Each day in February, Dibbs is showcasing iconic comic book issues that you should collect! Today’s comic is The Amazing Spider-Man #300! This marks the first FULL appearance of Venom!
More comics are coming to the collectibles digital marketplace in the coming months, but be sure to grab some fracs of The Incredible Hulk #181, the first appearance of Wolverine now available on Dibbs!
In 1982, Marvel held a competition for fans to submit new ideas for the Marvel Universe. 22-year-old fan Randy Schueller won with his suggestion of giving Spider-Man a new, black suit. Schueller had also suggested an origin story, but Marvel ultimately decided to take Peter Parker’s new duds in a different direction. The choice was not a popular one and fans immediately wrote letters complaining when the new suit first premiered in ASM #252 well before the origins of the suit could be explained in Secret Wars #8.
After severely damaging his original costume in Battleworld, Spider-Man finds what appears to be a fabric replicator. The machine instead consumes Peter in a black gunk, which eventually takes the shape of his suit and gives him additional powers and abilities. So much for super-awesome-free-alien-goo-suits, though, because Reed Richards discovers that Spider-Man’s new black suit is really an alien symbiotic life form. What's worse is that the life form was slowly trying to permanently bond to Peter’s body.
After Richards successfully removes the symbiote from Parker’s body, the alien lifeform escapes only to find its way back to bonding with Spider-Man’s. In a last ditch effort to part ways, Spidey swings to the top of a church and rings their bells. This causes the symbiote to finally detach and seek a new host. That new host would allow the alien entity to permanently bond with it, thus creating Venom.
Web of Spider-Man #18 was Venom’s first cameo. He would later make a last page cameo in ASM #299, but ASM #300 was the character's first full-story appearance.
The story opens up on Mary Jane Watson crying in a corner, terrified of someone coming towards her. It turns out to be Peter Parker, and her fears are quickly assuaged. MJ explains that a Spider-Man lookalike barged in earlier and held her hostage while he looked around for Peter. She claims that the imposter also had the ability to grow a mouth on his mask. Peter calms MJ down, and decides to take her to a hotel for the next few days until things settle down.
Meanwhile, Eddie Brock climbs through his apartment window while talking to the symbiote. He explains that they’ll see Spider-Man soon, and in the meantime he’ll workout to be in shape enough to kill him. Later that night, Peter is up trying to figure out who this “clone” could possibly be. His mind goes back to his time on Battleworld during the Secret Wars, and he arrives on the notion that this could be the symbiote he thought he had destroyed.
Some random things happen during the next few days. Venom kills a cop in a church, MJ and Peter move into a new condo, the two visit Aunt May for dinner, and they invite all their friends to help them move in. After the move-in, everyone stays for a housewarming party. Spider-Man sees Venom while talking on his new balcony, and immediately excuses himself.
Spider-Man confronts Venom in an old abandoned building. It’s revealed to Peter that Venom is actually Eddie Brock and that Brock wants revenge for embarrassing him and making him lose his job. He had tried everything to get over it, but nothing worked. He went to take his own life, but as he was praying the symbiote bonded with him. The two fight, but ultimately Spider-Man is knocked unconscious as he tries to flee.
Peter wakes up attached to the bells in the church above, the same bells that almost destroyed the symbiote the first time. Eddie explains that when midnight hits the bell will swing back and crush Peter. Spider-Man escapes at the last second, and rushes to find Venom. Peter devises a plan to make Venom run out of webbing which weakens him and allows Spider-Man to knock him out.
Peter takes Brock and the symbiote over to The Fantastic Four’s home, where the Thing secures it before shipping it to The Vault. Peter returns home to MJ, who asks him to get rid of the black suit. He agrees, and is shown donning his original red suit.
Venom went on to be one of fans' favorite Spider-Man villains and inspired several spin-offs, video games, cartoons, and movies. Todd McFarlane’s original artwork from ASM #300 is still synonymous with the character today, and many claim that his version of Spider-Man and Venom are the best the comic has ever seen.
Read More Venom
Venom: Carnage Unleashed by Larry Hama and Andrew Wildman