Published June 7, 2017

Edge of Venomverse: Enter Gwenpool

See what happens when Gwen gets a symbiote with this exclusive art and commentary!

Image for Edge of Venomverse: Enter Gwenpool

Symbiotes will continue sweeping the nation in the pages of EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #2! The July 12-hitting issue from Christopher Hastings and Irene Strychalski will shift focus from X-23 in the previous entry to another highly dangerous character: Gwenpool!

After meeting and joining forces with her Symbiote, the new entity dubbed “Venpool” will continue her wild adventures, this time stumbling upon something that will have huge repercussions moving forward into the event. We talked with Strychalski about designing Venpool, working with Hastings, and lending her skills to a big time comic book event. Your issue of EDGE OF VENOMVERSE focuses on Gwenpool. How was it integrating the symbiote elements with her existing look?

Irene Strychalski: Gwen has such an animated, over-the-top personality, that my first instinct when designing Venpool was definitely to exaggerate lots of body parts.

I mean, Venom already has some signature elements that are often exaggerated, like the freaky mouth and claws. But I gave Venpool these oversized claw-hands, big dinosaur legs, and a tail; because I felt like no matter how scary the symbiote was, it had to still look somewhat comical on her, and take on some of her traits. Luckily, the editors seemed to like that general direction.

I did have to make some edits, though, since the first draft leaned much more towards the Venom side, with the curly eyes and not much of Gwenpool’s signature cute pink. It started out as something much more sinister looking. [Editor] Devin [Lewis]’s feedback was to aim for a balance between the two characters. Which worked out for the better, of course, because I think a balance of both characters’ narrative tones is how this issue turned out: spontaneous and funny, but with horror slowly creeping in. One of the most fun aspects of Gwenpool is that she kind of sees the whole world she’s in as a comic book. How does that play into her view of being Venom-ized?

Irene Strychalski: Well, I think she jumps right into it and uses it to her full advantage! We don’t show her first meeting the symbiote. But I imagine it would not be a difficult adjustment, since she would know what Venom is all about. Both are rather indiscriminate about hurting people in this “fake comic world,” so they actually go together quite well. In a weird, they-are-both-totally-nuts way. What can you tell us about the kind of trouble Gwenpool gets into once she’s joined with the symbiote?

Irene Strychalski: I don’t know how much I can reveal. I think it would be fine to say that, since Gwen doesn’t normally have powers, being joined with the Venom symbiote gives her a lot of abilities that she didn’t have before; which all serves to make her even more brash and impulsive—because that’s totally what she needs. She develops a new crush and has a hard time convincing Venom that they shouldn’t kill everyone other than “The Cute Boy.” It’s teased that Gwenpool will come upon something that will be a huge factor in the upcoming event. What can you tell us about the design process for that particular item?

Irene Strychalski: If the something I’m thinking about is the same something that you’re talking about, that thing doesn’t come into play for this issue until the end. It makes quite an impression though. I got creeped out drawing it. It’s a very horror-inducing thing. But since it had a short appearance—and perhaps by it’s nature, too—I didn’t have to do much designing for it.

This is totally cryptic and confusing. But I’m sure the readers will understand once they read the book! The thing is scary. How was it working with Christopher on this lead-up to a big event?

Irene Strychalski: I had worked with Chris on a couple of issues of [UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL] before, so I knew I’d be getting a good story. Chris has a wonderful sense of humor and I think especially the way he writes comedy is very visual, so that helps me do my job down the line! [Laughs]

For this particular book I think the script came in after I finalized Venpool’s design, and Chris incorporated some stuff like her dino-tail into the action. Which was pretty cool.

EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #2 merges symbiote and Gwenpool thanks to Christopher Hastings and Irene Strychalski on July 12!