Today I came across a two year old news story about how Marvel got the idea for Spider-Man’s most badass popular villain… Venom. You may have heard about this, you may have not, but it was the first time for me. It wasn’t the story I was expecting, but still very cool how it all came about, mostly for the guy that came up with the idea. At the same time it kinda sucks for him as well.
The idea evolved from an idea that a guy by the name of Randy Schuller came up with in the early 80’s when he mailed the idea to Marvel. It was a time when Marvel was looking for aspiring comic book writers and artists. Here is what Schueller told Comic Book Resources.
I thought it would be cool if Spidey needed to upgrade his powers and his look, so I came up with this idea that Reed Richards had made a new costume for Spidey using the same unstable molecules that the FF costumes are made of. The unstable molecules would flow into Peter's pores and allow him to cling to walls better. I think my original idea was to increase his sticking power by 25% or something like that.
For some lame reason, I had the Wasp involved since she was the resident fashion plate of the Marvel universe at the time. Remember when Jan would show up in every other issue of theAvengers sporting a cool new costume? I loved when they did that! So to me it made sense to have her design the new spider suit when she was over at the Baxter Building for cocktails or something. Anyway, I saw the new suit as a stealth version of the original costume - jet black so he could blend in with the shadows. At best, all you could see of him was the blood red spider emblem, emblazoned on his chest. (Yeah, in my design the spider was red, not white. I also gave him underarm webbing like in the original Ditko design.
A few months after he sent his idea to Marvel he actually got a letter from Marvel’s own editor-in-chief at the time James Shooter telling him that he wanted to buy his idea. He offered Schuller $220 for his idea and the opportunity to write the script, he was incredibly excited. There were a few discussions and a couple of phone calls discussing the idea. A couple scripts were sent out but Marvel didn’t like it. Schuller eventually just stopped sending letters and it fell apart. He said,
I had no regrets. As a true blue Spidey fan, this was a very cool moment in my life.
A year later Marvel released Secret Wars which introduced the black costumed Spider-Man. Of course he was surprised to see his concept was actually brought to life. It was when the idea evolved into venom that he was kind of upset. He explains,
I saw my costume idea executed in a completely different way than I had envisioned it, I was simultaneously thrilled and saddened. And when the idea of the black costume caught on, I was even more thrilled. And then when VENOM was created I was...disturbed. I was never a fan of the costume-turned-villain idea. Give me the classic Ditko villains any day! Venom just never really seemed to work for me. But I digress...
It was when the Spider-Man 3 movie came out that he started talking about it. He isn’t in it for the money. He explained that he was already paid for the story, but that he feels bad that Marvel didn’t give him any kind of acknowledgment in the comics. This is his biggest disappointment.
So what is Schuller looking for?
I don't want any money, I don't want any legal rights to the Venom character. All I want is this: a mention in the letters column of Amazing Spider-Man recognizing me as the nameless fan who sparked the idea for the black suit which eventually led to the idea for Venom which eventually became the basis for this freakin' monster movie we call Spider-Man 3. That's all I want.
That’s gotta be a pretty awesome experience for anyone. The guy has all the documents proving this all happened. Why not give him a little credit? That would be pretty cool.
Check out the letter below:
What do you think of Randy Schuller’s experience?