Whether we like it or not, we’re going to get a solo Venom movie later this year. It will be produced by Sony, and, well, their track record isn’t great to say the least.
However, judging by its teaser, Tom Hardy as Venom/Eddie Brock has the sensitive lone wolf thing down to a science by now. Also, Michelle Williams, who is presumably playing Eddie Brock’s ex-wife, is one of the finest actresses today.
So there are reasons to be hopeful. However, without a Spider-Man to fixate on and obsess over, it remains to be seen if Venom/Eddie Brock can carry his own movie.
More than any other colourful loon in Spidey’s rogues gallery, Venom is the result of Peter Parker’s screw ups. The oily, writhing black substance, the symbiote, grafted itself to Spider-Man’s costume during Secret Wars, enhancing his already considerably impressive superpowers in addition to giving him a cool makeover.
After rejecting the parasitic symbiote, it attached itself to Eddie Brock, a disgruntled journalist whose hatred of the wall crawler was unparalleled. Together they were Venom, a stronger, more demonic version of our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Venom, who is not exactly a big picture kind of villain, vowed to make Peter Parker’s life a living hell.
Still, Venom has evolved into a surprisingly complex character.
With that said, here are the 15 Mind-Blowing Things You Didn’t Know About Venom.
15. A Fanboy Created The Idea Of Venom
Venom’s creation is due in part to a fan letter sent to Marvel’s then editor-in-chief James Shooter.
In the ’80s, Marvel ran a competition for aspiring artists and writers. Twenty-two year old Randy Schueller sent a letter with an idea that Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four, could create a new jet black costume made out of Unstable Molecules– the very material of the Fantastic Four’s costumes– for Spider-Man.
The costume would increase Spider-Man’s abilities by 25 percent, an oddly specific number. Nonetheless, the description bares a striking resemblance to the iconic black Spider-Man outfit, barring the giant white spider symbol emblazoned on his chest (Schueller opted for red, and classic Ditko underarm webbing).
Schueller heard back from James Shooter a month later, with $220 enclosed for the idea and an opportunity to write the script if all went to plan. Evidently there were some hiccups and bumps, as Schueller decidedly did not get to write the script.
14. Flash Thompson’s Agent Venom Became A Member Of The Guardians Of The Galaxy
In its current incarnation, the symbiote suit is being used as a force for good. Flash Thompson, a dedicated soldier, came a long way from acting the fool as the high school jock/ bully during Peter Parker’s early days as Spider-Man.
After losing his legs in Iraq, Flash seized the chance to don the symbiote, which would allow him to walk again and participate in clandestine missions for the US government.
The catch is that he can’t be bonded to the suit for more than 48 hours at a time, lest he lose his mind completely. As Agent Venom, Flash found a new lease on life.
13. The Symbiote’s Aggression Is A Retcon
In the animated ’90s Spider-Man show and Spider-Man 3, Peter Parker rejects the alien costume, because though it increases his powers, the cost of it is that it amplifies his darker, more aggressive side.
The original run of the comic books suggest different, altogether creepier reasoning. In a twist, it was revealed that the symbiote was a living entity that sought to permanently bond to its host Peter Parker.
There was no explicit suggestion that Parker was getting more aggressive, despite the decidedly goth-y look. There was only the threat of the oozing life form consuming Peter like a snack. With the help of Reed Richards, Peter eventually rids himself of the symbiote.
12. Venom Was Originally Meant To Be Female
Longtime Spider-Man writer David Michelinie originally wanted Venom to be a woman– a pregnant woman. Her origin story was arguably equally as tragic as Eddie Brock’s.
It goes like this: a taxi driver, distracted by Spider-Man, would accidentally kill her husband. She’d then go into labour on the street, losing her baby. After leaving the hospital, the rejected symbiote would bond to this grief-stricken mother. Thus, Venom would be born.
One could be forgiven for assuming that this story idea was thrown in the garbage because it was far too dark and miserable for an all-ages comic. However, instead, it was because Jim Salicrup, a Marvel editor at the time, thought that a woman wouldn’t be a credible enough threat to Spider-Man.
11. Eddie Brock’s Cancer
Although Brock’s fury at the wall crawler was no doubt delicious to the symbiote, what also attracted the otherworldly entity to Brock was the massive amount of adrenaline he produced due to his cancer. The symbiote feeds off adrenaline, and for a time, Brock’s cancer was kept at bay.
However, after Eddie Brock was separated from the symbiote, his cancer reemerged. Mister Li, the owner of a soup kitchen called FEAST, offered Brock a job and, thanks to his mysterious healing powers, cured Eddie Brock of his cancer.
However, Li’s magic touch activated the microscopic remnants of the symbiote that clung to Eddie’s white blood cells. The result was Anti-Venom, the inverse of Venom. In addition to the superhuman abilities that Venom possessed, Anti-Venom could cure a person from any illness.
10. Venom’s Body Language In Spider-Man 3
One thing nearly that every fan can agree on is that Venom’s inelegant placement in Spider-Man 3 is what ultimately sunk the troubled movie.
From Brock’s haphazard character development to the random nature of the symbiote, nothing about his character worked like it ought to have, not when considering the wealth of comic book story material available.
You can count on one hand the amount of times Venom is truly Venom in Spider-Man 3, not just Topher Grace’s unthreatening good looks poking through slimy prosthetics.
Nevertheless, there was a great amount of thought put into Venom’s movements and sounds– i.e., the stuff that’d make him seem really impressive in two or three second bursts like in, say, a trailer.
9. Venom Found Peace For A Time
What makes Venom so threatening is also his biggest achilles heel: he just wants to put Spider-Man six feet under.
Spider-Man used this to his advantage in Amazing Spider-Man #347, wherein Venom kidnaps Spider-Man and brings him to a deserted island and announces they will fight to the death.
To end the gruelling battle with both their lives intact, Spider-Man fakes his death. Venom, finding the smoky and charred remains of a skeleton clad in a torn Spider-Man outfit, is delirious.
Peter Parker by then is safely at a distance, hoping that Eddie Brock has finally found his peace.
For a time, Eddie Brock did find some peace. However, some characters are just too interesting to keep happy forever. It wasn’t long before Venom, ravenous and vicious as ever, was back in the picture.
8. Venom’s First Appearance
A 300th instalment of any series calls for something major and game changing. The 300th Amazing Spider-Man comic book series changed everything by giving us our first proper look at Venom, who heretofore had been stealthily terrorising Spider-Man from the shadows.
The issue included a lengthy introduction to the new hulking menace and his vengeful motives, some classic Peter Parker money woes, and Spider-Man’s long overdue triumphant return to the traditional red and blue duds. The final caption all but promises 300 more issues and beyond — “The legend begins anew.”
The issue remains a must-read for all Spidey fans, casual or otherwise. Writer David Michelinie and artist Todd McFarlane were at the peak of their respective fields. They crafted a villain who has stood the test of time.
7. Truth In Journalism
Venom got the R-rated treatment back in 2013 with the unofficial short fan-movie Truth In Journalism. The project was produced by Adi Shankar, who was also responsible for Dirty Laundry (the Punisher fan film) and the ultra violent, cheekily parodic Power/Rangers.
Truth In Journalism follows a documentary crew from France tailing and interviewing New York journalist Eddie Brock. They privately suspect something is amiss with this hungry go-getter who seems to be creepily detached from the horrors of the city.
Enraged and paranoid, Brock allows himself to be taken over by the dark, oozing symbiote within, and kills the crew. A bonus scene at the end shows a nosy Brock stumbling upon Daredevil villain Bullseye making a snuff movie.
6. The Awful Origin Of His Name
Venom is undoubtedly a cool name for a villain. It’s striking, mean, and to the point. Venom means poison. It means your days are numbered, pal. However, the origin of his name is… less than cool.
Spider-Man made a laughing stock out of respected journalist Eddie Brock. Brock, a successful columnist for The Daily Globe, had been writing a series of stories concerning a serial killer called the Sin-Eater. His source was supposedly the Sin-Eater himself. However, Spider-Man exposed the real Sin-Eater and Brock’s source was revealed to be a serial confessor.
With no self-respecting outlet willing to hire Eddie Brock, he was forced to write “venomous” drivel for gossip rags. The “venom” he was forced to write rotted his soul, which went on to create the Venom we know today.
5. The Symbiote Loved Spider-Man
The parasitic alien substance known as the symbiote didn’t just bond to Spider-Man for sustenance. In fact, it was in love with the wall crawler– psychotically so.
As Spider-Man continued to wear the alien costume, its possessive tendencies became more and more pronounced. Fearing a total loss of control, Spider-Man heroically tore off the clingy entity, which screamed in agony as it was separated from its host.
The symbiote didn’t just bond to Brock because he was the nearest guy in the room– his primal hatred of Spider-Man equalled the symbiote’s. Eddie Brock and the symbiote literally fed off each other’s hatred of Spider-Man.
It’s reminiscent of Aimee Mann’s song, “The Moth”: “Nothing fuels a good flirtation like need and anger and desperation.”
Given that Venom is the only supervillain who can dampen Spider-Man’s spider sense, he’s the only one who can indulge in what all furious ex-lovers indulge in: stalking and terrorising loved ones. Aside from his cool design, this is what makes Venom a unique villain.
That initial idea of Venom being a woman was never abandoned completely. Eddie Brock’s ex-wife Anne Weying got a brief but foul taste of the symbiote’s capabilities.
The Sin-Eater, reemerging to ruin Eddie Brock’s life a second time, shot Ann Weying. Eddie Brock urged the symbiote to bond to Anne’s damaged body, in a desperate bid to save her life.
Unable to resist’s the symbiote’s dark pull, Ann attacked her attackers in quite the gory fashion– so gory in fact that the resulting mutilated bodies caused Ann to throw up in shock. She blamed Brock, but he insisted that the symbiote didn’t make her do anything she didn’t want to.
Amazing Spider-Man succumbs to the dreaded women-in-refrigerators syndrome, however, in which a female character’s death is used to only further a male character’s angst. Thus, in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #19, Anne Weying ended her own life. This fuelled Venom’s hatred of Spider-Man even more.
3. Ultimate Venom Is Very Different
The Ultimate Marvel comic imprint launched in 2000, and was designed to streamline and modernize Marvel’s dense 40-year continuity.
Some re-imaginings were more successful than others. One of the more successful efforts was rebranding Eddie Brock as Peter’s childhood friend, and the symbiote suit as Richard Parker’s and Edward Brock’s shared scientific experiment to cure cancer.
The symbiote experiment, known as Project: Venom, was Peter and Eddie’s inheritance and their responsibility.
Peter accidentally spills a sample of the suit on himself, augmenting his abilities. However, he only dons the new black suit for a few hours, as its monstrous hunger for human flesh briefly overtakes him.
Peter sorrowfully explains to Eddie that their father’s experiment is too dangerous and has to be destroyed. Furious and hurt that Peter would erase the last of their fathers’ legacy, Eddie impulsively dips his fingers into the beaker full of Venom goo.
2. Venom 2018 Storylines And Plot For The Solo Movie
The upcoming Venom movie will be taking inspiration from two Venom comic runs: Lethal Protector and Planet of The Symbiotes.
Venom: Lethal Protector was Venom’s first solo series, in which Eddie Brock and Spider-Man agree to stay out of each other’s way as long as Venom doesn’t commit any heinous deeds.
Brock agrees and heads back to his hometown in San Francisco, where he uses his particularly deadly skills to defend the innocent. The story ends with Spider-Man teaming up with Venom to take down Venom’s wild offspring: Scream, Phage, Riot, Agony, and Lasher.
It’s likely that the Venom movie will just use the same anti-hero angle and San Francisco setting.
Planet of the Symbiotes is a standard alien invasion story, only in this case, the army is the symbiotes. It’s rumoured that Carnage is the villain here, so it’s possible that he may actively facilitate the symbiote invasion.
1. Hank Azaria Voiced Venom In the ’90s Cartoon
You probably know Hank Azaria as the man whose voice is behind Moe Szyslak, Apu, Chief Wiggum, and a host of other characters on the Simpsons. He’s also the first guy to give a voice to Venom/Eddie Brock in the ’90s animated Spider-Man cartoon. Clearly, Azaria was the architect of many childhoods.
With Azaria’s distortions and high pitched snarls and growles, he was also every 8 year old kid’s worst nightmare.
If today you read Venom in comic books, chances are that you’ll read it in Hank Azaria’s voice. Not only was he scary and devilishly wicked as Venom, he lent a fair amount of sympathy and humanity to a downtrodden, pre-symbiote Eddie Brock.
It’s a testament to Azaria’s talents that he set the gold standard for Spider-Man’s most infamous villain.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Venom that we missed? Comment and let us know!
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