There is a movie coming out based entirely on the Spider-Man villain Venom with Tom Hardy. But Venom might have flubbed one of the most important things: The pronunciation of “symbiote.” It’s kind of a real word, but Jenny Slate’s bespectacled rogue pronounces it as “sim-BYE-oat” in the trailer. That pronunciation was jarring to pretty much everyone. Now, Marvel writer Dan Slott has taken a polite pot-shot at the film’s odd take on, again, a word that actually exists.
On Wednesday, Marvel published issue #800 of The Amazing Spider-Man, the penultimate issue of Dan Slott’s epic ten-year run on the series. In the comic, J. Jonah Jameson gets a call from Eddie Brock, the famous host of the alien symbiote who first became Venom way back in 1988.
Brock, operating under an alias (long story), adopts the name “Mr. Sym,” which Jameson mocks. “‘Mr. Sym?’” Jameson thinks to himself, in disbelief Eddie Brock can be this dumb. “Are you serious? What’s your first name? ‘Bee-yote’?”
Not only has Slott officially confirmed the pronunciation of “symbiote” for the Marvel Universe, it’s also comes across as a jab at the weird way Venom is pronouncing the very thing that’s driving its plot. It’s like if Thanos pronounced the Infinity Stones as “In-feen-ee-tee” Stones.
But the rest of Spider-Man #800 is a hoot. As Slott gets closer to capping off a very long run with the friendly neighborhood web-head, Amazing Spider-Man is firing on all cylinders as it crams decades of Spidey history into one final storyline. Though there were times Slott’s run felt too episodic, and Peter Parker being an eccentric billionaire feels sour in the aftermath of Elon Musk’s heel turn, Slott’s take has defined an entire generation of Spider-Man readers in a way not seen since Todd McFarlane. The upcoming animated film Into the Spider-Verse has a direct line to Slott’s time on the comic (along with healthy doses of Brian Michael Bendis’s Ultimate Spider-Man, of course).
Venom swings into theaters on October 5.