Venom (created by Todd McFarlane, Mike Zeck, and David Michelinie) was originally brought to Earth by Spider-Man as an alternate costume and the strange Symbiote alien took on a life of its own.
At first Venom was a crazy parasite that followed Spider-Man around because it wanted to be just like Spidey, but many have bonded with and donned the Venom mantle as both a villain and a hero.
Eddie Brock, a struggling journalist, was the second and most popular recipient of the Venom Symbiote after Peter Parker rejected the poor thing.
Because a symbiote can bond with who ever it wants, we've seen Venom bond with Army Corporal Flash Thompson and serve with Agents of SHIELD and Guardians of The Galaxy as a "good guy," career criminal Mac Gargan, and the supervillain war veteran Lee Price in Marvel's newest book.
We're assuming he has motives to be a supervillain because as soon as Lee Price bonds with Venom, he goes on a violent murdering spree.
With the new Marvel Now comic book run simply called Venom written by Mike Costa and penciled by Gerardo Sandoval getting plenty of attention, we decided to gather some Venom history for new readers with Must-Read Venom Comics Book Collections...
Spider-Man: Birth Of Venom
The Beyonder's Battleworld might seem a strange place to get new threads, but it's Spider-Man who becomes unraveled when his shape-changing costume attempts to darken his life as well as his fashion sense!
But ridding himself of his riotous raiment proves an even greater mistake when its alien enmity bonds with mortal madness to form our hero's most dedicated decimator! Plus: the first appearances of Puma and the Rose! Mary Jane Watson's startling secret! And the debut of the battling...Bag-Man!?
Guest-starring the Black Cat, the Fantastic Four and more!
Collects Secret Wars #8; Amazing Spider-Man #252-259, #298-300 & #315-317; Fantastic Four #274 and Web of Spider-Man #1
Venom: Lethal Protector
Venom - alien symbiote and defender of the innocent! When Eddie Brock heads West, there's no shortage of enemies waiting to test his resolve - including the Jury! Plus: Spider-Man meets Venom's father! And Venom gives birth to a whole new horde of sinister symbiotes!
It's the original Venom in his first - and deadliest - solo series!
Collecting VENOM: LETHAL PROTECTOR #1-6.
Venom by Rick Remender: The Complete Collection Volume 1
Flash Thompson is Spider-Man's biggest fan. That hero worship inspired him to join the Army, where he became a decorated war hero. And though he lost his legs, Flash never lost his dignity - or his desire to serve. Now, the government has offered him a chance to don the alien Venom symbiote and be a hero once again!
Now, Flash Thompson is Venom, the government's most lethal special operative. But Flash soon finds himself losing control of his own mind to the symbiote! And when his nemesis Jack O'Lantern blackmails Flash into serving the merciless Crime-Master, can Venom complete his mission and save his loved ones?
Plus: What if the Venom symbiote bonded with...Deadpool?
COLLECTING: Venom (2011) 1-12, Venom/Deadpool: What If? 1
Venom: The Enemy Within
After turning over a new leaf and vowing to protect the innocent, Eddie Brock and his alien symbiote stalk the streets of San Francisco looking for trouble as Venom - and boy, do they find it in these action-packed tales!
It's a veritable who's-who of Spider-Man's deadliest foes as Venom goes toe-to-toe with the Punisher, Juggernaut, Demogoblin, and Morbius the Living Vampire! But when Eddie Brock bonds with yet another parasitic life-form, will he succumb to madness - or can he conquer the enemy within?
Plus: Venom takes on the ever-incredible Hulk, in a rare and never-before-reprinted tale written by legendary Hulk scribe Peter David!
COLLECTING: Venom : Funeral Pyre 1-3, Venom: The Madness 1-3, Venom: The Enemy Within 1-3, Incredible Hulk & Venom 1
The serial-killing symbiote's sadistic spree starts here! As if Venom wasn't lethal enough, imagine what would happen if his symbiotic "other" had been joined to a murderous psychopath?
That's where Cletus Kasady comes in, as Venom's symbiotic spawn transforms him into Carnage, Spider-Man's sickest foe!
Killing on a whim, Carnage is a painful, twisted thorn in the sides of Peter Parker, Ben Reilly, Venom...even the Silver Surfer!
COLLECTING: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) 361-363, 410, 430-431; VENOM: CARNAGE UNLEASHED 1-4; CARNAGE: MIND BOMB; CARNAGE: IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE; SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN (1996) 3; SPIDER-MAN (1990) 67; SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) 233; PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN (1999) 13; WEBSPINNERS: TALES OF SPIDER-MAN 13-14