Standard Deviations vol. 4:
Marvel’s Venom variant covers

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Throughout January, Marvel Comics released a series of Venom variants on 19 issues of their ongoing titles. I’m not really sure about the motivation here. Normally these themed variant months are timed as promotional pieces for something in the publisher’s schedule. Last year, there were sets of variant covers released as cross promotion with Marvel’s X-Men: First Class, Thor, and Captain America movies, as well as a set to commemorate Marvel Comics’ 50th Anniversary. There’s nothing on that scale coming for Venom barring a “24 Years of Venom” logo on last week’s Venom #12 and a comic event called Circle of Four starting in issue #13 next week.

I think this has everything to do with another “Venom-like” character that Marvel publishes trying to steal the spotlight by celebrating his 50th anniversary this year and a new movie set to debut in July.

While it’s fun to on some level to see your favorite heroes covered by the world’s most recognizable alien symbiote, that’s about where it ends. I held off on saying that this is a chance to see your favorite character “as Venom” since this particular symbiote is Venom (and in some circles only considered Venom when bound to Eddie Brock). With the recently concluded Spider Island story in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man that saw a number of Marvel characters gain spider-powers, I’d imagine that was another part of what inspired this line.

Prices on 1:50 variants like these can range anywhere from $25-$50 typically and unless you’re a big Venom fan I don’t see the hook, and maybe not even then (I’m interested to know if the folks of at The Venom Site made an effort to track any of these down). I passed on adding any of these to my collection at this point. The completist in me may keep an eye on prices for the Uncanny X-Men issue, although the Paul Renaud cover to Uncanny -Force #20 is probably my favorite of the bunch.

Marvel was not very helpful with artist information for this set, so a big thank you goes out to Worthpoint.com‘s Comic Speculator, Matt Baum and ComicBookDB.com for help with identifying some of these. Any help with the remaining issues lacking an art credit would be greatly appreciated.

The complete list of January’s Venom variants includes:

  • Amazing Spider-Man #678 
  • Avengers #21 by Carlo Barberi
  • Captain America #7 by Mike Perkins
  • Defenders #2 by Chris Stevens
  • Fantastic Four #602 by Kalman Andrasofszky
  • FF #14 by Michael Ryan
  • Incredible Hulk #4 by Mike Del Mundo
  • Invincible Iron Man #512 by Larry Stroman
  • Journey Into Mystery #633 
  • New Avengers #20 by Ranier Beredo
  • Scarlet Spider #1 by Mike Perkins
  • Secret Avengers #21 by Khoi Pham
  • The Mighty Thor #10 by Gerald Parel
  • Uncanny X-Force #20 by Paul Renaud
  • Uncanny X-Men #5 by Greg Horn
  • Venom #12 by Dave Stewart
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #4 by Mark Brooks
  • X-Men #23 by John Tyler Christopher
  • X-Men: Legacy #261 by Micro Pierfederici

On a related note, the “Sinner. Slayer. Savage. Soldier.” advertisement for the upcoming Venom “Circle of Four” story featuring the title character, the latest Ghost Rider, X-23 and the Red Hulk has really caught my attention. The fact that this group is analogous to the version of the Fantastic Four featuring Spider-Man, Wolverine, Grey Hulk and the Dan Ketch Ghost Rider (that first appeared in Fantastic Four #347) along with Uncanny X-Force writer Rick Remender at the helm may have me checking this out this series as well.

“Circle of Four” begins next week in Venom #13.

Read more entries from the Standard Deviations series on MyLatestDistraction.

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