Granny Goodness, created by Jack Kirby, made her first appearance in Mister Miracle Vol. 1 #2. Most know her as the ruthless older woman who runs the orphanage on Apokolips like a daycare lady from Hell. Granny uses torture techniques and brainwashing to create some of Apokolips’ most fearsome warriors — most notably among them, her Female Furies. Her appearance could be considered to be devoid of sex appeal — almost always scowling, a bulky athletic build, forever covered from neck to toe. Ultimately, this depiction serves to make her less sympathetic, because “pretty privilege” even exists in comics. Also, her name is Granny, and, as we all know, women of a certain generation are not supposed to be desirable and function best as bitter older women.
Thanks to my friend Soph for putting me onto this.
Did you know that the first Marvel comic book was published in 1939 by Martin Goodman? Today, the number of Marvel comic books published is over 30,000. Check out this #IronQuest visualization by Pradeep Kumar G to learn about all of the “good” and “bad” characters that have appeared in Marvel comics over the years.
As Soph pointed out, only ~25% identified as female and ~6% agender, genderfluid (only 1 character) or unknown. There wasn’t any racial demographic data but I’m sure the disparity would have deepened further. For info on Black superheroes, check out my ongoing list.
Does your sock drawer lack panache? Cachet? Any other superfluous French word to describe taste? Then you need a pair that stands outs amongst your black and white socks and, ironically, a pair of Venom socks has both with hints of blue, red, and pink.
Okay, cheesy sales pitch over. These Venom socks are cool AF and, according to the Amazon listing, doesn’t require batteries which is what you want in a pair of cotton socks. They’re also safer than wearing a symbiote suit and becoming a homicidal anti-heroish alien-human hybrid monster. But if you were one already, wouldn’t a cosy pair of socks be the best thing ever?
And if you don’t believe me, check out some of the reviews:
Great print, great quality. These socks are soft, warm, have cushion, and a great classic tv version of Venom from the 90’! They are a bit tight at the first and the second times, but become more comfortable over the time. After 3-4 uses, they are now perfect and so comfortable! Love the print, love the quality. Worth the price!
I bought these for my 8 year old son and he loves them… I’m sure these where ment for a man but my son used them for crazy sock day and they fit comfortable
The upcoming Black Adam film isn’t set for release until December 2021 but who knows if that’ll delayed further. Until then, Dwayne Johnson revealed a new promo with awesome artwork to whet the appetites of fans.
What we also got was a look at some characters from the Justice Society of America including Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone (Atom Smasher was already confirmed). Yep, the JSA will be in this one. And there was a warning to Shazam and the Justice League:
“Things will never be the same. The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change.”
The Rock knows how to cut a promo and despite his reputation as a babyface, he can play a mean heel. BUT I’m not sure how to feel about this. I was excited when he announced he’d be playing Black Adam as I’m a huge fan of the JSA and Black Adam as a villain but I worry it’ll become Another Dwayne Johnson Film™ with a comic theme rather than a fantastic entry point for the JSA and one of their toughest enemies.
Watch the teaser below.
When it comes to supervillains, their evilness varies. Sometimes they come from the depths of Hell while others just want to have a laugh (like the Joker). They act as the literary opposites of their superhero counterparts in a semiotic relationship and no other villain personifies that trait than Venom, the alien inverse of Spider-Man.
Trigger warning: this article contains themes related to suicide and murder.
Who/what is Venom?
Venom is a sentient alien symbiote from the Marvel Universe and came out of a request from Marvel for readers to send ideas for its comics in 1982. A man named Randy Schueller answered the call and asked if Spider-Man could have “a new black costume made of unstable molecules”. A year later, and Schueller got his wish. From there the character developed from a black Spider-Man costume to a fully-fledged villain with an appetite for destruction and human heads (more on that latter).
Venom was introduced as the Symbiote in The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984) but didn’t get its first official appearance as Venom until The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988). Before then, the Symbiote was a regenerative suit for Spider-Man. It was shapeless, genderless, and took the molecular form of a viscous liquid, but could also mimic plain clothes. But it had a sinister secret: it could only survive when bonded with a host.
Peter Parker had the symbiotic costume examined by Reed Richards and the secret was revealed. Peter rejected the bonding and the Fantastic Four contained it. But of course, the Symbiote escaped and bonded to Peter again. With its weakness to sound waves, Peter used church bells to expel it from his body. Eventually, it found its most infamous host, Eddie Brock, and became the villain we know as Venom.
The best-known Venom host has had multiple storylines but the most common backstory is that Brock was a Daily Globe reporter (where Peter Parker was the photographer) and blamed Spider-Man for his career failure. He had worked on a story about Sin-Eater and believed he’d revealed his identity only to discover he was wrong.
Brock took up bodybuilding and worked for sleazy tabloids before contemplating suicide. While seeking solace in the church where Spider-Man rejected the Symbiote, it bonded with Brock after sensing his hatred for the web-slinger. He chose the name “Venom” due to the nature of his work.
Eddie Brock is one of many Venoms in the Marvel Universe. Other hosts have included:
- Mac Gargan as “Scorpion”
- Flash Thompson as “Anti-Venom”
- Lee Price as “Maniac”
- Ben Reilly as “Scarlet Spider”
- Anne Weying as “She-Venom” (Eddie Brock’s ex-wife)
- Patricia Robertson
- Angelo Fortunato
- Kulan Gath as “Kulan Venom”
The Symbiote’s backstory
Born in the 998th generation from a race of parasitic alien Symbiotes known as the Klyntar, the Venom Symbiote separated from its first host and was “deemed insane by its own race” after they found out it wanted to stay with its host rather than drain it of its life (heavily frowned upon in the alien Symbiote community). It was imprisoned on Battleworld to keep it from dirtying the gene pool.
Venom’s family includes the following Symbiotes:
- Carnage (the “child”)
- Toxin (Carnage’s “child”, and therefore Venom’s “grandchild” so to speak)
- Scorn (another Carnage spawn)
- Mania (born from Venom’s tongue which got cut off in a battle with The Thing)
- Anti-Venom (a hybrid of Venom and Flash Thompson’s white blood cells, fused together by Mister Negative)
- Hybrid (a combination of the previous 5)
- Sleeper (born from one of Venom’s seeds)
Is Venom good or evil?
It’s a difficult question to answer outright as there’s a spectrum of good and evil but I can say Venom isn’t good. Venom’s existence relies on feeding off a host; it’s a monstrous leech capable of killing. But the Symbiote has shown moments where it has cared for its host. When Peter Parker rang the church bell to repel it, the Symbiote left his body and moved him to safety before finding someone else.
Venom has also shown anti-hero tendencies, predominately in film adaptations, likely in order for viewers to warm to the character. His notable roles as an anti-hero in the comics came in 1993 and 1994 when he made peace with Spider-Man who saved his ex-wife, Anne Weying, saving homeless people from the Symbiote spawns, and to help Spider-Man defeat Carnage in Separation Anxiety.
Venom in popular culture
Venom: The Movie
Let’s cut to the chase – Venom wasn’t great. It was Sony’s second stab at the character (this one played by Tom Hardy) and they blew it, even if they did finally execute that anti-hero arc. But we’re getting a sequel (delayed until 2021) and Carnage will feature, played by Woody Harrelson who is even more evil.
But Venom’s first live-action film appearance came in Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace. The film was widely panned and spelt the end of any further films in the series as it was later rebooted (twice).
Venom has been a character in the following video games:
- The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (Mega-CD/Sega CD version)
- Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage and Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety
- The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes
- Spider-Man (1995)
- Spider-Man (2000)
- Ultimate Spider-Man (2002)
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1998)
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
- Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
- Spider-Man 3
- Spider-Man: Friend or Foe
- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
- Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
- Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
- Marvel Heroes
- LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes
- LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes 2
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
- Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes
- Marvel: Future Fight
- Marvel Puzzle Quest
- Spider-Man Unlimited
- Marvel Avengers Academy
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
- Marvel Contest of Champions
- Venom: A Desiring Machine [PDF]
- 7 Venom Stories You Should Read
- Venom: The Best and Worst of Eddie Brock
What more can we expect from Venom?
From leeching alien to oddly loveable monster pet, Venom is a disparate future for Spider-Man in the movies, as long as Venom stays with Sony. But everywhere else, Venom is more than just Spidey’s adversary and there’s plenty of life left in the jet black symbiote.
You might have heard of the machete order for watching Star Wars movies. The idea is you watch the Star Wars movies in a certain order that makes more sense to the overall storyline and fills in knowledge gaps. Well, there’s now one for the X-Men movies. It’s a good idea on the surface since the X-Men franchise suffered from similar issues to Star Wars but on a wider scale. Lots of confusing plot lines, weak character development, unnecessary character development, way too many Wolverine movies.
James Nghiem put together his own machete order and the biggest positive that stands out for me is the omission of X-Men: Origins and The Wolverine. In fact, his order captures the true essence of the “machete” in that it cuts out a lot of the movies. The final order will be controversial to some fans but any change to the default will ruffle some feathers.
I’ll spoil the order but you’ll have to read his article on NonDoc to find out his reasoning. Do you agree with this order? Let us know in the comments and if not, what should it be instead?
James Nghiem’s Machete Order for Fox’s X-Men
- X-Men: First Class
- Days of Future Past
CONTENT WARNING: This article may contain spoilers or descriptions that may be distressing for some readers.
I have a casual interest in comic books. It has waned over the years but I still like the stories and love the art. The relationship between Spider-Man, Venom, and Carnage is my favourite of all comic book stories. While Venom remains my favourite villain of all time, I know little about Carnage in comparison. I knew Cletus Kasady was a serial killer but nothing about who he killed or why. Then I found this video.
Variant Comics is run by a team of two comic book lovers, Arris Quinones and Tim Connolly. For this “Most Evil Carnage Moments” video, Arris delves into the mind and behaviour of Carnage and I think I need to see a psychiatrist. He is pure evil! Cletus’ back story stems from the classic “neglected as a child” trope. This spawned a murderous spree including pushing his grandmother down the stairs, killing animals, and even… throwing a baby out of a window. Thankfully, Venom saved the baby as he partnered with Spider-Man to stop him.
Could Carnage feature in the Venom movie sequel? If it does, it’d be interesting to see how far they push that story – from a purely subjective point of view of course.
Stream it below.