BY MATT TUCK
With all the attention on Venom and Carnage thanks to the Let There Be Carnage trailer, how are those other symbiote keys doing? If you invested this time last year, you could be looking at serious profits.
Of course everyone is excited over Venom: Let There Be Carnage. After the success of 2018’s Venom, despite the lackluster critical opinions, there was buzz for the sequel well before even the first details were revealed. That can be attributed to Woody Harrelson’s Carrot Top-inspired Cletus Kasady as he uttered the line, “There will be carnage.” Now that we have had our first look at Harrelson’s Carnage (sans clown wig, thankfully), it is time for the market fallout.
But there is more than just those Venom and Carnage keys being impacted. Not only do we have Shriek confirmed for the movie, there are rumors that Toxin will debut. That opens the door to the entire symbiote family. On that note, here are six first appearances that you’ll want to put on your wish list.
VENOM VS. CARNAGE #2
Everyone has been jumping on the Toxin bandwagon. That’s because the trailer revealed Detective Mulligan, a name that happens to be very close to Toxin’s first host, Pat Mulligan. While the detective’s first name has yet to be revealed, it is easy to assume that he is indeed Pat Mulligan. That would mean there is a clear setup on the way to bring Toxin into Sony’s Venom-verse, and it could happen as soon as Let There Be Carnage. Don’t forget that Eddie Brock took on the Toxin symbiote at one point, so there’s a possibility that we could see that transpire in the movie.
Because of the Toxin speculation surrounding Venom 2, his first appearance has lit up the market. On April 20, Venom vs. Carnage #2 at a 9.8 was selling for around $300, and it hadn’t surpassed $345 all year to that point. In 2020, it averaged just $253. On May 10, the same day the trailer dropped, it shot up to $658. The same day, a 9.6 hit $190 for the third time this year, though it was short of the $215 record high from January. Still, that’s an improvement from the $124 average a year ago.
SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED #1
We have yet to see the live-action Shriek, but my guess is she will be featured in a future trailer in the coming months.
With Shriek being confirmed for Venom 2, it has upped the ante on her first appearance in Spider-Man Unlimited #1. Depending on how well the character is used, this could be Shriek’s opportunity to become a bigger part of the MCU. That would only help SMU #1 get that much more of a spike in fair market value.
Last year, the 9.8 had an FMV of $81. On May 10, twenty copies were traded online, reaching as high as $450. It’s balanced out since then, and the price has seemingly settled on somewhere in the $330 range. Just imagine where the values will go when we finally see Shriek in live action.
VENOM: SINNER TAKES ALL #3
We got a teaser for She-Venom in the 2018 movie, but there is a good chance that she will get more screen time either in Venom 2 or a future installment. Considering that the plot of the upcoming film appears to be following the course of Maximum Carnage, Eddie will need backup. Since Anne Weying has already been “Venomized” in the movie, we could see her take on the symbiote a second time or possibly get a symbiote of her own.
What also makes me wonder if She-Venom is going to get her share of the spotlight are Michelle Williams’ comments from 2019. The actress had said that she would like Anne to have more action scenes in Let There Be Carnage, and that leads me to think that she will get her wish, and She-Venom will cause plenty of carnage of her own. After all, if Carnage has Shriek on his side, it would make sense for Eddie to have Anne evening the odds.
Two years ago, the 9.8 peaked at $285, but the latest Venom trailer has reinvigorated its FMV. The last four sales have surpassed that mark, reaching between $300-$325. I think it is very likely that we will see Anne Weying take on a symbiote and go on a rampage, and that larger role will elevate this key even further.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #569
If Sony wants to make audiences “ooo” and “ahh,” Anti-Venom would do the trick. While we have not seen much of him in the comics since the Red Goblin took down Agent Anti-Venom, no one stays dead in the Marvel Universe for too long. Before Flash Thompson bonded with the symbiote, the original host was, again, Eddie Brock (in the symbiote world, he gets around). Back then, Anti-Venom was an impressive sight to behold. Like most of the symbiotes, he was made for awesome visuals, and Anti-Venom may have cornered the market on fantastic portrait shots.
Anti-Venom first appeared in the pages of ASM #569, and the variant edition with that splendid Adi Granov Venom cover is now selling for $270 after reaching a three-year high on May 11 with a $300 sale.
Anti-Venom fans know that the real money lies in the second print with the lower print run. That one featured John Romita, Jr.’s interior art emblazoned on the front, giving us Anti-Venom’s first cover appearance. Especially at a 9.8, the second print has always been expensive, but things have gotten out of hand. This month, it has crossed the $1,300 mark three times after bouncing anywhere from $750-$970 all year.
Here is a character that has seemingly fallen off the speculative radar, and that would make this a prime opportunity to grab his first two appearances.
Remember that in the comics, the Venom symbiote hid Dylan from Eddie, changing his memories to believe that Dylan was his younger brother, not his son. After Eddie learned the truth, Dylan was slowly pushed into the forefront. At one point, he even got his own symbiote, Sleeper. Then we learned that Dylan had a symbiote power that was beyond even Eddie’s bond with Venom.
And then Dylan’s push into the spotlight just stopped. That left fans wondering if we would ever see him reach his full potential or be relegated to the background from here on out. With the Venom movies delving further into the symbiote mythos, there is a chance that Dylan could come to life on the big screen, and that would reinvigorate his debut comics.
At the moment, both Dylan’s first cameo and full appearances are flying under the radar. The 9.8 Venom #7 standard cover last sold for $71 after it brought $104 last year. Venom #9 is the bigger Dylan key, but the 9.8 has consistently stayed near $170 since 2020.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #654
Just for good measure, let’s toss Flash Thompson’s turn with the symbiote into the mix. Agent Venom was rather polarizing when Flash took Eddie Brock’s place and Venom took a Spawn-esque turn by being militarized. The aesthetic was great, and there was no denying the Todd McFarlane influence, which was fitting considering he co-created Venom in the first place, but purists like myself weren’t so quick to accept Flash as the “real deal.” However, younger fans loved the machine-gun wielding, ninja-like Agent Venom.
Here’s the thing: a version of Agent Venom would look good on the big screen, and I am betting that the creative team at Sony has already considered that. Who knows? At some point, the movie franchise could transition to Agent Venom or possibly include Agent Anti-Venom with a revamped backstory.
When collecting those Agent Venom keys, there’s no contest for what should be at the top of your wish list: the second print. The subsequent copy had a lower print run along with both Flash and the symbiote on the cover. Last year, the 9.8 averaged $1,000, which may have seemed high until 2021 rolled around to set a new record of $1,995 in April.
If you just want a piece of the action, the standard cover is much more budget friendly. However, the 9.8 has been swelling, and it recently sold for $275.
THE FUTURE OF THE SYMBIOTES
There are so many symbiotes to explore that Sony will have plenty of toys to play with for several more movies. That’s not to mention the various hosts for all those symbiotes, and Marvel Comics keeps churning out more of both each year. Now that Sony’s Venom-verse is introducing more symbiotes, I expect there will be spinoffs in the future, and that will make all those Venom-verse key issues even more profitable.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.