Spider-Man has one of the more distinguished and varied rogues’ galleries in comic book history, a villainous roll call that includes everyone from the Green Goblin to Doctor Octopus and Kraven the Hunter. One, however, stands above all the rest. The alien symbiote called Venom has been a thorn in Peter Parker’s side since the 1980s, and still ranks to this day among the webslinger’s primary nemeses, particularly on the occasions when he’s bonded to human host Eddie Brock. While he showed up in the much-maligned “Spider-Man 3,” Venom has more recently become the star of his own film franchise — one that, to this point, has not involved Spider-Man. The two are still indelibly linked together, however, and no matter how many adventures he has on his own, Venom will always be considered Spider-Man’s deadliest enemy.
So it might come as a shock to you (especially if you haven’t been following Marvel Comics over the years) that things are far more nuanced than that. In fact, Spider-Man and Venom have a relationship that can best be described as “love/hate” — theirs is a story of attachment and loss, of connection and rejection. In some ways, it can be seen as a twisted romantic allegory, a warning about what can happen when love turns to loathing, but it also, surprisingly, has a happy ending (at least for now). What’s the true history between Spider-Man and Venom? It’s time to find out.