new talent.
“I did voice about a year ago that I didn’t want to steal him from anybody but if he becomes available, let me know,” says the writer of Schiti. “Not only is he a wonderful draftsman but there are certain things in the storytelling that is stuff that I really like. I had a feeling that we would make a nice team. He became available for this and I was like, ‘Please, yes, thank you.’ I’m very excited to work with him. This guy’s about to rock it.”
With Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” currently experiencing huge success on the big screen and giving the characters greater visibility than ever, it presents unique opportunities for the comic book to veer off in exciting directions available immediately to new and old readers alike.
“I’m excited to help as many new readers as we may be getting off of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and [offering] them something they may not be getting in the movies anytime soon,” relays Bendis. “People go, ‘What’s going on in the comics?’ and I go, ‘Venom.’ ‘What?! Show me!’ It’s exciting that we can offer storylines and team-ups you’re not going to get anywhere else but the comics.”
Follow the cosmic adventure in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY