When Marvel Gave Venom The Title "Lethal Protector" In 1993
Venom: Lethal Protector was a six-issue comic published by Marvel in 1993, written by David Michelinie and drawn by Mark Bagley, Ron Lim and Sam de la Rosa. This was the first solo title for Venom, and was seen as an unusual anomaly then, a series starring an antagonist. Making that more palatable to the general readers is what would eventually lead to the character getting greater play across the Marvel Universe and two or three films as well. The sub-title of the series, Lethal Protector, was an attempt to rebrand him along the lines of Punisher, Ghost Rider or Wolverine, a killer in the service of defending the weak.
It also gave us the Life Foundation, an organisation using Venom symbiotes for its own purposes, which could decades later be used as the basis behind the Absolute Carnage and King In Black crossover events,
The Lethal Protector storyline would then be used in the first Venom movie alongside Planet of the Symbiotes. As with this comic. Venom is set in San Francisco, has the Life Foundation and Carlton Drake as antagonists, and includes the symbiote Riot. In the more recent film Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage, Venom and Eddie Brock begin to refer to themselves as "The Lethal Protector" as first used in this comic book.
The comic itself, with a red foil cover, also had an error variant without the red foil, known as the black cover variant. That market was destroyed when it was revealed that you could remove the foil yourself with the prodigious use of a hair dryer.
A copy of that first comic book Venom: Lethal Protector #1 with its red web foil cover by Michelienie, Bagley and Rosa is up for auction today from Heritage Auctions, slabbed at 9.8, with bids currently totalling $39.
Venom: Lethal Protector #1 (Marvel, 1993) CGC NM/MT 9.8 White pages. The first Venom solo title. Spider-Man appearance. Red holo-grafx foil cover. Mark Bagley and Sam De La Rosa cover and art. Al Milgrom art. Overstreet 2022 NM- 9.2 value = $50. CGC census 11/22: 7977 in 9.8, 44 higher.