Venom, one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, is an alien symbiote that connects with a human host and exchanges superhuman strength and other abilities for a home and protection. It’s a pretty creepy relationship – and one of the reasons why the character has become an enduring part of the Spider-Man universe. The whole origin story (started in Secret Wars and then eventually brought into The Amazing Spider-Man series) seems fairly implausible – and yet now science has brought us something disturbingly similar.
While no one’s found an alien life-form that bonds with humans and turns them into psychopathic vigilantes who hate the Wall Crawler, we do have Algaeculture – a new symbiotic relationship that allows humans to nourish algae, which in turns sustains them as a food source. If the algae ever becomes self-aware, look out…
As the freaky video below demonstrates, Algaeculture kinda resembles a cross between the Venom symbiote, something you’d find in a Ridley Scott (or an old David Cronenberg) film, and a strange new breed of Japanese fetish porn. This is probably going to make it a tough sell in Middle America – even tougher when you realize you’re eating algae.
Apparently, there are numerous “delivery systems” for this, designed to let humans have their own take on photosynthesis. In the video, the user wears an elaborate costume of tubes filled with algae. Exposure to sunlight allows the algae to grow, giving the wearer a steady stream of nutrients. In another example from last year, an opera singer’s carbon dioxide emissions were used to grow and flavor algae, which was then available to patrons as part of a taste test. Sounds delightful.
While this all does sound vaguely sci-fi film-ish, it does have a grounding in real science. “Plantimals” were the subject of a 2010 article and is the cutesy nickname for creatures that welcome algae into their system as a source of nutrition.
Personally, I like the idea of calling it Venom better – and I’d much rather share my body with an alien being that was going to give me superhuman strength and Spider-Man powers than eat algae all day, but maybe you feel differently. At any rate, the video below is worth a look for the bizarre factor alone.
As for the next time we'll see Venom on the big screen... well, the character's origin was already teased by Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb on Twitter, so we may see him pop up sooner rather than later.