Back in Black: The History of Venom

Hey folks, Venom has a movie coming out! And no matter how not excited I personally am for that, I have to acknowledge that I really do like the character of Venom. Venom is perhaps the most enduring Marvel villain created since the nineties, rapidly rising to the ranks of arch-enemy, anti-hero, and series protagonist. Throughout the 2010s, he’s had several ongoing series, racking up more than 150 issues of his adventures. But watching how a character matures and evolves is its own thing, and with Venom it’s even more interesting. If you’ve read my histories of the Infinity Gems or Captain America’s Shield, then this will be a familiar format. We pick an object, we look at it, we go over where it’s been and who’s owned it over an extended period of time. But, to cover Venom, we must start a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…


Chapter One: Being An Evil Goo Monster

Venom wouldn’t have been Venom without needless retcons about his origins. So let’s talk about Klyntar.

What’s Klyntar, you might ask? Oh, Klyntar is the planet full of goo monsters that Venom comes from. However Venom was too much of a dick for the other goo monsters so they exiled him to be abducted by a series of evil warrior hosts who all slowly taught Venom to be an aggressive monster. An important note is that, while I’ve been referring to the symbiote as Venom this whole time, that’s more for convenience than anything else. It doesn’t have a real name and since I don’t want to keep figuring out how to refer to it, I’m just going to call it Venom. All good? Cool.

Eventually, Venom was imprisoned in a strange machine by the other symbiotes, which was either because it was evil and insane, or because it was too nice. Look, comic book retcons are all dumb and bad and confusing and make writing articles like this super hard. Do you know how hard it is to figure out what “matters” in terms of comic book continuity? Really hard!

Eventually, the strange machine was grabbed up by the Beyonder to make his patchwork battle royale arena for the cosmic event, Secret Wars.