Venom Battles with… the Tau?

venom knight tau

Marvel’s alien symbiote battles with a very familiar Greater Good in the latest issue of Space Knight…

The series premiered last year, and is written by Robbie Thompson with art by Ariel Olivetti. The story features Venom running around galaxies battling various kinds of alien baddies. Alien baddies that have well… um…

tau model venom

A closer look:

venom tau comic

Hey – I recognize that symbol!


 The issue also features a ship that may or may not belong to a space elf:

eldar venom comic

Both companies are protective of their IP and have a large number of lawyers… this could go several different ways.

What’s your prediction?

  • MarcoT

    Nice find, that’s a straight up copy.

  • Pity no squishys to stop in the pics

  • pokemastercube .

    yea this could get intresting

  • Primarch Vulkan

    Why would you even bring that on yourself…

    • cudgel

      Artist being lazy, it happens with them straight-up copying pages of other artists as well.

      • BEAR812

        Prime example; Rob Liefeld. One of the worst offenders.

        • Jim Collins

          He still has yet to understand ankles.

          I’m not sure if it’s him or Loeb who is a greater blight on the comic book world.

  • Damon Sherman
    • Severius_Tolluck

      taking inspiration and straight up having artwork lifted are two different things though! Those tanks still have the sept markings on them! Goes both ways though, after all all the sentinels are knocks off of imperial at st..

      • JamesD

        As well as many of their other products.

    • Laurence J Sinclair

      That’s artist Jorge Lucas, not Rob Liefeld.

  • Interrogator_Chaplain

    Meanwhile at the Games Workshop legal department…

    • Marvel’s bigger than GW. and they probably have more lawyers. it’s like a space marine chapter trying to take on a legion of the great crusade.

      As for the comic, I have to say it: the art is hideous. and I’m surprised nobody spotted the Necron warrior. but it’s still ugly as hell.

      • dinodoc

        Wait there’s a Necron too in there? Is Disney trolling GW now?

        • Admiral Raptor

          I really hope so! That would be the funniest thing ever :D.

          More likely one of the artists is a fan of 40k and didn’t think anyone would notice or care.

        • last picture, the same case with a…. space panda ??

        • Spacefrisian

          Yup cause GW wont do much against Mr Mouse, remember Imperial guard namechange?

      • Admiral Raptor

        Disney likely has a bigger legal department than GW has employees.

        I didn’t notice the Necron until you pointed it out 😛
        I doubt the Necron will be an IP issue since they’ve always been bad terminator knockoffs.

      • Interrogator_Chaplain

        I imagine they do, they’ll still have a hell of a time arguing that their artist didn’t blatantly rip off GW’s designs.

        • BrianDavion

          homage maybe?

  • benn grimm

    That’s pretty funny, I like how they even got the Tau Empire symbol in there…it’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of it, I’m thinking a reprint somewhere down the line, sans Devilfish… )

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Yeah pretty hilarious they didn’t even bother to change the sept logo. I feel like they took 3d models from one of their writer’s desks who is a WH40k fan, or like screen model caps from a Dawn of War mod or something. You can clearly tell those are 3D renders.

    • Derek Lee

      I’m not sure if GW has the copyright on the Tau symbol. Isn’t it the the logo for the old Marathon video game?

      • benn grimm

        No idea, id be surprised though if they hadn’t at least tried to copyright that symbol; it is very recognisable as Tau.

  • Severius_Tolluck

    This is why GW has changed so many names of objects to avoid a legal battle with someone like Disney! LOL who now owns star wars, which means things like Imperial Guard, etc etc are theirs. That even extends into the toy and game range as they now own all rights to figures and video games related to star wars. Add this now with Marvel, they now own these images.

    So… in a thought experiment, you could get into a legal battle between GW and Disney fighting for the rights of that imagery. GW would sue for the Hammerheads, and Disney would counter sue for anything space related!

    Worst case for GW, (a company who couldn’t defeat a third party parts provider) they lose so much money they could even be bought out by Disney in a lengthy court battle.

    This could lead to all sorts of 40 or age of sigmar cartoons or even a more serious style mini series for Horus Heresy like GoT (except far less budget to start) from Disney. It would be such an extreme circumstance for sure. Very unlikely but it does make for an interesting thought.

    • zeno666

      That would be fitting since much of the “modern” GW stuff look a lot like designs from Hasbro or Disney 🙂

      • Hasbro. definitely hasbro. both the Taurox and that dark eldar jet are designs that would fit perfectly with GI joe (for that matter, the dark eldar jet takes obvious inspiration from the Cobra Nightraven, and the Taurox from a variety of GI joe battle tanks)

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Let’s not forget the first space marine tank was made from a kit that would eventually become a GI Joe tank!

          • Other way around. the GIjoe tank was already sold in toys stores before it became a SM tank. I need to find mine. then, time to kitbash it.

        • Admiral Raptor

          I want to formally request that Hasbro make a line of Space Marine action figures in the style of G.I. Joe. Those toys were awesome when I was a kid and I love the thought of being able to buy my kids the Marneus Calgar action figure to go with their Polar Fortress Monastery play set!

          • Just…try for a second to imagine the glory Orks would be as GI joes.

          • zeno666

            The fortress play set is already available from GW 🙂

    • Admiral Raptor

      On the one hand I’m fairly certain Disney would do a better job with the Warhammer IP. On the other hand Disney is unabashedly evil. I’m not sure which I prefer.

      • WindSplash

        I disagree, disney would milk it to death with mediocrity.
        Hasbro on the other hand would do a good job. Just look at mtg.

    • BrianDavion

      disney can’t sue over the name Imperial guard, it’s a generic name dating back centuries.

      • Spacefrisian

        There are idiots who try and get comon names/Words as their IP, and they often succeed as well.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        It is, but you would be surprised what public domain names in certain countries when applied to specific categories, like figures, or video games, can be come protected. What I meant more to say was within the Imperial Guard you have Imperial Storm Troopers…. Which are now called Scions for a reason. I was also more or less point to the Sentinels, formerly known as imperial walkers, which clearly were a nod to AT-STs.

        Depending on the court and lawyers you can nearly fight for anything. Does not mean it will win, but it gives them a case, and they can play the money game, they can stall GW into bankruptcy. Trust me, there are legal precedents of situations before were companies have done so just to destroy competition or gain market share before.

        • BrianDavion

          ohh belvie me I know. I’m familer with the story of the unseen mechs. it’s proably the leading reason for FASA’s demise

      • Jim Collins

        Unfortunately there’s everything they stole from old german/japanese/chinese stories that they have fully copyrighted, and somehow manage to get them renewed, and they never enter the public domain despite their existence there in the first place. Laws aren’t really applicable to Disney, or any other mega corp ffs.

    • WindSplash

      You cant counter sue for imperial guard nor space marines. Disney has nothing they can sue GW that didnt come out of public domain. That would be like disney suing people for making a hercules story.

      Marvel it’s blatanly copy pasting imagery that does not belong to them, this is called plagiarism and they are gonna get lawsuit which is gonna cost more money than the hack who copied it will ever do in his entire hack life.

  • Davis Centis

    Graphic Policy, a comics website, is reporting that GW’s legal team has been made aware of this and they are preparing to respond. Given that there’s actual Tau graphics on the things, the directness of this plagiarism is rather extreme, and I can’t see Marvel walking away from this without some serious butthurt.

    • dinodoc

      I wonder how much GW can take them for given how blatant it is.

      • adamharry

        If I were Disney, I’d just cut them a check for the profits that issue made. I’d guess….$5,000 and an apology letter.

    • adamharry

      It’s pretty a blantant “borrowing” of that IP. Two ways this goes:
      1) Marvel cuts GW a check and lets it go.
      2) Tau rights get purchased by Disney and we get to see Wolverine (Old Man Logan or X-23, either works) cut up the blue-fish men in droves.

      Okay, I may have made that last one up.

      But this DOES mark the first time Tau have been spotted in the Marvel Cosmic Universe…Timey-wimey, whibbely-whobbly… I hope this just leads to more cross-overs instead of a dumb legal battle over a comic that problem sold 20,000 copies at BEST.

      • Nathaniel Wright

        That bad a story, huh?

        • adamharry

          I don’t think it’s BAD. That 20,000 copy number is based off the sales numbers from March – in which issue #5 sold 18,807 copies. That was enough to get a rank of #104 most sold comics.

          If a comic is selling over 50,000 copies a month, it’s a winner. If it’s selling 20,000 then it’s probably making a profit and will stick around. It beat out titles like “Catwomen” (#134 on the list with 14,260 copies) and “New Avengers” ( #158 with 12,114 sold).

          Comics just don’t sell as many copies as they did in the 90’s.

    • Admiral Raptor

      GW VS The House of Mouse. Don’t do it guys, your legal team got beat by a third party bits seller and now you’re thinking of challenging Disney? Good luck!

      Disney’s total assets as of last year were just over 88 Billion US Dollars. They exist in another reality from GW.

      • WindSplash

        it doesnt matter dude, they are blatantly plagiarizing imagery.
        The bit seller was more ambiguous because they just happened to fit with the GW miniatures.

      • ellobouk

        Got beaten by a third party bits seller, who I believe received a lot of pro-bono aid for taking on GW, and in a case where the ‘infringement’ was in a difficult to enforce area.
        This is not only a loose design, this is a carbon copy of the model, complete with markings and iconography, it could pretty much only be more of a slam dunk if they’d actually used the name.

    • Arthfael

      I agree. When something is really obvious, even the best lawyers cannot make a difference.

    • BEAR812

      As a former art school dropout, this kind of stuff ticks me off. I used to have folders full of reference photos. Planes, tanks, guns, buildings, animals, etc etc. They were used to inspire and/or get details right. Even copying those photos exactly would have been “stealing” from the original photographer. The artist Ariel Olivetti is about to get a wake up call. He’s from Argentine and I guess they don’t teach the same respect for other peoples work there. At worst he’s a thief. A plagiarist. At best he’s still an unimaginative, lazy, short cut taking hack. Disgraceful.

  • ChubToad

    Pop-corn time!!! *grabs pop-corn

  • My eyes…it’s so ugly…

    *gouges own eyes out*

  • Unleash the legal department…

  • Martin Cann

    This isn’t even the first time Marvel have done this. I remember an issue of Amazing Spider-Man about 5 years back that had Harry Osborn toting what was clearly a bolt pistol, but in that case someone had obviously recognised the design and added elements that clearly were not part of the original art.

  • PlasmaCow

    i do not think tiny engines and tiny gun drones will be enough to let them off the hook with GW lawyers somehow…

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Normally you would be correct. However due to naming conventions of the past and the blatant nods GW of old had to pop culture.. pop culture that Disney now owns.. there are grounds of counter claims to be made. So if one takes legal action, the other can counter sue. You could almost bait it on purpose….

  • BonesoftheDesert

    Meh, I agree, GW doesn’t have a prayer.

    On the comic side, if you have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited, some of the modern comic artists…well…yeah. There are some that are just amazing, and some that…well..yeah.

    I wonder if Marvel’s comic sales are hurt by Marvel Unlimted? There’s so much content, and they add tons weekly, there’s almost no incentive to buy unless you’re reading something from the last 12 months. And even then, you could just wait and read it later.

    • Morgrim

      That’s blatantly pasting in a protected image from another company, the artist doesn’t have a leg to stand on. There are still Tau sept markings on it! It won’t go as far as a trial, Marvel will just have to pay a sum to GW and at worst have to pull that comic from their archives until they redraw the offending panels. No point paying court costs as well when Marvel can tell their artist mucked up.

  • Greg Osborn

    I didn’t think it get worse than Greg Land tracing photos, and widely used stock images. Marvel keeps giving him work so I’m kind of not surprised to see something like this.

  • See, the difference here is that, in the past, GW has gone after people who weren’t actually in violation of any of GW’s copyrights, and they (rightfully) lost.

    This time, there is clear and obvious plagiarism of IP that GW’s legal claim to is absolutely bulletproof.

    This has nothing to do with the size of their legal teams or the amount of money either company can throw around. Marvel screwed up, and GW can and should do something about it.

  • JP

    GW should be flattered that someone in a giant like Marvel thought their designs were good enough to rip off.
    That being said, I’m also baffled as to WHY they would rip off those designs. Not from a legal standpoint; it was wrong. It’s just that Devilfish are f*cking ugly, and I’m sure the artist could have done better.

  • Scott B. Smith

    For those talking about a counter-suit, I think Mad Donna Ulanti, Sly Marbo, etc. might be brought up. But I’m sure Inquisitor Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau will be.

  • WindSplash

    Looks like someone is getting sued…

    Seriously, report this to GW. This could be very entertaining and stop Marvel from tracing stuff and teach them to stop using greg land.

  • Andy Wise


    The matter opens up a dialogue between GW and Disney and Disney secure the rights to bring out a bunch of films in the 40k universe.


    I’d be happy.

  • Spacefrisian

    Would be funny if this is a test run between GW and Marvel to see what peeps think about a 40K comic made by Marvel. I think it could turn out well.

  • Shinnentai

    Heh – they used the 3d model of a Skyray they had for whatever reason, but I’m guessing they realised copyright problems so shrank the engines, turret and drones to distance the image a little XD

  • Martin Spinosa

    Maybe it’s on purpose… free advertising Maybe it’s on purpose… free advertising

  • Nilok

    Even worse, those models are ripped directly from Dawn of War: The Dark Crusade, so both SEGA and Relic Entertainment have a stake in this as well.

  • harry goddard

    How dare they think venom could survive tau fire power