Venomous Commissions

I was all business at WonderCon. Sure, I attended some panels, but those were chosen with a focus on the goal I had in front of me: HAND EVERYONE IN COMICS MY NEW ASHCAN. I almost succeeded. Got the book in the hands of a lot of people and all the usual suspects. Overall, a productive weekend.

During my stalking of editors, I must have passed the Image Comics booth forty times. Erik Larsen was there 90% of the time and 90% of that time he was doing commissions for fans. From my informal visual survey, I’d say 90% of those commissions featured Venom. I always associated Venom more directly with McFarlane than Larsen, but there’s no doubt he contributed to the iconography of the character. With a new Venom book out, I started thinking “is Venom a legitimate character with some sort of relatable pathos? Or did I just like him as a kid because he was “really cool”? I’m not sure. While I think about it, let’s look at some takes on Venom from Mister Larsen.

Nova. Sort of a Green Lantern rip? Sure. But occasionally interesting and full of potential? Also, yes. Rarely realized and probably not realized at all here. This was the final issue of this series and it ends with a battle against a character he’s not really connected to? Rush-job editing there. Also, what is it about this cover that’s making me sick? Is it the colors?

Here we go. A proper Amazing Spider-Man cover. Venom right up front. I know this is pointless and annoying, but how does Venom actually work? Like how does that mouth do that without splitting open the head of the man inside the suit? Any answer (besides “it’s a comic book!”) will do. I’ll even settle for some Superman “it’s because of Earth’s yellow sun” sort of baloney. Any answer. Anyway, Larsen has done his own thing for years. Is it good? Who can even tell at this point? He’s an institution.

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