Spider-Man fans: Explain to me the difference between Venom and Carnage

I’ve read the Spider-Man comics up to the death of Gwen Stacy – the first time, that is, in 1973. (I’ve seen the Tobey Maguire movies, too.)

So I’ve seen this Venom character and I’ve seen some images of Carnage, in passing. Frankly, they look like the same character to me. What’s really the difference?

Venom and Carnage are both results of an alien symbiotic being and a human host. Eddie Brock was a journalist who worked at the same paper with Peter Parker. He had terminal cancer. There’s this business with Parker wearing the symbiote and then getting disturbed when it changed his personality, so he leaves it behind and it bonds with Eddie Brock.

Eddie Brock (Venom) went to prison after his symbiote left. He shares a cell with A serial killer whose name escapes me. When the symbiote comes back for Eddie Brock and they break out of prison, it leaves behind it’s kid. They reproduce like amoebas, apparently. Anyway, the kid symbiote joins with the cellmate serial killer, producing Carnage.

Carnage is meaner and more chaotic because the symbiote is younger, and the human host more psychotic, where Eddie Brock was kind of a goofy guy. This is the way I remember it from what I read as a kid. If I missed anything or got a detail wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me. :slight_smile:

No that sounds about right to me.

Though they shouldn’t look that much similiar. Carnage was red and black whereas Venom was just black.

Marvel characters are continuously changing their outfits. I’ve given up on attire as a method of identification.

Carnage is Venom’s offspring.

Carnage has never, as far as I know, had a host other than Cletus Kasady.

Venom has had multiple hosts - Eddie Brock (currently ANTI-Venom, who is a spikey, colour-inverted version of Venom), Eddie’s ex-wife, Amy, another woman named Patricia Robinson, a mafioso named Angelo Fortunado, and currently, Mac Gargan (formerly known as the Scorpion). I’m not familiar with the Robinson or Fortunato versions.

Carnage is also a flat-out villain, all the time (since Kasady is a complete psychopath), whereas Venom has been both a villain and an anti-hero, often with the same hosts. Anti-Venom is an anti-hero, while Gargan-Venom is a villain (posing as a hero).

Venom is always black/blue/blue-black with a white spider-symbol. His basic look beyond that changes depending on the host, and, for Eddie, what point in continuity it is - at its most basic, Venom looks like his host in the black spider-man costume. But all of his hosts - except Spidey, and apparently Fortunado - have had toothy mouths with prehensile tongues. Brock and Gargan, the symbiote tends to bulk them up, severely, especially during the mid-90s, in Brock’s case. The extent of the mouth/tongue also changes - at its most extreme, it bears no connection whatsoever to the host’s underlying anatomy. The eyes of the costume also change.

Carnage is way more consistent - he’s always black and red, he’s always skinny (like Kasady), and he has the teeth, but not the tongue.

It’s probably best not to go into Carnage’s offspring. Especially since I really don’t know much about them.

Isn’t there a slight power difference, too? Wikimentions that he is stronger, and can shoot parts of himself, similar to Spidey’s webs, although they disintegrate after a short period of time.

Eddie Brock sees Peter Parker as a bad guy because Parker was ultimately responsible for getting him fired from the Daily Bugle and ruining his career as a reporter. The Venom symbiotic sees Spider-Man as a bad guy because Spidey rejected its efforts to bond with him. So both of them together see Spidey/Parker as the bad guy with them as the wronged party. Venom always operated with a twisted sort of code. He was fully aware of who Aunt May and Mary Jane were but he never attacked them directly. Hell, he even helped Aunt May fold her laundry once. Of course this twisted code also allowed him to kills prison guards, police officers, and others which is why it pissed me off when they tried to make Venom into a good guy.

Carnage has no twisted moral code. He just likes to kill people.

The symbiote enhances the hosts strength proportionally, rather than having its own strength, or a purely additive strength boost.

There was a scene in a spidey comic from way back where Eddie Brock was pumping weights, and it was explained about the proportional stregnth increase.

Given that Eddie worked out a lot and the current host Gargan is also a big guy, whereas Cletus Kassady (Carnage’s host) has always been drawn as a a bit of a weedy little guy, I would say the strength difference just comes down to that.

In terms of the webs, I think that has/can be fanwanked to that fact the original symbiote was Spidey’s costume for some time, and duplicated his webshooters abilities (this was prior to the movies where Peter got organic webshooters and was using mechinical ones he had created). So that when the symbiote left and attached itself to Eddie Brock, it was part of the symbiote ‘schtick’ of using webs for various things.

Whereas the symbiote baby that became Carnage didn’t have that ‘reference point’, and neither did the host so doesn’t use it. Both symbiotes however can and do extend parts of the ‘symbiote’ out in tendrils to do stuff. Also, Carnage early on displayed a few tricks that Venom had never used, including forming weapons (axes & blades IIRC) out of the symbiote ‘stuff’

I’m also unclear on the exact natures of the suit’s shapeshifting. It seems that it give the host limited ability to twist and deform while the host is completely encasing them, but not otherwise?

Pfft. I can do that.

Yeah but, ah nevermind. You’re right, it’s not special. :stuck_out_tongue:

There were a bunch of other “Venom babies” introduced in one of his miniseries during the height of the Venom craze in the 90’s (when Venom sort of gave up on his vendetta against Spidey to become the “Lethal Protector”), but they either killed off or forgot about them.

Venom got really popular so they made another one. Also, his popularity had something to do with his transformation into a “lethal hero” of sorts, so Carnage filled the “evil villain” gap that Venom left at the time.

If we’re talking about the Eddie Brock Venom, the third paragraph is the most important thing. Eddie/Venom thought he was a hero and Spider-Man was a villain, at least in regards to Eddie. He was willing to kill Peter Parker and terrorize his family, but he wouldn’t deliberately hurt the general public.

Except that according to Carnage’s first appearance, he’s stronger than Venom.

“When it left, it must have taken our strength with it!” sez Venom.

RE Venom’s Other Kids

Six eggs were extracted in the Lethal Protector series. They were all killed. Then, they were all brought back. The hosts had problems with the symbiotes driving them insane- except for Shriek, who was already insane before the joining and seemed to be thriving.

RE Carnage’s Kid

IIRC, Carnage symbiote has reproduced. The baby bonded with a cop. He goes by the name Toxin and tries to be a hero.

Please note that there are at least 3 versions of these characters-

Regular- Those from Marvel’s main universe, Earth 616
Movie- Obviously those from the film
Ultimate- Marvel decided to do a reboot universe. I know little of the Ultimate universe except that Ultimate Venom is thin and wiry instead of steroid bulky, and that Carnage was apparently the result of an experiment using Venom material and The Lizard’s DNA.

Venom’s shape-shifting seems more “organic”–webs and tentacles with spikes, while Carnage goes more with edged weapons…and yes, Carnage can launch the edged spikes like crossbow bolts.

Personality wise is exactly as posted above, although the current version of Venom (with Scorpion) is pretty much Carnage, but craftier about his killing.

Oh, Forgot-

Shriek is featured in the the excellent 3D Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios Islands Of Adventure. Nobody but me recognized her.

That may have been the case initially (directly after the ‘birth’ of the Carnage Symbiote) but in appearences since its pretty much Venom stronger than Carnage. Although as we all know a character is as strong as the comic writer needs him to be for the purpose. :rolleyes:

Ahem. us

I wondered who that girl was. I could identify all the other villains, but never her. Thanks!