In May, 1984, Marvel decided to shake up the Marvel Universe a bit. To do this, they created the Secret Wars, a twelve-issue limited series that involved almost every major Marvel character. In this series, Earth’s heroes are kidnapped by an almost omnipotent being known as the Beyonder, and pitted against their most deadly enemies. The members of winning side were promised their fondest desire—but the losers would be granted no mercy.
The Secret Wars changed the lives of all involved, particularly The Amazing Spider-Man. As part of his involvement, he was given a black alien costume which gave him special powers. Eventually, however, it was revealed that this “costume” was actually a living being—a symbiote. When Spider-Man rejected bonding with it, it found another host and became known as the super-villain Venom.