Marvel Comics’ Venom symbiote turns 40 this year and, in its history, storytellers have been fascinated with how the symbiote interacts with its hosts, from traditional hosts like former photographer Eddie Brock to its original partner in Peter Parker and beyond. Just in time for the symbiote’s anniversary, Marvel has launched a new miniseries, What If…? Venom, a bombastic tale that’s at the same time over-the-top and intimate, examining how different heroes grapple with being bonded with the Venom symbiote. Written by Jeremy Holt and art by a rotating team of talented creators, What If…? Venom has been a wild ride and I’m excited to see how this miniseries plays out.

I spoke with Jeremy Holt recently about the idea behind What If…? Venom, how the idea behind the book originated, the angle that Holt is in examining the Venom symbiote, and where the book goes moving forward.

Editor’s note: This interview took place prior to the publication of What If…? Venom #2. Issue #3 goes on sale this Wednesday, April 17.


WHAT IF…? VENOM #3 cover by Leinil Francis Yu


FreakSugar: Before we get into the comic itself, what is your history with Venom? Were you a fan growing up?

Jeremy Holt: My history with the character is passive at best. I didn’t grow up reading comics regularly. As a nonreader but a fan of Spider-Man, learning about Venom, Carnage, and the rest of the symbiote characters happened by proxy.

FS: For folks who are just picking up the book, what is the conceit of What If…? Venom?

JH: This isn’t your typical What If…? series that often took individual stories, independent of a cohesive narrative, to simply explore wacky mashups. What If…? Venom is a revisionist history of the character that includes a cast of other characters that end up bonding with the parasite, but all of which is told through a linear storyline. This pulls focus away from the physical bond that Venom is notorious for, and instead explores the alien’s psychological prowess. More importantly, what would happen if the host did not comply.



FS: I love the groupings of characters that you have interacting in the book! It’s fun to see characters you don’t normally see meeting up like that. How did you choose the cast of the comic?

JH: Very simply, my editor asked me to send him a list of four heroes and three villains beyond Venom that I was interested in potentially writing for. Fortunately, all of my top picks were approved.

FS: Where do we find our cast at the beginning of issue #2?

JH: Jennifer Walters has been plagued by Venom for years. Her refusal to be an accomplice to his rampage and destruction has left her sleep-deprived and unable to prevent Sabretooth from stealing a piece of the symbiote. Word on the street is that he’s planning to sell it to the highest buyer, but Wolverine is prepared to halt the sale.

FS: Do you have any other projects coming down the pike you’d like to discuss?

JH: I do! However, nothing that I’m permitted to share publicly at the moment. To keep up with my latest developments, follow me @jeremyholtbooks.




FS: Is there anything you can tease about what we can expect to see later in the series?

JH: I had the great fortune and opportunity to introduce and name a new symbiote character in issue three. Here’s to hoping it eventually gets made into an action figure.

FS: If you had a final pitch for this What If…? romp, what would it be?

JH: Honestly, I did far more with this than I had originally hoped for. As much as I love a good hypothetical, I’m ready to tackle something new at Marvel.

What If…? Venom #3 goes on sale this Wednesday, April 17, 2024, from Marvel Comics.

From the official issue description:

THE SYMBIOTE SUPREME! NONE ARE SAFE from the Venom symbiote’s permeation of every corner of yesteryear and the present alike with its inky, black tendrils…not even DOCTOR STRANGE, THE SORCERER SUPREME! BY THE CRYING CREATURES OF KLYNTAR, THIS IS ONE YOU CAN’T MISS!