The Sickest And Most Extreme Venom Scenes In Marvel Comics History
You thought the Venom movie was cool?
Critics may not have enjoyed Venom, but Venom fans sure did. They spoke with their wallets, which we all know is the language Hollywood speaks most fluently. The new Venom movie broke box office records and outperformed expectations this past weekend. It made $80 million in the United States and Canada and $125 million internationally against a $100 million budget. With a Venom sequel now all but assured, let's take a look at some of the source material from which they might draw next time.
For many comics fans, this movie was a palette cleanser after the much-derided Venom storyline from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3. The marketing campaign revolved around Eddie Brock's anti-hero, brutish persona, separate from the Spider-Man mythos. And the Venom Symbiote itself looked phenomenal--a twisted, writhing, bluish-black, semi-solid mass, all bulging muscles, salivating tongue, and glistening fangs.
The Symbiote is one of the most visually impressive characters in the Marvel comics canon. By day, Eddie Brock wears it as an inconspicuous black coat. But when duty calls, the Symbiote encases itself around its host and becomes living, organic armor.
In the Venom comics, the "transition" panels, where the artist shows the host half in, half out of "disguise," are some of the most creative. We're highlighting ten of the best drawn, most visually memorable Venom comics panels. Unsurprisingly, the majority of them feature the Venom Symbiote in scenarios that highlight its fluid, alien nature.
Want more on the Venom movie? Check out our official Venom movie review, our explanations of Venom's post-credits scenes, the references and Easter eggs you might have missed, and the challenges of making Venom without Spider-Man.
10. The Venom Power Pose
Issue: The Amazing Spider-Man #378
Artist: Mark Bagley
The Maximum Carnage arc was a massive early '90s crossover event, where Spidey and Venom partnered up to take down Carnage, Shriek, and a host of supervillains. This particular panel, from when Venom first hears the news that Carnage escaped the asylum, is iconic and oft-imitated. The massive, idealized musculature, along with the lewdly snaking tongue, depict Venom as a dangerous, wild force, only temporarily under control.
9. We Are Free!
Issue: Spider-Man #37
Artist: Tom Lyle
Late in the Maximum Carnage storyline, Carnage imprisoned and tortured Eddie Brock and his Symbiote in the Statue of Liberty. But Venom escaped by putting a part of his Symbiote in Reed Richards' sonic gun. He then goaded Carnage into discharging the weapon at him, reuniting the Symbiote with its host. This panel captures that moment of reunification, and it also gives us a look at the teeth and tongue inserting themselves into Brock's mouth.
8. A Repulsively Sexy Symbiote
Issue: The Bride of Venom--Sinner Takes All #3
Artist: Greg Luzniak
Although the Venom Symbiote's most famous host is Eddie Brock, he's not the only one. Spider-Man was its host before Brock, and in 1995, Anne Weying, Eddie Brock's ex-wife, became a host. Under the influence of the Symbiote, this "She-Venom" was far more brutal and violent that Brock had ever been.
Like many Symbiote hosts, Weying continued coveting the Symbiote's power after it left her; she eventually killed herself when she was unable to reconcile her two sides.
7. A Father/Son Relationship
Issue: Venom--Carnage Unleashed #3
Artist: Andrew Wildman
The Venom vs. Carnage storylines are fraught with Freudian allusions; Carnage hates his "family" for abandoning him, but since the Carnage Symbiote is the offspring of the Venom symbiote, Venom is the closest thing he has to family. The Carnage Symbiote's human host, Cletus Kasady, is an orphan raised in an abusive foster home, which increases Carnage's feelings of resentment and abandonment. This comic cover from 1995 captured the anger that Carnage feels towards the Venom Symbiote, separate from Eddie Brock, when he literally separates the two.
6. The Symbiote Gets Angry At The Scorpion
Issue: Thunderbolts--Volume 2: Caged Angels
Artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Not everyone is cut out to host the Venom Symbiote. Take, for example, Mac Gargan, better known as iconic Spider-Man villain The Scorpion. He became the third, long-term Symbiote host, and mentally, he couldn't deal with the violence, the killing, and the eating of people. And the Symbiote chewed him out in one, cruel panel:
"Stop complaining. Always complaining. It’s too cold. Stuff hurts. I didn’t mean to eat that guy’s arm. Whining little maggot. You don’t deserve me. You never did. Did I actually hear you say you didn’t want to be the scary guy? You used to be the Scorpion. You used to be a hard man. Why did you turn into a schoolgirl as soon as you tasted some fresh meat?"
5. Venomsaurus Rex
Issue: Wolverine--Volume 3, #71
Artist: Steve McNiven
This alternate timeline gave us a Symbiote pairing that we never knew we needed. After being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Savage Land, the Symbiote bonded with the giant lizard and chased Hawkeye and Logan on foot. "Holy $#%@" was the right reaction.
4. The Symbiote Meets Reed Richards
Issue: Spider-Man / Fantastic Four--Volume 1, #2
Artist: Mario Alberti
One of the more inspired Venom transformations, this was when the Venom Symbiote attached itself to Mr. Fantastic, also known as Reed Richards. Richards' superpower is stretchy elasticity, and so of course, the Symbiote took some time to test out its newfound powers. One can imagine how fun these sorts of crossovers must be for the artists, who get to reimagine two iconic characters in a new way.
3. The Symbiote Gets Sacked By Six Savages
Issue: Venom--Volume 2, #21
Artist: Tony Moore
In the vast majority of his appearances, Venom looks frighteningly strong; the host might look shot to hell, but the Symbiote almost never does. And that's why this cover, where Venom is beaten down by the Savage Six, is so striking. Everything hangs off of Brock's body like it's dead; even the signature tongue and teeth are drooping by the wayside.
This is how comics covers sell copies. How can you look at this, and not wonder what brought Venom so low, so quickly?
2. Venom Takes The Wheel
Issue: Venom--Volume 2, #36
Artist: Pepe Larraz
In this storyline from 2013, the Symbiote possesses a car. There's never been a memorable scenario, prior to this, where Venom possessed an inanimate object--complete with massive teeth and tongue--and took it on a high speed chase. But now, apparently, that's a thing.
The implications of this are incredible. If a Venon-Mobile is a possibility, what about a Venom Tank? Or a Venom Missile? Or a Venom ceiling fan? This is so absurd, so canon-breaking and weird, that it loops back around to awesome.
1. I AM VENOM!
Issue: Guardians of the Galaxy--Volume 3, #21
Artist: Valerio Schiti
The most recent, memorable Symbiote pairing came in 2014, when Venom clashed with the Guardians of the Galaxy; it made a lot of sense, since the Symbiote is of alien origin. Over the course of the multi-part storyline, it bonded with Drax and Rocket Racoon. But its best pairing was with Groot. It yells out "I AM VENOM!" instead of its signature "I AM GROOT," ending Volume 3 on a cliffhanger. The punchline was simultaneously dark and funny--a perfect merging of the two comics' sensibilities.