Cobwebs #15: Who Created Venom Part 2 – There Can Be Only One


2012-05-03_191251_VENOMLast time I promised you the Spider-Man fight of the ages!  No, it doesn’t involve the Green Goblin.  Or Doc Ock, for that matter.  Or even Stegron (sorry George).  In fact, this greatest Spider-Man fight doesn’t even include Spider-Man!  Get ready boys and girls.  This fight is between reigning heavy-weight champion David Michelinie and the contender Erik Larsen.  This battle will have it all, folks.  We’ll even throw in a little Louise Simonson and Peter David, just for fun.

And since you are a Crawlspacer and have discerning tastes, we are bringing you something guaranteed that you have not seen anywhere else.

You can catch up with the previous post and don’t forget to weigh in and cast your vote on our message board poll.

And now friends and fellow fans, it is time.  We had a virtual bloodbath as we cut through pretenders to the title.  Now we will see when all is on the line, who will be THE LAST CREATOR STANDING?

Last post we made an argument that Venom is the symbiote; therefore, the character existed long before it got the name Venom and appeared in ASM #299.  However, there is a better argument that Venom is only the merger of Eddie Brock and the symbiote.  Reasons for that would include:

  • Eddie Brock is a separate entity, so the suit is also a separate entity – it is only by coming together through their mutual hatred of Spider-Man that they bond as Venom.
  • In the latest issue of Venom: Space Knight, the suit is considering taking a new name for itself – not itself and Flash, just itself. Combine these two together and it paints the image that each, on their own, are separate beings and are only Venom when joined.
  • David Michelinie has flat out stated this and even states that Venom is only Eddie Brock and the symbiote and anyone else who is joined with the symbiote is NOT Venom.

So if we are going to accept this argument, we need to consider all involved.  That would be Louise Simonson, David Michelinie, and Todd McFarlane and there are those who endeavor to give all three co-creator titles.

web1bLet’s check Simonson’s claim.  I have not found anywhere where she says she ought to have credit, but others have and I feel that after the last post, we really should explore ALL claims (we did, after all, even entertain Byrne’s claim as creator of Venom).  So what’s her stake in the creation of Venom? That comes from the end of Web of Spider-Man #1.  In this issue, the symbiote has broken free of the Baxter Building and attempted one more time to bond with Peter Parker.  Peter fights his own suit to try and make his way to the Fantastic Four before it bonds to him.  While this is happening, we get the panel that establishes that the Spider-Sense doesn’t work on the suit (right) and the one below that establishes that the suit has strong feelings for Spider-Man (below).

web1

Now, while we do not have an Eddie Brock/Symbiote bonding here, we have the elements that set it up.  David Michelinie has said on multiple interviews that Venom’s main character points are the inability for the spider-sense to pick it up and the mutual hate that the suit and Eddie Brock have for Spider-Man.  If these are your basis for Venom, then one could make the case that Simonson “created” it first.

If you are a Peter David fan, then you may be familiar with his take on the issue.  PAD uses the WACKO theory (Writer As Creative King/Overlord).  He sides with Michelinie in a But I Digress article in which he addresses two letters written to Wizard magazine.  PAD does what everyone does when mentioning these letters do – they just mention them.  Getting the actual letter proved to be quite difficult.  Special thanks to Joe Doe who came through for me on this and got me copies of the letters.  Apparently in an earlier issue, co-creator status of Venom was given to McFarlane.  Here is Michelinie’s response to that:

“Dear Wizard,

I just wanted to drop a note to correct an error in your January issue.  First I’d like to thank you for making Venom #1 you top pick of the issue.  I hope everyone gets a kick out of the book when it hits the stands.  However, I did take exception to being referred to in the issue as ‘co-creator’ of Venom. I assume your writer was thinking of Todd McFarlane, the artist of Amazing Spider-Man at the time Venom made his first appearance, as the other ‘co-creator’.  Todd’s visualizations were fabulous, and I’m sure Venom would never have reached the heights of popularity it has if it had been initially drawn by someone with less talent and imagination.   Todd’s unique and intense visuals freed me to push the envelope in both dialogue and characterization, and his artistic contributions to the first Venom stories can’t be overemphasized.  However, there was only one person who actually created Venom, and that was me.  I hate to sound like I’m blowing my own horn, but after 19 years of writing comics, this is the first time I’ve created something that’s resulted in action figures, t-shirts, and its own (unplanned at the time of creation) series. So I guess I’m a little jealous about sharing the credit.

To set the record straight, Venom’s earliest incarnation was actually in  Web of Spider-Man #18 (collectors take note!) in an epilogue sequence in which Peter Parker was pushed in front of a subway train, and was spooked by the fact that whoever did it, didn’t trigger his Spider-sense. I’d planned to make the mysterious attacker female, and her background was entirely different from the character who would ultimately become Venom, but the basic idea was still there: someone who hated Spider-Man had joined with the alien symbiote to try to kill our hero.   When I left Web, the character I had started to develop went into limbo.  Then when Amazing #300 rolled around and editor Jim Salicrup wanted to introduce a new villain in that issue, I brought up my anti-Spidey symbiote-woman.  Jim liked the concept, but thought that readers might have trouble accepting a female character smashing Spider-Man through walls. (Feminist readers can take that up with Jim!) So, I made the character male, and came up with the Eddie Brock persona to fit the new origin.  The name ‘Venom’ was then derived from the venomous stories the character was forced to write for sleazy tabloids.  The new character’s first appearances were in Amazing #298-299. The plots for those issues, including the visual descriptions of the character, were bought by the editor before a regular artist had even been assigned to the book.

So there you have it – the true ‘secret origin’ of Venom!  Once again, I hope no one takes this as a swipe at Todd in any way, form, or manner.  I had a great time working with him on Amazing and he deserved every bit of fame and fortune that’s come his way.  It’s just that Venom sprang from a single, demented mind (my own) and I appreciate your giving me a chance to clear that up.”

Wizard made no introduction nor follow up comment to the letter (but they do answer the next letter that asks if Superman can bend adamantium*).

 

female_venom_by_shinigami_xxv-d6okq0lToday, we would have had a creator just get on Twitter or Facebook and just blast the other guy in an Internet battle.  Thankfully Michelinie was writing this before that (although a Twitter blast would have taken a lot less time to retype here), so we get a nicely worded, well thought out response that makes a case for his assertion.  Peter David recalls David discussing the Eddie Brock character tying in with the Sin Eater story line before McFarlane was ever assigned to the title, also adding some corroboration to this assertion.

Now his revelation that Venom was originally a female character probably comes as no surprise, but just in case we have a reader who hasn’t heard this before, here is the original idea for the origin of Venom.

During Spider-Man’s battle with the Living Monolith in the graphic novel Revenge of the Living Monolith (but not shown in the actual comic), a pregnant woman started to go into labor.  Her husband runs out to flag a cab, but the cabbie is watching Spider-Man and doesn’t see the guy.  The guy gets hit and dies.  The woman is so distressed that she loses the baby.  When she awakens in the hospital, she blames Spider-Man for the loss of her husband and baby.  The church she goes to for comfort and solace just happens to be the same church that Spider-Man fights the symbiote.  The hurt symbiote finds her and they bond over their mutual hatred of Spider-Man.  Readers can see evidence of this when a woman’s hand pushes Peter Parker in front of a subway train in Web of Spider-Man #18.

In just about every interview that Michelinie gives, he praises the story telling ability of Todd McFarlane’s pencils.  This letter is no different and he ends with a plea that no one take this as a “swipe” at McFarlane.

Erik Larsen, however, does just that.  Larsen wrote a response letter, in Peter David’s words, “using a somewhat more aggressive tone than Dave’s letter,” in which he shows the remarkable ability to foreshadow Internet wars of the future.  Here is his take on it:

“Dear Wizard,

Brother, that Michelinie clown’s got a lot of gall.  He swipes the existing alien Spider-Man with its existing powers (it already hated Spider-Man) and puts it on a poorly motivated and poorly conceived character.  Todd takes Dave’s description of a big guy in the existing Spider-Man outfit and adds his own touch of grinning face, with accompanying fangs, slobber, long teeth, and claws – and then Dave claims sole creation of the Venom character!  Yeah, right. I suppose he’d claimed to have created Spider-Man, too, if he could get away with it. I’ll give Dave credit for co-creating Eddie Brock if he’d like (McFarlane was still responsible for designing the character visually) but that’s not much to crow about. One-dimensionable, hate-driven, revenge-hungry characters are a dime a dozen. Eddie was the main reason I disliked the character so much.  Eddie’s motivation for disliking Spider-Man, as you may recall, is that he was a reporter who believed a guy who was claiming to be the Sin-Eater.  Eddie got canned from the paper for writing his series of fact-lacking articles.  His rationale for hating Spidey was that if Spidey didn’t catch Sin-Eater he’d never get caught and he could continue writing his bogus articles, is completely idiotic.  Sin-Eater would have eventually been caught be somebody else.  The man who confessed to Eddie didn’t have his name printed in the paper, so it wasn’t like the world would know he was talking to the wrong guy.  What would Eddie have poor Spidey do – allow innocents to be slaughtered just for the sake of maintaining his journalistic integrity?  DUMB. The whole Venom/Spider-Man conflict could be resolved in two panels of half-way thought out dialogue, if only a writer capable of such a feat could be given the assignment.”

So Larsen gives his views of the situation for McFarlane’s defense and even though he makes a mistake by attributing the long tongue to McFarlane when it was actually Larsen himself that created it (Why? Who knows?  Blinded by hatred of Michelinie (Michelinie did say in other interviews that Larsen hated him, but did not know why)?) Faulty memory? Crush on McFarlane?), we cannot rule out his argument that Todd created the look of Venom, which, by all rights, would give him co-creator status. This letter IS given a response by Wizard.  They point out that they gave Michelinie a chance to reply due to “its volatile nature”, but that Michelinie declined the opportunity.  They then go on to cast their vote that the visual interpretation of the character is as important to the creation of the character as is the writing of it.
So what exactly does McFarlane have to say about it?  In an interview on Comics Creators on Spider-Man, he described Michelinie’s description of the look of Venom as “a big guy in the black costume.” This agrees with Larsen’s letter.  He goes on to say, “I wondered if the alien costume was more like a shell that sort of swallowed the man. That meant Venom didn’t have to look like a guy wearing a suit, which is why I was able to hunch him over a little bit and change some of the muscle structure.  I also changed the way his face looked.  I just wanted to make him a little kooky and creepy, and not just some guy in a black suit.”

Just going by this, it would appear that McFarlane does indeed deserve some creator status in setting up the look of Venom.

These are the pages that the debate is all about.

venom1

venom2

venom3

So it really just comes down to how much of the visuals did McFarlane contribute?  If all Michelinie said was “a big guy in the black suit,” then certainly McFarlane can get some credit, especially for that evil smile Venom has (gives the Spidey suit a very strange look indeed).  If Michelinie detailed out exactly what Venom looks like, then I feel that McFarlane’s claim is down to character developer rather than co-creator.  The problem is that the plot for the pages below do not exist on the Internet.

Until now, that is.  BD in his infinite awesomeness gave me David Michelinie’s contact information and I was able to ask Michelinie for a clarification on what was actually written for the description of Venom. I was hoping for a response and would have been delighted with a summary of what Michelinie remembered.  Michelinie, however, went above and beyond and gave me the EXACT wording of the plot.  So, in a CRAWLSPACE EXCLUSIVE bcause you the fans DEMANDED IT, here is the plot of the last two pages of Amazing Spider-Man #299 (plot dated May 26, 1987), picking up just as Mary Jane comes home to a dark apartment and turns on a lamp:

“…she starts as she looks over to a still-shadowy corner where she sees the white spider and eye-shapes from Spidey’s costume. Thinking that Peter is home, she starts to scold him gently–but stops, surprised, as she sees a white smile form beneath the eye-shapes. Not a pretty smile; a scary smile. Like that of a predator sure of a quick kill. The form then steps from the shadows and we see that it is dressed in a Spider-Man costume, but it is definitely not Peter Parker. Besides the feral smile, the man’s body is huge, massively muscled–like Arnold Schwarzenegger on a good day. MJ backs up, terrified, as the stranger reaches a hand out towards her, his lopsided animal smile stretching to the point where it almost connects behind his head, a totally inhuman gesture. Then, at last, he speaks: ‘Hi, honey…I’m home!’”

This would be Arnold on a BAD day.

This would be Arnold on a BAD day.

For those of you who wondered if McFarlane created the bulky body or the mouth which might be grounds for co-creator status, this should settle that matter.  It appears that Michelinie had very clear vision of what Venom should look like and McFarlane did a great job of bringing that vision to the page. And I absolutely love the clarification that it is Schwarzeneggar on a GOOD day.  Wouldn’t want Venom looking like Arnold on a BAD day.

Not only does this answer the question of creatorship, it also gives us a glimpse of how the sausage is made.  I wish we had more access to what the scripts and pots look like before the artist brings it to life.

So there you have it.  We have assessed the creation of Venom going all the way back to the original idea of a black suit by Randy Schueller and tracked it all the way to the binding of Eddie Brock and the symbiote.  While many can claim development status, and while there are those who argue if Venom’s origin is the introduction of the symbiote or the combination of Eddie Brock and the symbiote, this writer is going to have to come down firmly on David Michelinie and David Michelinie alone.

 

 

credible hulkSources:

David, Peter.  “The WACKO Theory.” Peter David. Word Press, 5 July 2010. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://www.peterdavid.net/2010/07/05/the-wacko-theory/#more-4742>.

DeFalco, Tom. Comics Creators on Spider-Man. London: Titan, 2004. Print.

Douglas, Brad.  “David Michelinie Podcast Interview Online.” Spider-Man Crawlspace. N.p., Podcast. 20 Sept. 2008. <https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1533034b76a6e04d>.

Gvosden, Dan. “Spider-Talk and Their Amazing Friends w/ David Michelinie.” Amazing Spider-Talk. Superior Spider-Talk, Podcast. 23 July 2015.  <https://superiorspidertalk.com/spider-talk-and-their-amazing-friends-w-david-michelinie/>.

Larsen, Erik. Letter to the Editor. Wizard #23 July 1993: 11. JPG Scan.

Martineau, Shaun. “Venom: Spaceknight #4 Review (Spoilers).” Spider-Man Crawlspace. WordPress, 29 Feb. 2016. Web. 3 Mar. 2016. <http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/2016/02/29/venom-spaceknight-4-review-spoilers/>.

Michelinie, David. Comic Book Writer. Personal Interview. 1 Mar. 2016.

Michelinie, David. Letter to the Editor. Wizard #21 May 1993: 12. JPG Scan.

Revenge of the Living Monolith (Marvel Graphic Novel #17).” Comics Chronology. SuperMegaMonkey, N.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2016. <http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/marvel_graphic_novel_17_reveng.shtml>.

 

Images:

Marvel Unlimited Scans

Matchak Venom

Female Venom

Arnold Bad Day

Credible Hulk

 

* According to the editors at Wizard, the answer is yes – Superman can bend adamantium with incredible effort.

 

 

(13) Comments

  1. Al

    I actually think the Venom tongue looks awesome but only when Bagley draws it. Larsen’s Venom looked shite and I find it rich that he of all people is gonna take pot shots over poorly motivated characters. @#5: In these early issues it was mostly Bob McCloud’s doing that made MJ look that way @#10: DeFalco and Frenz in Spider-Girl outright stated that the symbiote became corrupted over time through it’s misuse by it’s hosts. Brock corrupted the symbiote who then corrupted others. @#2: I feel Brock’s motivation is misunderstood. See the problem people have when analysing his origin and motivation is that they presume him to be a sane and rationale individual and therefore his motivation would make sense from a sane and rational point of view...except he isn’t sane or rational. Whilst Michelinie had an original idea for the character when you look at the other stuff in his run like with Jonathan Caesar or how he played Venom in general he clearly had a liking for the idea of ‘creepy stalkers’. You can even see that liking in the original 2 off panel depictions of Venom. Brock was basically reworked into one of those lunatics who listens to songs and thinks the lyrics are addressed to them and so they try to kill the song writer. And in fact the concept of him being a stalker for the Parker family is integral to his concept because he doesn’t trigger the Spider Sense and knows who Peter is. So he can invade the sanctity of Peter’s private life in a way not even Norman could up until that point. And compounding matters he has all of his powers but better. Anyway, so Brock isn’t someone for whom you should try to apply A&gt;B&gt;C logic to as far as his motivations go. This is backed up further by his depiction in ASM #300. He murders an innocent young police officer/security guard when the guy discovers him. Brock has all this power behind him, a respect for authority, this very religious belief system and on top of that this hang up about innocent life and yet he not only opts to murder this kid but opts to do it through suffocation; hardly merciful, especially since this happens in a church. He briefly says it’s so sad when innocent life is lost and proceeds to not ever think about the guy ever again. He does the same thing in later appearances. Brock is a hypocrite with a warped idea of innocence, justice and religion who, like so many religious fanatics, will pick and choose what parts of his religious ideology matter often times depending upon the situation. Which in fact thematically makes him a perfect foil for Peter Parker because Peter mostly upholds his morals through thick and thin, they are in fact merciful and heroic and he often times not only accepts responsibility for his actions but does it when it isn’t even really his place to do so. Brock however was someone clearly incapable of accepting personal responsibility for his actions, scapegoating them onto Spider-Man. Which also makes a lot of sense when you consider a few things. a) Spider-Man is a blank faced individual whom no one knows. A perfect avatar for Brock to project his frustrations on whilst at the same time demonizing him in his head. Far more difficult to d that with someone who has a human face, a name maybe even a life you can see and empathize with b) Spider-Man has been demonized and built up as a criminal COUNTLESS times by Jameson over the years as well as other papers including the one Brock used to work at. He has also been implicated in multiple crimes including the death of a noteworthy police officer, and Brock remember respects the police (up until when they get in his way then he’ll kill them). c) Sin Eater was a man of religion like Brock and also a cop. In ‘the Return of the Sin Eater’ arc been depicted as a very troubled and more sympathetic individual in the media and chronologically that arc happened BEFORE ASM #300. But even putting that aside the story about the chemical influences on Stan Carter were probably public so Brock would’ve known about that too. What I am getting at is that Brock would’ve had sympathy for the Sin Eater (whom Spider-Man physically crippled remember) and with him eliminated as a scapegoat for his frustrations Spider-Man became the next logical option in the affair and more than that a far more appealing one thanks to the reasons I listed above. You can even see Brocks’ sympathy for Carter on display in ASM #300 when he contends he would’ve stopped eventually. That last point serves to high light Brock’s own hypocrisy, delusions and lack of ethics which again help fuel the idea that he didn’t need a rational or logical reason to go after Spider-Man. You can even see how unethical he was in withholding potentially vital information about the Sin Eater in the first place and then not caring at all about the victims, only himself. Not to mention how he claimed he was a great reporter but he didn’t do some basic fact checking, again revealing him to be a deluded hypocrite. And of course the state of his life after he lost his job (and his wife) and emersed himself in sleazy tabloid garbage accentuated his desire for both someone to blame for his woes (as opposed to blaming himself) and at the same time took his mind to a very dark, dark place given that he was seriously considering suicide. That’s gonna affect your mental state inherently. And yet again though, he’s considering suicide but oh no he can’t take his own life because it’d be against his religion...but killing innocent young cops or scaring innocent women and trying to murder someone is a-okay so long as you feel a little sorry about it later. See what I mean? He’s a hypocrite. See that’s who Venom really was supposed to be in ASM #300. A creepy, hypocritical, religiously warped, stalker looking for someone to blame for his woes instead of owning up to his own mistakes who was far from a rationale or logical person.

  2. Mark Alford

    @#11 - Your notes are top notch! A+! (you got bonus points for calling the tongue 'stupid') Hmmmm, quiz at the end of the semester....... That gives me an idea.....

  3. Spider-Dad

    Any process that involves a certain level of collaboration is always going to create controversy on who gets "credit". A fine job Mark on guiding the fans through all the steps on how the symbiote morphed into Venom. Before this post, if asked I would voted that it was the team of Michelinie/McFarlane. However, with the plot outline provided by Mr. Michelinie, it is pretty clear Venom is his creation. Erik Larsen's criticism is pretty lame. Instead of providing any insight on the creative process or Venom in particular, he simply provides his opinion on the creation of Eddie Brock being lame. Since Erik is an artist, I can see his bias pretty clearly in sticking up for fellow artist in Todd McFarlane. Ironically, Todd does not really need Mr. Larsen's "assistance". So let's see if I got this straight, in case there is a quiz at the end of the semester: - A fan suggested a black costume. - Zeck brought that to the page. - Shooter added it was a symbiote, not just a costume. - Michelinie brought the symbiote to Eddie Brock, where the name Venom was first used. - Todd McFarlane made it pretty cool. - Erik Larsen added the stupid tongue. Got it!

  4. Mark Alford

    @#1 - Thanks! @#2 &amp; #5 - Man, I wish I knew that about Larsen's memory before I wrote the article! That would have been clever to include. @#3 - That's a really insightful assessment of Brock's motivation. It certainly works and it does fit in with Brock's weird sense of morality. Looking at that, one would even be inclined to believe that Brock was a more negative influence on the symbiote rather than the other way around. @#4 - High praise! Thanks! @#6 - I agree about Zeck. I started this article with the idea that I would just do the Larsen/Michelinie argument, but the more I looked at it, the more I felt the origin of the black suit was too important to overlook. That's why this thing grew into two (way too) long posts. I may even go further and include Shooter in with Zeck and Michelinie as co-creator status. The problem is what do you consider as being Venom? Is it just the Eddie Brock and symbiote merger or is it anyone merged with the symbiote? Is Flash really Venom? Michelinie would say no, although obviously Marvel says yes, judging by their series title. @#7 &amp; #9 - I'm taking a break from symbiotes for a while. :) Although I did hear a funny interview with Michelinie about what it was like to work with Bagley and how Bagley just ignored what Michelinie asked him to draw and drew it the way he wanted to anyway. But he does praise the way Bagley drew Carnage. @#8 - When he sent me that, I was fist pumping the air. My wife thought I had finally lost it. I left him a Facebook message, but didn't get anything. BD nudged me to contact him via email and he responded right away. I made sure I name-dropped Brad! He doesn't know me from Adam, but what Spider-Man writer or artist worth his salt doesn't know or like Brad?

  5. hornacek

    @7 - Carnage was created by Mark Bagley! Bagley did it all! Micheline had nothing to do with it! Yeah, that is just as ridiculous.

  6. Rama

    I cannot believe you got the actual text that he wrote from 299. That is amazing. And settles it as far as I'm concerned. All the things Todd is given credit for right there in Michelinie's script.

  7. xonathan

    So it should read Venom. Created by Michelinie. Special thanks to McFarlane for drawing as scripted. The next article should be who created Carnage...

  8. Cheesedique

    I think people miss the fact that Eddie was meant to be deranged. His hatred towards Spider-Man makes sense only to him in the same way a celebrity stalker's does. And while I think Michelinie deserves the lion's share of credit for creating Venom, McFarlane too, it's Zeck's fantastic black costume design that I see enduring more than anything. That's what I see on t-shirts everywhere nowadays, not so much Venom himself.

  9. hornacek

    It's something to look at those ASM #298 panels and see how normal McFarlane drew MJ at the start of his ASM run. It wouldn't be long until he had her hair take on a life of its own and grow to almost half of her size. I remember reading/hearing Larsen say he gave Venom the tongue because he mistakenly thought that's how McFarlane drew him. Pretty sure I got that from this website. I remember that Josh interviewed him at a Comic-Con, but I don't remember if Brad ever interviewed him on the podcast. Brock's origin makes no sense, but I see that as having more to do with Micheline not being able to use his already planned origin (with Venom being a woman) and having to throw something together at the last minute. Otherwise if he had known back then that it would be Brock he could have had Peter David include Brock appear as a minor character in The Death of Jean Dewolff, or just mention in that story that the Globe's reporter Eddie Brock had interviewed Emil Gregg (the fake Sin Eater). Micheline was already planting seeds for Venom in Web #18 so I can easily see him planting these early seeds too (TDOJDW was a year before Web #18, but still). But back to Brock's motivation to hating Spider-Man. Brock knows that he made a mistake with his Emil Gregg interviews, but he can't accept the guilt as his own so he transfers the guilt to Spidey, even though eventually his mistakes would have been revealed when the real Sin Eater was identified, and he would have blamed whoever did that (the police, another super-hero, etc). In this case it just happened to be Spidey. It makes no sense, but it makes sense to Brock since he needed to blame someone else. There's a reason all subsequent adaptations have ignored Brock's original origin and made him a friend/rival to Peter instead of someone who only learns who Peter Parker is after he bonds with the symbiote. It works better when Brock has a reason to hate Peter before he becomes Venom and has a history with Peter. In ASM #300 Peter recognizes Brock when Venom unmasks, but there is never any sense of the two of them interacting before. Part of me wishes it had been Lance Bannon, who already had the rivalry with Peter. And kudos on working Junior into this discussion, one of the craziest "how did this get made" movies ever.

  10. TCP

    A very insightful and well-researched article, even though I would still argue Todd McFarlane deserves his co-credit. Cobwebs may just be the best series on this site (with no offense intended to the other writers). Keep up the great work, Mark!

  11. Mycroft

    I think you have to give McFarlance co-creator status on Venom, since Venom's always relied on that awesome visual design to draw fans. I always liked Eddie's really flimsy motivation for hating Spider-Man. I thought it was a (maybe unintentionally) clever way of making him an anti-Peter; Peter feels responsible for anything and everything that even slightly involves him, Eddie can't even hold himself accountable for things that are obviously his own fault. Eddie refusing to take responsibility for anything became maybe his main character trait. See: several stories where he kills guards to break out of prison and acts like his hands are tied. Also see: after his "hero" turn as Anti-Venom and now Toxin, all of his villainy is pinned solely on the symbiote, which he now hates like he used to hate Spider-Man.

  12. xonathan

    I remember hearing/reading somewhere in an interview (maybe in a podcast) that Larsen thought he saw slobber and long tongue in one of Mcfarlane's covers and went with it. Then when he looked back, it was just his overactive imagination, but the slobber and tongue stayed. I do agree with him, Eddie's motivation to hate Spidey is shallow and full of logic holes. Great history lesson on Venom, keep it up!

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