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When Did Venom's Tongue First Begin to Stretch in the Comics?

In "When We First Met", we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

When you think about Venom or see the character drawn in comic books, a common sight with the character is his elongated tongue, which certain artists take to an almost absurd degree of stretching it out from his mouth.

RELATED: New Venom Trailer Shows the Symbiote in Action

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Here are just a handful of examples, just from the most recent Venom series (the one that started with a new #1 but then picked up its legacy numbering with Venom #150. By the way, when a character has mostly had miniseries his entire comic book life, it seems odd to credit him with "legacy numbering")...

See? A variety of artists working in a variety of style and yet they each made sure to draw Venom with a big ol' tongue hanging out of his mouth, with some of them drawing his tongue stretching to a crazy new level of grossness.

However, guess what? As much as you might think that that is just how Venom has always looked, it is not.

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RELATED: The Venom Trailer Gets One Thing Very, Very Wrong, and It’s Driving Us Crazy

When the sym-bye-oat (as I like to call it since seeing the trailer. I'm in solidarity with Jenny Slate!) first appeared and took control of Spider-Man, like in Web of Spider-Man #1, it did not have a face or a tongue or anything, it was just a black Spider-Man costume...

The design of the symbiote followed how Ron Frenz drew it in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. No mouth, no teeth, no nothing...

By the way, seriously, Spider-Man? It haunted you for the rest of your life? You forgot about it the next day. Admit it!

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I bring this up mostly just to note how important Todd McFarlane is to the development of Venom. You all know this already, I imagine, but it bears repeating, the character that Todd McFarlane drew at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #299 was waaaaaaaaaay different than just the symbiote possessing another person. This was a whole new creature...

However, notice anything about this famous drawing of Venom? You don't see his tongue at all!!

RELATED: How Tom Hardy’s Venom Stacks Up Against Spider-Man 3’s Version

Yep, all throughout the classic Amazing Spider-Man #300, Venom barely opens his mouth. This page here has the biggest view into Venom's mouth, and his tongue acts normally in the issue...

Clearly, Todd McFarlane knew how cool the big toothy smile that he gave Venom was that he just leaned into it throughout the issue and he's totally right, it's an awesome look....

However, it is categorically not the famous look for the character that we're so used to, that combination of that giant smile AND the long tongue hanging out of his mouth that the movie trailer has so accurately captured. So, the question then becomes, when did that part of the design come about? Do you all have your guesses? Well, buckle up and get the answer!

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