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The Real Reason Venom Is So Insane

There are questions that folks have been asking about the Marvel universe for decades. Where does Tony Stark find the time to carefully sculpt his goatee every morning? Does "whatever a spider can" imply that Peter Parker has the ability to get squished by a newspaper? Why is Venom, from an academic perspective, so bananas?

Venom has been tantalizing comic book fans since his debut in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man No. 299 way back in 1988. The basics of his background are pretty boilerplate stuff: When Spider-Man was transported to Battleworld by the cosmic entity known as the Beyonder during Marvel's Secret Wars storyline, he replaced his battle-damaged red and blue uni with a shape-changing black and white number, seemingly provided by an automated alien clothier. In truth, the monochromatic duds were a living organism, a "symbiote" from another planet, inadvertently trapped on Battleworld and bonded to Spider-Man by chance. When New York's favorite webslinger discovered that his duds were a potentially dangerous extraterrestrial parasite, he forcibly removed the symbiote, which skulked off to bond with Parker's work rival, Eddie Brock, becoming the brooding, drooling, largely misunderstood antihero Venom.

Between Brock's professional jealousy and the symbiote's feelings of abandonment, there was already plenty of justification for Venom's lunacy. "Hell hath no fury like sentient Gak scorned," as they say. But like any sufficiently enthralling comic book character, this gooey pile of teeth and tongue has had his backstory reexamined a few dozen times since his introduction. There's more to Venom's madness than just an angry photographer and a hungry interstellar loogie getting chocolate on one another's peanut butter. The instability comes from eons of trauma, a malevolent elder god, and, unavoidably, Deadpool.

Venom came from a problematic family

In the (Marvel multiverse) beginning, there was nothing. To be fair, there was a lot of it, but tons of nothing just can't hold a candle to a whole bunch of anything, and the Celestials started making stuff. This frustrated the elder god Knull, who was really enjoying the quiet.

Knull, being the mustache-twirling, melodrama-loving variety of bad guy, created the Klyntar, better known now as the symbiotes. The plan was simple enough. Amassing an army of the creatures, he would send them from civilization to civilization, wiping out entire planets. The more level-headed Klyntar rebelled and started their own thing, a galactic peacekeeping force manned by noble hosts bonded with like-minded symbiotes.

Then, things got complicated. The Klyntar soon realized that the bonding process, which was undeniably rad when done correctly, could corrupt both the symbiote and the host if either one had "unworthy" leanings. If a symbiote latched onto a jerk, it would reawaken the violent tendencies baked into the ball of goop by its nasty space god father figure.

Eddie Brock was already in a bad way when the Venom symbiote found him. Suicidally depressed, homicidally enraged, and ostracized by his peers after some shady reporting work, he came pre-loaded with instability that could have been what pushed the alien over the edge.

Or, to quote what seems like every Marvel pitch meeting in the last ten years, "Maybe Deadpool did it."

Venom might have had a little Deadpool in him (but then, who hasn't?)

In 2015, Marvel revisited the events of their Secret Wars series with Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars. The premise: The Merc with the Mouth was actually involved in the crossover all along, despite not having been created until seven years after the original comic's publication.

Secret Secret Wars saw Wade Wilson going toe to toe — and occasionally toe to crotch — with some of Marvel's most well known villains. Deadpool took down Kang the Conqueror and Absorbing Man, yanked the tail off the Lizard, and emptied a handgun into Thunderball's mouth. After going a few rounds, he was pointed towards a familiar machine, capable of creating new clothing for its user with just a thought.

Inevitably, Deadpool wound up saddled with the same symbiote that would later be worn by Spider-Man. He utilized the alien's shapeshifting abilities to put on a one-man fashion show before realizing that it was a living thing, and removed it when he sensed that it was "feeding" on his thoughts. Stating that it wasn't fair to trap a sentient being in his decidedly messed up head, he put the symbiote back where he found it, saying, "I hope communicating with my brain doesn't mess this thing up! Whatever this thing is, I'd hate to think my twisted psyche might have driven it nuts or something!"

On his way out of the room, Deadpool pointed Spider-Man in the direction of the machine, reminding him that "black is slimming." Wade's presence would later be wiped from everyone's memories, but the implication was clear enough: 30 seconds in Deadpool's brain is enough to drive anyone nuts.