Comic book artist and Venom co-creator Todd McFarlane shared a video today in which he detailed how the idea for the now-iconic character was brought about by his personal resentment for Spider-Man's iconic black costume.
McFarlane's disdain for Spider-Man's black costume is fairly well known, and he has been vocal about preferring the character's classic red and blue look. However, the story he tells on Instagram makes it clear just how badly he wanted Peter Parker to ditch the outfit. In the process of getting what he wanted, he also created Venom, the new character who would inherit the black costume look shortly after he began his run drawing Amazing Spider-Man.
"I came into the Spider-Man office after doing the Hulk and they wanted me to do Spider-Man," McFarlane explained. "But he was in this black costume. I didn't wanna draw this black costume. It meant nothing to me. I wanted to draw the red and blue... So, they said, 'Todd, if you just come on at #298 we promise that maybe we can get rid of it.' And I go, 'Well let's just get rid of it fast!"
"So, I did a character... I ripped the costume off him... I did this character called Venom, handed it to David Michelinie, the writer, and they said, 'Just hold on, hold on, hold on,'" he continued. "So, then, all of a sudden I do #298, he's still in the black, #299, he's still in the black, finally #300, look I even said here on the cover sketch, 'Can we do one in the black and the red? Come on, I want to do the black and the red.' And they said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, fine.'"
"So, essentially, #300 is the origin of Venom," said McFarlane. "But to me, it's 'How the hell do we get this goddamn black costume off Peter Parker?' issue."
In universe, even after disposing of the original black suit (aka the alien costume) upon learning it was a symbiote trying to permanently bond to him, Peter Parker created a thread version of the costume to continue wearing. However, once it was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #300 that the symbiote had found its way to Eddie Brock, effectively birthing Venom, Peter abandoned the suit after the identical-looking villain terrified his wife, Mary Jane.
After drawing Spider-Man in the black suit one last time in Amazing Spider-Man #300, McFarlane drew a more classic Spider-Man in the exact same pose for the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #301. Considering that Venom quickly became one of Marvel's defining figures, McFarlane was right to trust his instincts.