When writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz first conceptualized the sentient extraterrestrial known as Venom, the idea was to involve the best of two disciplines: the quiet desperation of science fiction and the savagery of monster horror. The end result was a synergic blend of both -- the perfect marriage of cinematic sci-fi and Lovecraftian body horror. Unfortunately, that was over 30 years ago, and although we've had two film adaptations capitalizing on the symbiote's popularity, we have yet to see the character in its truest, most terrifying glory. Until this year, anyway.
LA-based creature designer Ian Joyner offers a glimpse of Venom in precise, minute detail. Joyner's version features the parasite at its most realistic and macabre, with popping eyes, webbed strands of sinewy black flesh and rows of crocodile teeth jutting out the expanse of its jawline.
Joyner is a freelance concept artist and illustrator by trade, with his clientele including game and comic book publishers like Marvel Comics. He first visualized Venom in 2D using Procreate, in what was a little more than a rough iPad sketch. Joyner then created a sculpted, half-body version on Zbrush (a 3D modeling and texturing tool), which he would later paint over in more detail about a month later.
The concept of the parasitic Symbiote was originally suggested by a man named Randy Schueller, for use on Spider-Man's Secret Wars costume. Intrigued, then-Marvel EIC Jim Shooter purchased the idea from Schueller, and with the help of artist Mike Zeck and writer Roger Stern, transformed the costume into one of purely alien origin. It was DeFalco and Frenz who first visualized a version of the symbiote that was both sentient and aggressive, which eventually evolved to become the monster known as Venom. This iteration of the character was first introduced by writer David Michelinie and writer Todd MacFarlane in 1988 for The Amazing Spider-Man, which ran until 1994.
Joyner's fanart of Eddie Brock in the "Black Suit" is a fresh reinterpretation of the classic supervillain, and an exciting turn for the character in an era of CGI-heavy Xenomorphs and fleshed out Trek monsters. His bigger portfolio may be accessed on his official website, and he is also on Instagram as @ianjoynerart.
Arriving in theaters on October 5, Venom is directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and stars Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, Jenny Slate, Scott Haze, and Reed Scott.