Spider-Man's double life as Venom teased in Spider's Shadow #1 variant by Chip Zdarsky

Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow #1 variant cover
(Image credit: Chip Zdarsky (Marvel Comics))

Chip Zdarsky and Pasqual Ferry are exploring the notion of 'What if Peter Parker became Venom?' in the upcoming limited series Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow and a new variant cover by Zdarsky gives an evocative look at what that would look like.

When asked about doing this story in the classic 'What If?' formula at Marvel, Zdarsky says these kinds of stories work best when writers "go a little wild… because they're places where you can do anything."

Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow #1 main cover by Pasqual Ferry (Image credit: Phil Noto (Marvel Comics))

"The trick is to keep the focus on Peter as much as possible and make it a personal story, a personal struggle," the writer tells Newsarama. "We don't have the symbiote taking on cold war Russia or blowing up the planet or anything. This is very much a Spider-Man story. But one where everyone is expendable."

Zdarsky is far from expendable. While best known to Marvel fans as a writer, variant covers like this remind people of his artistic chops as seen in his creator-owned series Sex Criminals. While in the past few years he's primarily worked on the Marvel side of the mainstream superhero fence, he recently began working for DC - first with a Batman/Red Hood story in Batman: Urban Legends, and next the limited series Justice League: Last Ride.

(Image credit: Chip Zdarsky (Marvel Comics))

This Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow digs into Zdarsky's past with the character in Spider-Man: Life Story and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man. Here's how Marvel describes this new series: 

"Peter Parker once put on an alien suit that nearly destroyed his life - but what if he'd never taken it off? Ignoring every warning, Spidey embraces the dark symbiote! Haunted by terrible nightmares and exhausted by an endless barrage of bad guys, Peter can't seem to catch a break these days. So when the Hobgoblin attacks, he finds a hero at the end of his rope...and vulnerable to new dark impulses. Spider-Man is about to change his rules - but is it truly Peter who is in charge?"

Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow #1 (of 4) goes on sale on April 14.

Keep up to speed on this and all the new Spider-Man comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2021 and beyond.

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)