venom(redirected from Venomous animal)
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venom or zootoxin, any of a variety of poisonous substances produced by animals. In poisonous snakes, venom is secreted in two poison glands, one on each side of the upper jaw, and enters the fang by a duct. Snake venom is a complex substance, containing various enzymes and toxins. Venoms differ in their effect according to the preponderance in them of hemotoxic, hemolytic, or neurotoxic agents. Hemotoxins perforate the blood vessels, causing hemorrhage, and hemolysins dissolve the red blood cells. The venom of the fer-de-lance is chiefly hemotoxic; that of the rattlesnake, the copperhead, and the moccasin is both hemotoxic and hemolytic. Neurotoxins produce paralysis, often of the nerve centers that control breathing, thus causing a quicker death from suffocation. Cobras, coral snakes, scorpions, and spiders produce neurotoxic venoms. The venom of the gaboon viper is both hemotoxic and neurotoxic. Venoms may also contain agglutinins, which promote coagulation of blood, or anticoagulants, which have the opposite effect. The venoms of various snakes have been used medicinally, according to their specific properties, as painkillers (in arthritis, cancer, and leprosy), antispasmodics (in epilepsy and asthma), and blood coagulants (in hemophilia). The venom of the Russell's viper has been used as a coagulant in tonsillectomies and for bleeding gums. The effect of any snakebite necessarily depends on the quantity and kind of toxin it contains, as well as on the resistance of the victim. Immune serum against snake venom, or antivenin, can be prepared by repeatedly injecting sublethal doses of venom into an animal such as the horse. The immune serum thereby produced in the animal can be extracted and used to treat snakebite victims. Poisons are produced by animal species of every phylum; examples include the poison in the rounded warts of the skin of toads, the venoms of spiders, scorpions, bees, and other arthropods, and the poison of jellyfish and other coelenterates. See also toxin.
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In many ways, Venom is the quintessential supervillain of comics' “grim and gritty” era of the 1980s. His grotesque appearance and violent character—a stronger, darker, more driven version Spider-Man—is an amped-up take on the darker view of superheroes that emerged in the wake of Watchmen and Dark Knight. And yet as bad as he is, Eddie (Venom) Brock is a wildly popular character who has teamed with many heroes and starred in his own series from time to time. Cunning and powerful, Venom sees himself as a hero who is trying to protect the innocent—he's even been known to champion the homeless of San Francisco. It's this duality—brute force and moral awareness, however twisted—that has given him a place in Spidey's all-time rogues' gallery. Venom's origin also plays to the strengths of Marvel Comics' convoluted continuity, going back four years before his first appearance. His story has two beginnings. One is that of Eddie Brock, an ambitious reporter for the Daily Bugle who was fired in a scandal after his big story—the identity of a villain named Sin-Eater—turned out to be wrong. He blamed his downfall on Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Spider-Man had gone off to the interdimensional Secret War and returned with a new black costume, in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 (1984). The costume turned out to be a powerful and evil alien symbiote, and after removing it, Spider-Man abandoned it. The symbiote also sought vengeance against Spider-Man, and was drawn to Brock, who was about to kill himself. The demented duo then bonded in a quest to see Spider- Man dead. Venom first appeared as the Brock/Symbiote character in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #298 (1988), by writer David Michelinie and artist Todd McFarlane, but his origin wasn't revealed until issue #300, in which he and Spidey had the first of many battles. Venom quickly caught on as a fan favorite, getting numerous return appearances and his own miniseries (the first of many) in 1993. Perhaps the best-known Venom story is 1993's “Maximum Carnage,” a fourteen-issue crossover epic in which Venom and Spider-Man teamed up to defeat Carnage, an even more savage version of Venom. In recent years, the symbiote has abandoned Brock as his host, and has been given to inhabiting many different people to suit its purposes, including a woman and a crime boss. Mac Gargan, better known as Spidey's foe the Scorpion, united with the Venom symbiote to become the new Venom in a 2005 Marvel Knights: Spider-Man story arc. Venom's original creative team is the subject of some confusion. Michelinie came up with the idea for the villain, and had planted several clues in issues preceding the character's debut in #298. It was McFarlane, however, who gave Venom his signature look of a gaping maw, a bank of razor-sharp teeth, and a long, serpentine tongue, extrapolating from Secret Wars artist Mike Zeck's original design for Spider-Man's black costume. An alternate version of the character, Ultimate Venom, has appeared in the Brian Michael Bendis–penned pages of Ultimate Spider-Man (2000–present). At the hands of artist Mark Bagley, Ultimate Venom became even more garish and long-tongued than in days past. Given his popularity, it's no surprise that Venom has appeared in almost every media, including the FOX Kids Spider-Man cartoon (1994–1998), voiced by Hank Azaria and collected as the DVD The Venom Saga, and numerous role-playing games and video games, including Venom-Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety. He also makes a terrific action figure (particularly the early 1990s “Talking Venom” from Toy Biz, which gave mothers nightmares by saying, “I want to eat your brains”). But Venom will perhaps achieve his greatest notoriety in the Sam Raimi–directed Spider-Man 3, with That '70s Show actor Topher Grace in the role.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
Any of various poisonous materials secreted by certain animals, such as snakes or bees.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a poisonous fluid secreted by such animals as certain snakes and scorpions and usually transmitted by a bite or sting
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005