By Rick Laprade
With the world constantly at risk of being destroyed by one villain or another, the term “slow news day,” doesn’t exist in the Marvel Universe.
Anderson Cooper showing up in the pages of BLACK WIDOW may be pretty darned monumental, but the media’s involvement in the lives of Marvel heroes and villains didn’t just start. In a universe chock full of danger and extraordinary individuals, it’s only natural that the press would be there to fill in the huddled masses—and get themselves involved in the process.
Let’s examine a few notable newsies who have made a mark in the Marvel Universe.
Frederick Foswell (Big Man)
First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #10
We fully embrace the fact that sometimes reporters have to do a little undercover work in order to break a story. In Foswell’s case, his undercover work was being a reporter.
Assigned to cover Spider-Man’s antics at the “Daily Bugle”—because that’s kind of what you do when you work for J. Jonah Jameson—Foswell led a secret, more in-your-face life as criminal mastermind Big Man. His cover got blown after some sloppy mishaps and he’d be sent up the river for his schemes of trying to usurp Kingpin as crime boss numero uno.
Upon being released, Foswell somehow got his job back as a reporter. Seeing as how “reporting the news” went hand-in-hand with “leading a double life as a prime time criminal,” Foswell created the identity of Patch, an underworld informant, and kept the illegal party rolling.
Lester Verde (Dr. Bong)
First Appearance: HOWARD THE DUCK (1976) #15
The man formerly known as Lester Verde made his mark as a tabloid journalist extraordinaire. Bullied as a child and finding his voice through the written word, Verde swiftly went from sleazy reporter and rock music critic to genetic engineering mastermind—and eventual psychiatrist to Deadpool—Dr. Bong.
Bong proved a proverbial thorn in the side of Howard the Duck, the Secret Avengers, and She-Hulk, but information about his villainous, meteoric rise from journalist to castle owner and sonic weapons powerhouse remains mostly unknown.
Seriously, where did this guy get that castle?
Ethan Edwards (Virtue)
First Appearance: MARVEL KNIGHTS: SPIDER-MAN #13
Star reporter for the “Daily Bugle”—and an orphaned Skrull—Ethan Edwards does not fit the bill of “mild-mannered.” With amazing abilities that include shape shifting, super strength, and a keen eye for journalism, Edwards crafted the identity of Virtue to better mankind.
His secret wouldn’t remain very secretive for long, and it proved only a matter of time before the storyteller would become the hottest story in town. Edwards later took his talents abroad to heal the less fortunate. He’d return and join Wonder Man’s anti-Avengers task force, the Revengers, but his legacy as a crack pundit would always remain intact.
Eddie Brock (Venom/Toxin)
First Appearance: WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #18
A “Daily Globe” journalist with impeccable timing and tenacity to boot, Edward Brock quickly became a royal pain in Peter Parker’s life—in more ways than one.
Brock started on top and would bust open breaking news stories such as the human testing scandal at Devlin-MacGregor Pharmaceuticals. From there, he become entangled in the case of the Sin-Eater crimes and achieved near stardom for his expose. Unfortunately, the facts Brock uncovered turned out to be a bunch of malarkey and misinformation, and Spider-Man—a journalist in his own right—blew the whistle on it.
Crushed, disgraced, and brought to total ruin, Brock found a new goal in life: destroying the man who crippled his career. As Venom, and later Toxin, Brock entangled Parker in a twisted web of terror for years to come—pun firmly intended.
Peter Parker (Spider-Man)
First Appearance: AMAZING FANTASY (1962) #15
You can’t mention Marvel reporters without a nod to a certain webslinger.
If you’re a reporter who also happens to be a super hero, getting an exclusive shouldn’t be very difficult. Peter Parker, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, made a career of covering, well, himself. Parker’s gig as a photojournalist serves as the perfect foil to his secret identity as the wise cracking, butt-kicking Wallcrawler.
This clever conundrum cements him as the only guy qualified to get the best shots of Spider-Man in action and remain a paparazzi mainstay. How’s that for job security?
Will Anderson Cooper be the next media mainstay to turn hero—or villain? Find out in BLACK WIDOW #12!