Amazing Spider-Man #298-300 (1988): 1st Venom!

todd macfarlane spider-man
Enter Todd MacFarlane.  This is the first drawing he did of Spider-Man in a Marvel comic.

I read that Todd McFarlane really wanted to draw Spider-Man, but when he found out he’d be drawing him in the black costume, he pitched a fit and demanded a return to the classic blue-and-red.  By the way, I totally agree with him.  Why would Peter keep wearing the look of a costume that tried to kill him?

Anyway, these issues solve the problem by finally—after months and months of glimpses and teases—introducing Venom.

I’m not a huge fan of Venom, but I have to say: These issues are done right.  The character appears as a stalker, moving closer and closer to Spider-Man until he nearly kills him.

But first, there’s a silly sidebar with the godawful villain Chance.  It takes two issues to resolve it, but really the only reason to read it is that Venom keeps lurking in the background and we don’t know who he is yet.  Also, Peter and Mary Jane going to a party where they meet….

…Paul Shaeffer and Eddie Murphy of Saturday Night Live.

Through all of these, the character we will come to know as Venom appears at the sides of panels, or standing in shadows—constantly present, but not making himself known yet.  Like when he comes after Mary Jane, just to scare her…

Man, that’s creepy.

MJ is pretty shaken up.

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After that, we get the story moset people know because they read it, read about it, or saw the movie.

Big, long fight ending with a church bell to dispel Venom and have him recaptured by the Fantastic Four.  Great art, great one-liners, and genuine emotional relationships between MJ, Spidey, and Aunt May…This is where Dave Michelinie’s run goes from good to great.

Then, in the end, he finally decides wearing the black costume is inappropriate and Todd MacFarlane gets his wish…


Creators: David Michelinie, Todd McFarlane
Grade: A

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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