Sympathy For The Symbiote

Marvel hired the guy that wrote Seabiscuit to script the Venom movie? Sounds like a shitbiscuit. Hey-ooo!

hijinks-ensue-godspeed-you-fancy-bastard-book-300x300I started reading Amazing Spider-Man in the mid-90’s and Venom was front and center for most of that time. One thing that sticks out in my head-parts is him constantly threatening to eat someone’s brains. Even the “talking” action figure that came out when I was in 5th grade said “We want to eat your brains!” He didn’t actually talk, but you could pull this strip of red tape through his enormous backpack to make him repeat garbled phrases. It actually sounded more like “WIWACHHHNNTOEEEEEUHHHBRACHCHCHCH!” Anyway, the point is how are they going to turn brain eating alien symbiote into a hero?

I read that Marvel did this in the 2000’s with a few Venom solo titles. I also know that there is little evidence that he actually ATE any brains. According this this CBR forum thread, Venom talked a big brain-eat game but never got around to closing the deal. At one point the symbiote (not Eddie/Venom) was feeding off human brain juice, but it turns out (I shit you not) that the same chemical was found in chocolate so Eddie Brock just kept some Hershey’s bars around to quench his better half’s brain thirst. This little tidbit might make you rethink your zombie survival plan.

I wonder if there was ever a “What if?” type comic where Peter Parker chose to bond with the symbiote permanently. That would have been cool. Speaking of cool, this movie will be the opposite of that. I can feel it in my Spider-sense, which is the sense that warns me when Spider-Man related movies with suck with the proportionate speed and strength of a spider that sucks.


Come see me this weekend if you are in or arround Austin, TX. I will have 3 separate appearances and would like to schedule a reader meetup lunch/coffee/whatever for Saturday afternoon (10/24). More info HERE.

I have added 2 new appearances in November. I will be at the West TX Comic-Con in Lubbock on 11/7/09 and the Dallas Webcomics Expo the following weekend (11/14).

I have also confirmed registration for Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle, March 13-14.


The service I use for my store seems to have misreported the number of Ultimate Fancy Editions of the book that were sold. Instead of 150 it looks like only 147 were ordered. I’ve spent the last few days frantically checking and rechecking Paypal logs and everything seems to point to my store just reporting the wrong number for no reason.
Bad news: books havent shipped yet because I’m terrified there are missing orders out there somewhere.
Good news: There may be 2-3 more UFE’s for sale soon. I will post on Twitter and the first two to respond will get first dibs. FOLLOW ME to get in on that action.
Other Bad news: When it’s all said and done, someone somewhere may not get an UFE they think the ordered, either because the paypal transaction never went through or some random eff up of the internet. If this turns out to be you I will find a way to make it up to you.

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  1. There was a “What If” issue (v2 #004) where Spider-Man was possessed by symbiont (against his will). No brain eating either… However symbiont ate a lot of energy of Peter Parker and Hulk. In consequence they died of old age.

  2. Didn't they already try the sympathetic anti-hero with The Punisher? Twice? The first one was acceptable but not exactly their best effort. And the second one, despite having Titus "Motherfuckin" Pullo from "Rome" as Frank Castle, still managed to be nothing more than a slasher flick with comic book trappings. Is there a problem with colorful, likeable heroes?

    • There in lies the problem with adapting the Punisher to film: it's not very different from any other generic shoot-em-up revenge action flick.

      • I mean, Punisher's not really a "superhero", as he doesn't get along with the real superheroes in Marvel, because of his motives and methods.

        • I think because of that fact if they use marvel Anti-hero's they have to have a hero like Spiderman to balance it out. I think that could be intriguing in the conflict. It always was in the comics when an Anti-hero and a Hero were forced to team up.

  3. There have been a couple of “What If?” stories along those lines. Vol 2 #114 was set 25 years after “Secret Wars”, the idea being that the heroes and villains were still stuck on the Beyonder’s planet and never made it back to Earth. That meant that Peter was still bonded to his new costume, and he creeped everyone out by saying “we” instead of “I” – when he got hit with a sonic blast, he was just a skeleton underneath the suit. Also, in “What If? The Other”, Peter got taken over by the symbiote after he died, and the new merged creature was called Poison.

    As for Venom as anti-hero, the basic theme was “Lethal Protector”: he would protect the innocent, and only use violence against bad guys.

      • Seriously, you absolutely need to hunt down Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #35. It's going to be cheap and easy to find (because adult comics fans sneer at the Marvel Adventures line due to its lack of angst), and it's the most awesome Venom story you will ever read.

        Venom decides to reform, and runs around trying to convince Spider-Man to let him be Spidey's sidekick. He actually keeps calling himself, "Venom: Lethal Protector!" And he's utterly deranged. Best moment: He stops a group of fleeing bank robbers by crashing their car, then shouts, "Your broken bones and pleas for mercy are no match for Venom…Lethal Protector!"

        It is better than any other Venom story by miles and miles and miles.

  4. Yeah a lot of writers for Marvel have tried to make Venom an anti-hero, the problem being another writer coming along and portaging him as a sociopath that eats people, also their have been a few different people to have the symbiote bond to them and Eddy Broke has been the only one to keep it under control, especially after carnage and his other spawn stared killing all of the east coast. Hopefully they do a descent job on it, but I have a feeling thier going to make him a emo monster to attract the Twilight crowed.

  5. Oh man, just the sight of this made me go into a giant coughing fit but so worth it.

    Other people have said this already but there were a couple "What If?" stories where he did bond permanently with the symbiote.

    They did do a heroic symbiote story that I liked, Carnage spawned off a new symbiote like Venom spawned Carnage. That symbiote bonded with a police officer and they become Toxin.

  6. Is he going to dance at a jazz club again? *UGH* I knew that movie was beyond saving when Peter started to snap his fingers and swing his hips… man, that was bad.

  7. Another good one, Joel. I don't see how they will pull it off after how Venom was beat in the last movie (KABOOM!!!).
    This portrayal of Venom in today's strip looks more in line with the Venom in the comics now, and he's not Eddie Brock! It's Mac Gargan (The Scorpion) & he's way more sociopathic and villainous. So much so, he somehow joined Norman Osborne's Thunderbolts (now Dark Avengers, as their Spider-Man).

  8. Have you noticed, whether you liked this or that film or not, that Hollywood as an entity (though not all the individuals) doesn't really seem to believe in the true good guy outside of kid's films much? Superman as an emotionally stunted peeping tom, Batman as a dark and tortured soul about as messed up inside as the criminals he hunts…. I think part of the reason Hollywood likes antiheroes so much is that Hollywood has lost its collective innocence far too much to know how to be pure anymore.

    • One of the basic assumptions of a full-length Hollywood movie is that the lead character needs to "arc." In other words, that character starts out with a character flaw, and during the events of the movie, he changes direction and becomes a better person by correcting that flaw. If you write a movie and you don't do this, even action movie writers will think you're a hack — movie protagonists who start out perfect and just keep on kicking ass all movie long tend to be boring, even by the standards of hack movies.

      Even if you loved at least the first one, the 90s Batman movies had an incredibly broken Batman character. He was boring as dirt and always did the right thing, which is why you could keep dropping random people in the Batman costume, and no one really cared. There was never really any emotional investment in the character.

      By contrast, Batman as a heroic but creepy character who won't always do the right thing is interesting. Peter Parker as someone who has trouble balancing his responsibilities, screws things up from time to time, and is occasionally invested a little too much in what the public thinks of Spider Man is interesting.

      That's a really awful interpretation of Superman, but Superman as an absolute paragon of virtue is a character that audiences find it difficult to identify with.

      • While I agree that a flat character devoid of flaws or a dynamic emotional arc is a prime example of what shouldn't ever happen in a movie (or book, or theatre), you also have to consider the fact that many times instead of creating a trully interesting character who is morally conflicted and interesting to the audience, the writer/director/idiot will instead infuse a lead (or even a secondary character or foil) with what amounts to nothing more than a gimmick or fad.

  9. WHY?! WHY CAN THEY NOT JUST DO MAXIMUM CARNAGE ON THE BIG SCREEN????!! I'll never understand why Hollywood doesn't just take awesome stories right out of the comics and turn them into movies.

  10. I suppose turning a villain into an "anti-hero" is better than turning a hero into one, like they've been doing with just about everyone lately.


  11. In my Finnish perspective Hollywood just likes to make the heroes somewhat min-max for the watcher. The greyscale is something to be avoided, and everyone has just black and white aspects in them, creating the character "grey" as a whole. If we take little aspects, we'll only see something black or something white.

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