One half of the ship is a down and out reporter who’s having a hard time of things.
The other is a hungry-for-brains symbiote, an extraterrestrial blob that thinks violence is both the question being asked and the answer it deserves.
I’m talking about Eddie Brock and Venom, a ship made for monster fuckers in fandom and folks who just really liked the idea of dating someone that basically lives in your body. Fandom has thought of the Venom symbiote as a site for particularly fucky content for years now, and it wasn’t just because of that intensely (and accidentally?) erotic panel between the symbiote and Hawkeye.
(Though that panel helped.)
In the comics, Eddie Brock’s relationship with the symbiote is… fraught. More fucked up, than funny.
In Venom however?
The film manages to balance funny and fucked up and from it, fandom gets… fucky.
Which I am entirely here for.
Now, let’s talk about the characters involved in this ship in a little greater detail.
First, there’s Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock.
Eddie is a hot mess of a man. Sure, he starts the movie as an investigative journalist with a reputation for getting tough stories and going after buttholes, but he quickly winds up slapped with Hot Mess ™ status after an attempt to reveal the truth about Life Industries’ Carlton Drake ends up with him losing his career, his income, his girlfriend, and their apartment in a matter of days. It’s not his fault, of course, but he’s still a hot mess.
But Eddie is a fantastic hot mess who doesn’t give up even when most of us would’ve. Despite the way that the world’s been beating on him for ages, Eddie doesn’t lose his strong sense of right and wrong or his desire to do the right thing.
And I’m gonna be honest: after years of trying to understand how y’all have been thirsting so hard for Hardy over those years (and yes, I saw the MySpace photos), I think I’m finally getting a little bit closer to getting it now.
I didn’t go into Venom expecting that a CG blob of goop would make me fall in love with them, but here we are. While I’d grown up being fascinated by Carnage who was… terrifying, Venom is honestly kind of adorable and relatable in this movie.
Yeah, I just called a being that suggests making a pile of heads and a pile of bodies just for the hell of it “adorable and relatable”. That’s because he is. There’s something I find ridiculously charming about that gore-loving goop from outer spaces. I’m just not sure if it’s how eager he is for maiming and mayhem at the start or how quick he is with the clap-backs when Eddie doesn’t do what he wants.
Either way, I found myself not just liking Venom, but caring about him.
This film’s incarnation of Venom is a far cry from the way the symbiote has been portrayed in other pieces of media and what makes Venom work for me is the way that while he’s technically a parasite, he’s also a character in and of himself. He’s got food preferences and a sense of humor. He’s… cool.
On top of the people-eating thing.
The Ship Itself
The best thing about Symbrock is that it’s a ship centered on two losers. Venom even calls himself a loser near the end of the film.
It’s pretty hilarious (just like… most of the film).
What’s great about Symbrock as a ship, in the film at least, is that it’s a relationship between two losers that come to realize how much they need each other. In canon, Venom goes from seeing Eddie as a means to an end to wanting to protect humans from Carlton Drake, Riot, and the other symbiotes that would gladly take over the world.
In the same vein, Eddie starts out terrified of Venom and the weird changes happening to his body, but comes to see him as an ally and friend. It’s a ship that has the potential to be sweetly subversive even with all the head-chomping and making Eddie an accessory to cannibalism that it entails.
In a neat article with SYFYWire on the popularity of Venom/Eddie as a ship and tumblr tag analysis, Tumblr’s Senior Content Insights Manager Amanda Brennan hit upon something that I found really cool about the ship: the kind of content that folks are mainly creating, saying that:
“It’s exploring this kind of absurdity of this thing that is, in the comics, very negative and trying to control you, but also it’s kinda soft. Exploring the softness of the monster is kind of a big trope that I’ve seen,” she says. “One of my favorites of those is: Someone asked the question, ‘What do you think about the teeth of the symbiote?’ And they drew Eddie Brock brushing the symbiote’s teeth. It’s this exploration of monsterness while still being cute and soft.
“There’s a lot of the trope of dark and light — Eddie Brock as a human and normal and then a lot of playfulness with that humanity versus monsterness and a lot of [Venom saying] ‘You are mine’ and the symbiote taking care of Eddie. There’s this post that’s titled ‘Romantic things to say to your boo,’ and the list includes ‘I am Venom and you are mine.’”
Of course, there’s monster fucking going on in plenty of the fan works. The ship is pretty much primed for that kind of content. But then, there’s monster fucking fan works going on in fandoms that have zero monsters involved. Fandom is really all about that monster fucking.
And again, fandom is doing that.
They’re doing it so well and so much that I want to give the fandom an actual gold star sticker for it.
But they’re also doing fanworks where Venom and Eddie look out for each other’s mental health. Where they watch television together and laugh about it. Where they cuddle. Where they eat things that aren’t people.
They make a ship that could’ve just been dark and fucky (which would be fine on its own) into something that can also be sweet and subversive in its own way. I mean, before Venom came out, fandom generally didn’t humanize monsters unless they were voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
(Now, the bitter betty in me wants to know when we’ll get that same attention and humanization dedicated towards a character of color but… we’ll save that for a “What Fandom Racism Looks Like” piece in the distant future.)
Pros/Cons of the Ship
- Tentacle sex is something that would be in-character and expected for most stories in this fandom.
- Venom would rather die than let anything happen to Eddie.
- Potential polyamory with Anne is not out of the question.
- They could go on foodie dates!
- Could they double date with the Hulk/Bruce Banner (or is that not how the Hulk works…)
- Great British Bake Off marathons!
- Okay but they’ve got the perfect couple’s Halloween costume.
- Venom is a human-munching parasite and I’m still not sure how that’s going to end health-wise.
- Lack of privacy between partners. Where does Venom go when he wants alone time?
(Why) Do I Ship It?
It’s mainly because Venom eats people, would wreck the world for Eddie (but more importantly, he’d keep it safe for him), and the ship is basically primed for all of us monster fucking aficionados. Venom has tentacles, can heal any injuries he deals to Eddie’s body during consensual rough play, and has teeth longer than my fingers.
And the cannibalism.
(Sort of? Because Venom isn’t human but technically he’s sharing nutrients and a body with Eddy who is so…)
But also, when Venom was all growly-posessive of Eddie?
(Venom) You Are Mine by Jayd Ait-Kaci (NSFW-ish)
Peter first meets Eddie Brock at Avengers HQ. By this point he can’t possibly know how their paths will cross in the future or how the self-centered reporter will grow on him. Definitely in a more literal sense than Peter would have expected too.
Venom goes about love in every wrong way he knows how. Thank god for late night television.
When Venom was quiet, and when he wasn’t shooting giant fucking tentacles out of Eddie’s body, Eddie couldn’t much feel his presence. Occasionally there was a flicker of something: of anger, of hunger. Right now there was nothing. So maybe Eddie had pissed him off. Or—and this was a thought that Eddie had not had before—perhaps he had hurt Venom’s feelings. He lay there, staring at the ceiling and listening to the couple banging next door. She was making a lot of noise. The blood came up his neck and face a little. And then a little more, now he knew that Venom would be able to feel it too.
Ann asks Eddie over to help her with the monumental legal case against the Life Foundation. She doesn’t know that Venom will also be joining them… or does she?
Venom is well aware that they live in a romantic comedy. Eddie isn’t, but he’ll get the picture eventually.
It’s been months since the Life Foundation debacle, and Eddie & Venom have settled into an easy equilibrium. There are times when they squabble, yes, but the symbiote feels as much a part of him now as a limb. Venom, meanwhile, is learning: about earth, about humans and their nature… but mostly just learning about Eddie. Eddie, who feels as though he’s re-learning himself, like he’s a new man after all they’ve been through. Despite that they’ve only been together for such a short time, it’s become impossible for Eddie to even visualize himself without Venom.
Venom could not imagine a more perfect host, and they decide it’s time to give Eddie the choice of deepening their bond.