The famed Marvel character, and Spidey’s archnemesis, is getting his solo time on the big screen, and Venom fans are finally getting all the creation and chaos of their favorite alien symbiote. Here are 24 facts about the iconic villain Venom. SPOILER WARNING: facts 13 and 11 contain major spoilers from 2018’s Venom.
24. Not as He Appears
We most commonly understand Venom as the long-toothed, eerie-grinned maniac who looks like a black, over-muscled Spider-Man. But, in fact, Venom is derived from a race of alien beings called “symbiotes” that take on a host in order to survive. The Venom symbiote is a thick, black liquid-like being that latches onto its host and provides powers in exchange for the host’s life-force.
Spider-Man, being one of Venom’s first hosts, had his life-force integrated into the symbiote, so when the creature was separated from him, it retained some of his powers. Thus, when it found another host, they became a sort of Spidey 2.0. That host was, of course, Eddie Brock, who became one of Spider-Man’s most recurrent enemies.
23. Coming to this Earth
Venom wasn’t actually created by a comic book writer. Rather, Randy Schueller, a 22-year-old comic fan and avid reader, first came up with the character. He sent in a letter suggesting that Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four could create a black costume for Peter Parker using unstable molecules.
Marvel liked the idea and bought the character for $220, even offering Schueller the chance to write a script (though that later fell through). Mike Zeck and Todd McFarlane designed the original black costume, which made its first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Issue 252 in May 1984 (though chronologically, the suit first showed up in the Secret Wars Issue 8).
22. Adapting to our World
The unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on your style) hosts of Venom are given great powers and abilities—Schueller’s initial idea was that the black suit would enhance Spidey’s powers by 25%. As an independent symbiote, this creature can fend for its self apart from a host, using shapeshifting abilities, camouflage, and even the ability to morph into spikes or increase in size.
However, since Spider-Man was its original host, all future hosts gain Spidey’s powers and abilities. Even worse, the symbiote cannot be detected by Spider-Man’s spider-sense, which is why Venom is so difficult for the hero to defeat.
21. Slim and Shady
While Venom isn’t exactly slim, he could be classified as a bit shady. Fittingly, rapper Enimem was handed the opportunity, nay, the honor, to write the catchy tune which can be heard at the end credits of the film. To promote the song, the rapper performed it live from the 103rd floor of the Empire State Building in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
20. We All Have A Weakness
Venom may seem almost unbeatable, but does he have any weaknesses? Of course—two specifically. The first is heat. Yes, flame and fire are detrimental to Venom’s health and abilities, and their effect is rather self-explanatory: fire burns and destroys the symbiote bonding to its host.
The second, however, has proven to be extremely important in Spider-Man’s struggles against his counterpart: Sound. The symbiote is extremely vulnerable to sonic waves and Spider-Man has beaten Venom several times with this knowledge. A great example of this is seen in the film Spider-Man 3, when Spider-Man bangs iron poles together, causing loud vibrations which cause the symbiote wrenching pain and eventually separate it from its host, Eddie Brock (played, inexplicably, by Topher Grace).
19. Venomous Offspring
What could be worse for a superhero than one deranged alien symbiote going around and bonding to hosts? More than one symbiote, of course!
There have been many other symbiotes in the Marvel Universe, many of which spawned from the original Venom. One of the most powerful became known as Toxin. Toxin attached itself to an NYPD officer named Patrick Mulligan and the two of them became an anti-hero, at one point helping Spider-Man fight against two other symbiotes, Venom and Carnage.
18. Sticking Around (Get it?)
Tom Hardy, who plays Venom in the new hit film, has signed on for three Venom movies. This means we’ll get to sit back and enjoy (at least) two more films of our beloved, venomous Marvel character. As Hardy put it, “I’m open to whatever you want to do with it. We’ve signed up for three of them. So it’s very much an open case. We’ll see what people’s responses are to it. I think it’s an awesome character. I love playing both of them. It’s an amuse-bouche, and for Sony, it’s the Venom-verse launched in isolation, as it were.”
17. Breaking the Fourth-Wall
Venom even bonded with Deadpool in the past. In fact, Venom bonded to Deadpool before it bonded with Spider-Man. So that means Deadpool, not Spider-Man, was technically the original Venom.
16. The Antihero
Despite being known as one of Spider-Man’s primary villains, there are moments in comic book history where Venom acts as more of an antihero than a villain. One of the most notable works featuring this characterization is the 1993 Venom: Lethal Protector series, which focuses on Venom moving to San Francisco, eventually teaming up with Spider-Man to fight five new symbiotes: Scream, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Agony.
15. Bonding with the Comics
Speaking of the 1993 Lethal Protector series, it was one of these comic arcs that inspired the central themes of the new major motion picture film, Venom, which stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock. Some major themes taken from the comics are Eddie Brock’s wrestling with the Venom symbiote, and talking it into sticking up for civilians and preventing its fellow symbiote friends from destroying humans.
14. Creating Carnage
So, we’ve talked a bit about Carnage. To refresh, Carnage is another symbiote in the Spider-Man universe. But how was he created? It all begins with Venom and its host, Eddie Brock, and ends with a new host, Cletus Kasady.
Brock and Kasady, a psychopathic serial killer, were cellmates in prison together. Eventually, the Venom symbiote breaks into their cell, bonds to Brock, and they escape. However, a small piece of the symbiote was left behind. That small piece ends up bonding with some of Kasady’s blood, and mutates into the horrific Carnage, one of the most powerful (and insane) of Spider-Mans enemies.
13. There will be… Carnage
SPOILER AHEAD. Is Carnage in the Venom film, you ask? Well, yes and no. For those who have seen it and stuck around during the credits, you would have watched Eddie Brock walk into prison to find a man, Cletus Kasady (played by Woody Harrelson), sitting in his cell. The character’s line: “There will be carnage,” clearly foreshadows a future film where Harrelson will take on the character and symbiote of Carnage. This could also mean that fans will see Venom in full antihero mode as he helps to take on Carnage. Fingers crossed!
12. Venom vs. Carnage
There is, in fact, a comic book series titled Venom vs. Carnage. It’s a great series because it not only further explores the lives and powers of both human hosts, Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady, but also of their symbiotes, Venom and Carnage, including how they fight/interact.
It also explains why Carnage is more powerful than Venom—because its host, Cletus Kasay, was a deranged serial killer and professional criminal, whereas Eddie Brock was just a journalist with grit. Hear that kids? It’s what’s inside that counts.
VENOM SPOILER WARNING. Symbiotes aren’t just for boys, either. Venom also once bonded to a woman named Anne Weying, creating the iconic She-Venom. Weying appears in the 2018 film, portrayed by Michelle Williams, and while we haven’t seen a full appearance from She-Venom, we at least got a small taste of her on screen.
10. Maximum Carnage
The feud between Carnage and Venom goes back to the 1993 comic series titled, Maximum Carnage, a 14 part storyline which consists of many plots and characters surrounding the Spider-Man universe, primarily Venom and Carnage. The premise here is that Spider-Man and Venom team up to defeat Carnage. The hope is that this plot point will make its way onto the big screen, but who knows for sure if we’ll ever get to see Spidey and Venom share the spotlight.
9. Jurassic Venom
If things can’t get any stranger about Venom, symbiotes, aliens, etc., they just did with this fun fact: In the Old Man Logan comics, the Venom symbiote is bonded with a T-Rex. Enough said.
8. Feeding off of Folly
What makes the symbiotes, such as Venom, thrive? The answer isn’t surprising—these creatures feed of off the hosts’ fear, adrenaline, and hatred; three human qualities found in our primordial nature. This makes humans easily susceptible to the symbiotes’ bonding power.
7. Striking Venom’s Heel
Because of the symbiotes’ ability to feed off of human fear, it’s no wonder that Eddie Brock struggles with Venom. Venom and Brock have a long-lasting relationship full of conflict and contemplation. The two spend so much time together that their minds and nature begin to connect as one—while they are continually at odds with one another, they nevertheless behave and act in unison at times.
6. A Venomous Bite
Have you ever tasted squirrel? Nah, me neither. But guess who has? You got it! Venom. Venom is an odd soul, so much so that he munches on and devours all kind of creatures, including humans. However, according to some comics, Venom’s favorite snack is actually squirrel. Nom nom nom.
5. Giving Venom a Voice
Ever been watching the old Spider-Man animated series and recognize a familiar voice whenever Venom spoke? Maybe that’s because the character was voiced by Hank Azaria, who’s famous for doing the voices of Moe, Apu, and many others on The Simpsons.
4. A Guardian
Again, despite being one of Spider-Man’s top nemeses, Venom actually proves useful as an antihero. He has been an active member of the Guardians of the Galaxy (when the symbiote bonded to Flash Thompson, creating Agent Venom). Though it’s doubtful we’ll see Venom in the Guardians film franchise (cross your fingers), it’s still pretty cool to see in the comic book world.
3. An Avenger
Venom was also a member of the Avengers. Again, this most likely will not be seen in the Avengers film franchise, but it’s still pretty cool—it was even Captain America himself who let Venom in the crew!
2. Your Friendly Neighborhood…
Venom may seem all big scary and even gross sometimes (when he’s munching on people), but he also has a sensitive side when it comes to sticking up for certain people. Specifically, he is known to protect homeless people, even going to live among them when he left New York for San Francisco in Venom: Lethal Protector.
1. Injected Deep Within
Does the Venom symbiote have a mind of its own? Well, yes and no. For the most part, it merely enhances the motives, desires, and traits of its host, making them more volatile, but still essentially remaining themselves. In this way, Venom takes on much of its personality from its host, be it Peter Parker, Eddie Brock, or someone else. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a will of its own—it has actually killed its host before, so it should not be underestimated.