For the most part, costumes don't warrant an entry into our Happy Birthday hall of fame – but most costumes aren't characters in their own right like Spider-Man's iconic black number. Peter Parker didn't know it at the time, but the duds he picked up during SECRET WARS while adventuring on another planet actually had a mind of their own. Spider-Man definitely didn’t know that his new costume would eventually create Venom, one of his greatest enemies.
The Venom symbiote first debuted thirty years ago this month in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252. A few days (and the entirety of SECRET WARS) had passed in between that issue and the previous one, leaving readers at the time in the dark about the how, where, and why of Peter's new black getup. In fact, they wouldn't learn the costume's origin until half a year later in SECRET WARS #8. With all that in mind, imagine the surprised look on the biggest Spidey fans of 1984 when this wall-crawler emerged triumphantly from a portal in Central Park.
With a much less Lizard-y Curt Connors in tow, Spider-Man immediately began tying up the loose ends caused by his sudden disappearance. He found his keys and wallet where he left them, high up on a tree branch, and his new suit created a storage space for them. Sure it's creepy, but it's also useful!
Spidey dropped Dr. Connors off with his family and returned to his apartment for the first time in days, where both he and the readers experienced a few more of the costume's tricks.
Yep, it can replicate street clothes – as long as they're black – and responds to his mental commands. The suit's leaning a bit more towards being creepy now, but you can't deny that Peter could save a lot of money on black shirts.
Spider-Man took to the streets, scaring criminals with his dark new look. He eventually stumbled across a couple arguing because they failed to get tickets to the hottest concert around – Burnt Toast!
To calm the couple down, Spidey lifted them up to the top of a nearby skyscraper. There, Spider-Man convinced the two civilians of the majesty of New York City. His plea about NYC also foreshadowed the trouble his suit would soon cause. "This city is like any living creature," said Peter, unaware of his costume's sentience. "It has the potential for incredible good… or horrible evil! It's a part of you kids, whether you realize it or not!" By the time Spider-Man realized his new suit's secret in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #258, he'd already made an enemy for life.
Check out the Venom symbiote's current adventures with Flash Thompson in THUNDERBOLTS!