While the first full-length Sony/Marvel Spider-Man film hasn't even been released (we still have to wait until July 7, 2017 for that one), word hit the newswire last week that the long-rumored Venom spin-off would be hitting theaters in October 2018. Anyone who was knee-deep in Marvel Comics in the late '80s and early '90s (especially the numerous Spider-Man series) instantly got excited. Why? Because Venom was that villain.
Think about it: it was essentially an all-black Spider-Man who gave zero f*cks about being a hero or the safety of others around him. Hell, most of the time, he was trying to kill Spider-Man. Many of us saw him finally hit the silver screen in 2007's Spider-Man 3, which showcased how Peter tried to deal with a new suit of alien origin that really mucked up his personality. That movie (which was bad) ended up killing Tobey Maguire's tenure as Spider-Man. Since then, we've had two totally different Spider-Men, and seen the world of superheroes on screen become the biggest thing to hit the box office (with no signs of leaving). While there's no word if Marvel will have any input on whatever Sony plans on doing with Venom, the technology of today could have fanboys in store for a Venom the likes of which we've never seen before.
We know how it goes, though; there's only so much time to get acquainted with these comic book characters, but as per usual, we've got you covered. Here's a quick primer on Venom's history within the world of comic books, so that when October 2018 hits, you'll be ready to soak in the insanity of seeing a bloodthirsty alien latch onto a human and wreck havoc on whomever gets into its way.
Peter Parker was the first person to wear the Venom Symbiote
The character of Venom has an interesting history; while it rose to fame during the great comic book wave of the 1990s, it's actually been around since 1984. Oddly enough, the idea that became Venom came from a Spider-Man fan who sent in a letter about Spider-Man rocking a black suit that gave Peter Parker enhanced powers. Marvel loved the idea and bought it off the fan for $220.
The actual idea made it into comics in the eighth issue of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars in 1984; Parker was given the black suit on Battleworld via a machine that was said to make you any type of clothing. The machine gave him the black-and-white outfit, and to Parker's surprise, the suit could shapeshift to give him, say, street clothes. It was later found that the suit was actually an alien symbiote, and was forcing Parker to battle crime while he was asleep. After realizing that the suit wanted to become one with him, Parker got rid of it, although the suit came back to attack him and find a suitable host.
Venom hated being rejected by Peter Parker
With a grudge against Peter Parker coursing through it, the alien symbiote settled on journalist Eddie Brock as its next host. It made sense, as Brock hated Peter Parker for making him look bad after reporting that the wrong man was a reputed serial killer. That shared hatred fueled the symbiote's fire, and it was Brock who actually coined the "Venom" name (which he chose due to the material he was forced to write following being shown up by Parker).
Brock spent the majority of his early tenure as Venom making Parker's life a living hell, with activities ranging from terrorizing Parker's wife Mary Jane Watson to attempted murder on Peter Parker several times.
Eddie Brock might be the most memorable Venom
It was during Eddie Brock's tenure as Venom that the character received its widest acclaim. It was the '90s, and the menacing monster with Spider-Man's abilities rocking an all-black suit was too much; Venom starred in numerous limited comic book series, showed up all over Spider-Man's titles, within video games, and was a huge part of Tobey Maguire's final movie as Spider-Man. He was even set to be the villain in The Amazing Spider-Man 3, but Sony wisely decided to not making any more Spider-Man films without Marvel's input.
Venom has an intriguing set of abilities...and weaknesses
Over the years, the Venom Symbiote has been deemed one of the greatest threats to humanity within the Marvel Comics universe, putting it right alongside heavy hitters like Doctor Doom and Magneto. First off, because of its time with Peter Parker, the symbiote grants anyone it comes into contact with the powers of Spider-Man (including web spinning), but the best part is that it cannot be detected by Parker's Spider Sense. That's a major problem.
The symbiote has the ability to shapeshift, which is good for disguises or turning itself into deadly objects. It can even expand itself in size. It's super strong, and can speak telepathically with its host.
On the flipside, fire and sonic waves can inflict pain to the symbiote, to the point where it will remove itself from its host in an effort to escape the danger around it.
Venom went from villain to antihero
Like anything that gets to be popular, Venom went from being a murderous villain to...not a hero, but more of an antihero, making moves with superheroes during its time period but not necessarily becoming a hero itself. You know the routine; fans want that Venom supply, and you have to give into their demand, although that means he has to save the city as some point.
Venom's level of heroics has fluctuated depending on the host he's attached to, so it's been interesting to see the latest Venom host really become the hero we all need. Flash Thompson, who was a bully and a jock who went to high school with Parker, ended up going to fight in the Iraq War and lost his legs at the knees. Due to his military background, he's recruited to bond with the Venom Symbiote to act as a black ops agent, fighting for the good guys with an extraordinary skill set. The caveat is that, due to potential risk of permanently being bonded with the symbiote, he's only allowed to be in possession of it for 48 hours. Venom gives Flash legs he lost, but that freedom comes with a cost, and the good deeds done as Venom means that Flash wants that power to last...forcing him to test his own mental strength at the risk of being bonded with the murderous, cannibalistic symbiote for good.
There's no real word regarding which Venom we'll see on screen in 2018, but if they are looking for a more well-rounded tale, it might make sense to explore the Flash Thompson option instead of rehashing Eddie Brock's tenure, especially if this will be a film solely about Venom. Either way, Sony has decades of dynamic Venom stories it can put together, and hell, for the 90's babies who salivated whenever Venom was on their favorite cartoon or on the cover of their favorite comic book series, this movie will be a must-see.