Venom (Flash Thompson)

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Eugene "Flash" Thompson is a supporting character in Marvel Comics’s Spider-Man series. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962).

Flash is a star high school football player and classmate of Peter Parker (secretly the superhero Spider-Man) who mercilessly bullies Peter. On the other hand, Flash greatly admires Spider-Man, an irony in which Parker takes some gratification. After graduation, Flash joins the United States Army and is haunted by his combat experiences, leading to alcoholism. Later, Flash and Peter become best friends. Flash has appeared in several other media adaptations of Spider-Man, usually in his earlier bullying incarnation.

In his early appearances, Eugene "Flash" Thompson is a high school classmate of Peter Parker. In high school, Flash is a stereotypical jock who continually bullied Peter. Flash was physically abused by his alcoholic father, Harrison Thompson, leading to Flash's own violent, bullying nature. It is Thompson who dubs Peter with the derogatory nickname "Puny Parker" and humiliated him daily in front of the whole school. Ironically, Flash admires Spider-Man, Peter's other identity, forming the first "Spider-Man Fan Club" and vocally supporting his idol wherever he goes, even criticizing J. Jonah Jameson and his editorials to his face. When Spider-Man was seen committing robberies, Flash was one of the few to stand up for him claiming that he could still be innocent. It soon turned out that Spider-Man had been framed by Mysterio and Flash boasted about how he was always right. Peter Parker, who openly stated that he wouldn't "trust [Spider-Man] any further than I can throw him", took some secret pleasure in that Flash supported his alter-ego.

In a very early issue, Flash and Peter square off for a boxing match in the school gym. Initially expecting an easy victory, Flash is astonished to discover that he simply can't lay a hand on his opponent (due to Peter's enhanced speed and reflexes), and a single tap from Parker's fist knocks him clear out of the ring. Significantly, after this episode, Flash's bullying is restricted mostly to verbal harassment, suggesting that he was secretly wary of Peter's fighting prowess. Over the next few years, as the two become rivals for Liz Allan's affections, Flash is only willing to confront Peter when he (Flash) is surrounded by his friends. Peter, for his part, begins to laughs off his threats with good-natured comebacks (much to Flash's annoyance, as well as bewilderment). This subtle reversal of their positions is typical of Lee-Ditko character developments in the title.

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Official Site: Marvel Comics
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