In the latest Legends Revealed comic, find out the surprising reason the 1990s Venom miniseries series came to an end
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and fifty-sixth episode where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions.
The Venom miniseries series ended while making money because Marvel’s editor didn’t like Venom having its own series.
I go with true
In an old “Remember to Forget” I highlighted the issues with 1993’s Amazing Spider-Man #375 (by David Michelinie, Mark Bagley, and Randy Emberlin), but to jog your memory, in the issue, Venom kidnapped what appear to be Peter Parker’s parents (they turned out to be robots, which is quite another thing) to “protect” them from Spider-Man…
So Spider-Man goes to Eddie Brock’s ex-wife, Anne, and she gives him a clue as to where Venom is probably hiding (it’s at an amusement park they often went to). Spidey heads to the amusement park and Anne follows him, but Silver Sable’s Wild Pack shows up to take down Venom (Venom, of course, thinks Spider-Man led them there)…
One of the Wild Pack almost kills Venom with a sonic gun, but Anne actually disables the guy. But then, a tower weakened during the fight begins to fall and Venom isn’t strong enough to stop it from crushing Anne…
In stages, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to save the day, what kind of break Venom’s brain, as Spider-Man saved an innocent?!? !
So Anne convinces Eddie/Venom to make a deal with Spider-Man…
If Venom promises to leave Spider-Man (and his family) alone, then Venom will be heading to another city and Spider-Man must promise to leave him alone. Spider-Man sort of agrees to this deal…
This was obviously a pretty distinct betrayal of Spider-Man’s whole “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra, because here he allows a killer to break free simply because he promises to let Spider- Man alone and, I guess, only kill other bad guys? And only on the other side of the country? In an article by Craig Shutt in Wizard #72, Tom Brevoort noted, “It was a pretty arbitrary way to go, and it was only done because the powers that be wanted a Venom book.”
Yes, as Brevoort notes, Venom had become so popular that Marvel had to think of a way to get Venom its own book (because, again, it was so popular. When I was writing about guest stars to boost sales a while ago, Venom up there in terms of guest stars boosting sales). Venom was so popular that Marvel was basically wasting money NOT giving him his own book. . It’s a challenge, because these characters can achieve certain objectives, but they can’t triumph.”
The introduction of Carnage, as a psychotic offshoot of Venom, was done in part to give Marvel a replacement villain now that Venom was stepping into antihero status. Howard Mackie noted in this same Wizard article, “I think the question should always be asked, ‘Does turning this villain into a hero serve a role that another hero can’t? If so, could we create a new hero and have a better character? It’s nothing else, the trend is reducing the number of cool villains. As a writer, I don’t think we have enough good villains like that. They gave Venom its own book, so they had to create Carnage to compensate. Where does it all end?”
In the case of Venom, it ended with Venom: Final…
and its follow-up Spider-Man: The Venom Program…
which each came out at the end of 1997. It was the end of Venom’s series of miniseries in the 1990s which, in effect, constituted an ongoing series. Larry Hama was the series’ lead writer (after David Michelinie wrote the opening miniseries), and various artists were involved, including Tom Lyle, Kyle Hotz, and Scott Hood.
But you see, neither Tom DeFalco (Marvel’s editor-in-chief when Venom first got its own series) nor his successor, Bob Harras, were all comfortable with Venom having its own series. Tom Brevoort, who was the editor of the Venom miniseries when it ended, then explained to Wizard that’s what led to the show’s cancellation, not that it sold poorly (it sold better than many Marvel books at the time and was still in the Top 100 comic book sales ), but didn’t sell well enough to counter Bob Harras’ predisposition to Venom not having a series. As Brevoort noted of the cancellation, “The return on the book dwindled to the point where any immediate financial rewards were overshadowed by Bob’s discomfort with the featured character in his own title.”
Thanks to Craig Shutt, Tom Brevoort and Howard Mackie for the information! I wrote about this many years ago in a comic book dictionary article, but realized it was also interesting enough for a caption.
SOME MORE LEGENDS OF ENTERTAINMENT!
Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:
1. Did Zack Snyder really say he couldn’t get into “normal comics” when he was younger because of the lack of sex and murder?
2. Was Seinfeld’s female lead replaced because it wasn’t “sexy” enough?
3. Was dance star Juliet Prowse really mauled by the same Jaguar twice?
4. Did a typo accidentally make Rudolph’s TV public domain special?
PART TWO COMING SOON!
Check back soon for part 2 of the legends of this episode!