The new Venom movie is here and it’s one of out Top Gamer Movies of 2018 (full list here)! And it’s a chance for Tom Hardy to fix what Topher Grace visually scarred into my memory. The director Ruben Fleischer, clearly believes in paying tribute to the original Venom comic books. He was a big fan of the comics and revealed a number of rather obscure Easter Eggs well before the film even came out. As a result, Venom is incredibly faithful to the original Venom comics.
The basic plot of the film is taken directly from the first Venom miniseries that came out in 1993. In addition, Fleischer packed the film with tons of Easter Eggs and clever references that longtime Venom fans will instantly recognize. Some of these bits are just outright adapting plots from old Venom comics, however, there are also smaller bits that you would miss if you did not know that they were intended to be references to the comics. See how many of these that you caught in the film! As always, major spoilers.
This one is blink-and-you-miss-it, but if you’re paying close enough attention to the beginning of Venom, you might catch a name dropped in reference to the catastrophic crash that brings the symbiotes to Earth. One of the scientists in the cleanup crew mentions that the craft had been piloted by “Jameson,” which, in any other circumstance would probably just be a throwaway line–but not here.
The name Jameson is actually a shout-out to comics character John Jameson who, in addition to being the son of J. Jonah Jameson (yes, that J. Jonah Jameson) was also the astronaut famous for bringing the symbiotes to Earth.
The Daily Globe
In the comics, Eddie was a columnist at the Daily Globe who was disgraced once he did a series of interviews with a man who confessed to being the sociopathic Sin-Eater. Once the real Sin-Eater was taken down by Spider-Man, Brock looked like a fool and he lost his job. Naturally, Eddie decided his mistake was all Spider-Man‘s fault. His career was ruined and he was forced to sink to tabloid levels just to make a living, all while bodybuilding to reduce the stress. The end result was a super jacked, super angry ex-journalist who just so happened to be the perfect host for a vengeful alien symbiote. Look out for the dumbbells littered on the floor as well.
Speaking of the Daily Globe, the newspaper actually showed up in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man decades before Eddie Brock was introduced. You see, in Amazing Spider-Man #27, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee had Peter Parker grow sick of dealing with J. Jonah Jameson. So he decided to sell his photographs of Spider-Man to a different newspaper. The editor there was named Barney Bushkin. The problem for Peter was that Bushkin was a lot more inquisitive as to how Peter got his photos, so Peter stopped using him.
As noted, the idea of a symbiote existed before Michelinie and McFarlane. That idea goes all the way back to when Spider-Man was first given a black costume during Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars. The black costume, though, was actually a fan creation. It came about thanks to a fan by the name of Randy Schueller who wrote to Marvel with his idea. The symbiote stuff came later, but the black costume was all Randy.
In the film, therefore, Eddie Brock’s apartment is called the Schueller Building. It is a very cool tribute to an important contributor to the history of Venom who was unknown for almost two decades!
Tribute To The Creators
The law firm at which Anne works also represents The Life Foundation – the firms of Michelinie and McFarlane, as in Mike and Todd, the creators of Venom, respectively. Plenty of other comic writers and artists have handled the character and its related symbiotes since, but Eddie’s early struggles with his Other, and the visual design of Venom belongs to Michelinie and McFarlane.
Ann Weying first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #375, created by David Michelinie and Mark Bagley. Rather than being Eddie’s former fiancée, she was his ex-wife. In the storyline Venom: Sinner Takes All, she was badly wounded by a new Sin-Eater and Eddie had to use the symbiote to heal her. As She-Venom, she mercilessly slaughtered some vagrants who attacked Eddie. Upon being freed from the alien’s influence, she took her actions a lot harder and it haunted her enough that she eventually took her own life.
For all of the variations of symbiotes, there is sure to be none more appreciated than the combination of symbiote… and a Papillion puppy. The dog, named Gemini (which is a clever bit of foreshadowing) is accompanying its owner in the hospital where Anne’s new boyfriend is employed. When the symbiote is separated, it sneaks through an air vent until encountering the next stable life form available: Gemini.
Sadly, only the dog’s determined walk and a brief glimpse of the black and white of the symbiote sliding across Gemini’ s eyes is offered up for fans. However, it’s still a fantastic homage to the grand tradition of symbiote dogs, which are seen in the comics. However, whether it’s the War Dog Lasher in a modern Carnage epic or the dog Venom adheres to in order to escape the arctic colds, neither has been so brilliant as to combine this insatiable monster and one of the most objectively dainty and adorable breeds.
As soon as he was introduced, Venom would always make a big deal about how he was going to eat people’s brains. However, he never actually ate people’s brains. it was just something he would do to scare people. That changed, though, in the miniseries Venom: The Hunger, when Venom suddenly started eating actual brains!
It turned out that he was addicted to a certain chemical that existed in brains. That same chemical was available in chocolate, so once that was figured out, Venom didn’t have to eat brains from that point forward. The movie makes a clever reference to this at the end of the film when Venom agrees to not eat people anymore. It will suffice with “chocolate and tater tots.”
Eyes, Lungs, Pancreas
The line “eyes, lungs, pancreas–so many snacks, so little time!” may be cheesy, but it’s also a direct reference to the comics. And not just a reference–that exact dialogue was lifted straight from Amazing Spider-Man #374 by David Michelinie and Mark Bagley – that led to the original Venom miniseries, with Venom and Spider-Man making an uneasy truce with each other. Venom says it to Spider-Man instead of some random goon, but hey, at least the quote made it through!
Venom‘s first post-credits scene reveals Woody Harrelson playing a prisoner in a maximum security facility. He never properly introduces himself, but comics fans will clock right away–even before he utters the telling “there’s gonna be carnage” line–that he’s playing Cletus Kasady, the insane killer who goes on to become Carnage. As one of Venom‘s most iconic foes, Carnage is a hulking bright red symbiotic beast who has none of the moral qualms Venom does about Eddie’s general resistance to killing. As a serial killer and sociopath, Cletus and his symbiote are only interested in spilling as much blood as they can.
Bonus: DC Crossover
Ann mentions sonics as being Venom’s Kryptonite. Considering that Kryptonite is a fabrication of the DC-verse this could be a comic book reference to the first ever Marvel and DC crossover in Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man (1976). In the comic Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus, both recently thrown in jail by their respective heroes, decide to team up and pit them against each other. Later, when Clark Kent and Peter Parker are both covering the same news story, they are tricked into suiting up and going up against each other.