Spawn (comics)

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Spawn
Publication information
Publisher Image Comics
First appearance Spawn #1 (May 1992)
Created by Todd McFarlane
In-story information
Alter ego Albert Francis "Al" Simmons
Notable aliases The One, Hellspawn
Abilities

Spawn is a fictional character, a graphic novel anti-hero that appears in a monthly comic book of the same name published by Image Comics as well as annual compilations, mini-series specials written by guest authors and artists and numerous cross-over story-lines in other graphic novels. Created by writer/artist Todd McFarlane, the character first appeared in Spawn #1 (May 1992). Spawn was ranked 60th on Wizard magazine's list of the Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time, 50th on Empire magazine's list of The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters and 36th on IGN's 2011 Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.[1]

The series has spun off several other comics, including Angela, Curse of the Spawn, Sam & Twitch, and the Japanese manga Shadows of Spawn. Spawn was adapted into a 1997 feature film, an HBO animated series lasting from 1997 until 1999, and a series of action figures whose high level of detail made McFarlane Toys known in the toy industry.[2]

Publication history[edit]

Spawn enjoyed considerable popularity upon its initial release in the 1990s. Comic book collecting was enjoying a marked upswing at the time, fueled by the speculator boom looking for the next hot book that would jump in value after its release.[3] McFarlane had enjoyed superstar status among comic fans with his work on Spider-Man, which had featured McFarlane's name prominently as both writer and artist. McFarlane's subsequent break with Marvel and the formation of Image Comics was seen by many as a sea-change event, changing the very way in which comics were produced. Wizard, on May 2008, rated "The Launch of Image Comics" as No.1 in the list of events that rocked the Comic Industry from 1991 to 2008.[4]

The first issue of Spawn was very popular with sales of 1.7 million copies.[5] During Spawn's second year of publication, Wizard noted that "The top dog at Image is undoubtedly Todd McFarlane's Spawn, which, without the added marketing push of fancy covers, polybagged issues, or card inserts has become the best-selling comic on a consistent basis that is currently being published."[6] Sales slumped around the time of Spawn #25, but by Spawn #45 it was again a consistently strong seller.[7]

The popularity of the franchise peaked with the 1997 Spawn feature film, the pre-release publicity for which helped make Spawn the top selling comic book for May 1997;[7] in addition, the spin-off Curse of the Spawn #9 came in at fifth best-selling for the same month.[8] However, the film was only a mild commercial success and failed to start a film franchise based on the character. A 2008 issue, Spawn #174, ranked 99th best-selling comic of the month with retail orders of 22,667.[9]

In October 2008, issue #185, which marked both a new creative direction and Todd McFarlane's return to the book, sold out at the distribution level and warranted a second printing.[10] By issue #191 in May 2009, with estimated sales of 19,803 copies, Spawn had dropped below Top 100 titles sold monthly to comic shops as reported by Diamond Comic Distributors.[11]

As of August 2010 Spawn no longer was ranked in the top 300 sales figures chart reported by Diamond Comic Distributors, issue 200 has been delayed.

On January 12, 2011, issue #200 completely sold out within that single day. This issue features an all-star creative lineup, including Greg Capullo, David Finch, Michael Golden, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Danny Miki, and Ashley Wood all contributing to the anniversary issue. A second printing was released on February 9, 2011.[12] Despite its remarkable sales, it received a negative review from IGN.[13]

As of 2014, Spawn is one of only two titles still being published since the label's 1992 debut, the other being Savage Dragon .

Fictional character biography[edit]

Origin[edit]

Lt. Colonel Albert Francis "Al" Simmons, USMC (Ret.), was a highly trained covert operative who was at his most successful point when he saved the President from an attempted assassination. He was promoted to a high level within the CIA devoted to black ops. Once there, he began to question the morality of what his agency was doing.[14]

Jason Wynn hired Bruce Stinson (codenamed Chapel), Simmons' friend and partner, to kill him. In a blazing inferno, Simmons was murdered and his soul was sent to Hell because he had knowingly killed innocents during his days in the CIA.[15][16]

Al Simmons in Hell[edit]

Simmons made a deal to sell his soul to a Demonic Being known as "Malebolgia" to get to see his wife, Wanda, once again. He was allowed to come back; however he came back five years later as some kind of strange Hellspawn with no memory of what he had done. After remembering what he had done, he sought out his wife only to find she had moved on and married his best friend, Terry Fitzgerald and the couple had a child named Cyan.[15]

It was after this event that his demonic guide the Violator, who appeared as a clown, revealed to Spawn the purpose of his life and fought him, but had his battle interrupted by Malebolgia.[17]

Classic Spawn[edit]

Spawn’s early battles were very anti-hero like as he went up against street thugs and gangs. He later brutally killed a pedophile and child murderer named Billy Kincaid. It was this act that brought the detective duo of Sam Burke and Twitch Williams into Spawn's life. He would also be hunted by the warrior angel, Angela, who hunted Hellspawns for sport (Angela's story would also expand, containing a fleet of angelic allies, in following issues).[15]

It is around this time that Spawn becomes “king” of “Rat City”, a gathering of alleys where bums and the homeless live. There he meets the bum Cogliostro who to Spawn’s surprise knows much about him. Spawn would soon battle the cyborg mob enforcer Overkill who almost killed Spawn, but he was able to emerge victorious. He was again hunted by Angela and would fight the angelic warrior called the Anti-Spawn a.k.a the Redeemer who was in fact Jason Wynn.[15]

The First Metamorphosis[edit]

After an almost dangerous confrontation with a Redeemer, Spawn's suit mutated and became more advanced. The unusual cape became slightly ripped, and the red glow that had come from the costume was gone, and had evolved to what is now black and white. Spawn used to have boots and gloves but he found out that those had also changed, becoming replaced with spikes. Spawn's suit was more powerful than the original and had also found out that he had a new cape and chains, which were able to shape shift into different things to confuse his opponents. After finding this out, Spawn used his blades to slash off a redeemer's hand. After defeating the redeemer Spawn thought that the battle was over until he meets someone more powerful than the redeemer known as the Freak. Spawn fought with The Freak but was unaware of The Freak's power, the ability to create nightmares which he did to torture Spawn with his past. During the battle a creature appearing to have the original appearance of Spawn, fights other beings and creatures, and knocks out Spawn. When Spawn woke up the creature tells Spawn that ever since the metamorphosis the suit will feed off souls. Spawn later finds himself in New York City. He would fight with The Curse, meet Harry Houdini who taught him about magic and also meet Batman.

After this Tony Twist sends a reprogrammed Overt-Kill after Terry, blaming him for the recent attacks on the mob and Spawn was forced to reveal his identity while saving his friend. However it was a well-placed shot from Twitch Williams that brought Overkill down this time. He would later bring back his friend Bobby after he was killed in another fight with Chapel. Spawn would be a part of Angela’s trial and later traveled to the South and had an encounter with the KKK and an abusive father of two boys. When he returned to New York he was attacked by a new Redeemer. This caused his costume to evolve and defeated the Redeemer with its new found power. After another encounter with the Curse the suit began to go wild and after saving Terry from cancer sent him to Hell, but Malebolgia sent him back with full control of the suit.

Spawn wears a living symbiotic costume, Leetha of the 7th House of K (also known as K7-Leetha). While wearing it, the host assumes a dominant role over his suit. His shroud, spikes, chains, and skulls are all part of an organism bonded to his central nervous system that will protect Spawn even if he is unconscious.[15]

Greenworld and Urizen[edit]

Due to increasing attacks from Heaven and Hell Spawn began to lose himself to evil, however thanks to the arrival of The Heap he was able to regain his goal. The Heap was an emissary of the Greenworld, a dimension whose power was equal to both Heaven and Hell’s and did not care for their war, but wanted to stop the destruction caused by it. They gave new powers to Spawn so he could better understand the world and its people.[15]

It was around this time that Spawn battled the powerful god Urizen. Spawn once stopped a cult from summoning Urizen, but this time he had been summoned by two gate opener demons named Ab and Zab. Urizen was causing massive destruction to the world and after losing a battle to him, Spawn came back and used his new abilities to use the Earth itself to swallow Urizen and imprison him..[15]

The New King of Hell[edit]

After his battle Spawn learns that Malebolgia caused Urizen’s release in an attempt to start Armageddon and conquer the forces of Hell due to his army being larger at the time. Spawn and Angela decided to journey to Hell and kill him to stop his plans. During the battle Angela mortally wounds Malebolgia, but he kills her with his remaining strength and in anger Spawn takes off his head.[15]

Spawn as an Angel[edit]

As Spawn struggled to find a way to get rid of hell's control and regain control, he noticed that the attacks were coming from both Heaven and Hell. Spawn found himself losing the battle at first due to the Salvation that had arrived in a new form, The Heap, a creature from the green world which is one of Spawns weaknesses. Heap's power was equal to Heaven and Hell which Spawn had never faced before, as it gave him new abilities which allowed him to overcome the worst from both Heaven and Hell. Though these powers were not really known they seem to give control of all the elements around the world. It was explained that the Greenworld had no interest in the war of Heaven and Hell, but was getting frustrated with the destruction that it brought. This caused earth "pain", and later Spawn became aware of it. Spawn did not change his powers though, but rather, "listened" to the earth, until being attacked by Urizen. After recovering, Spawn learns that the Greenworld had imbued him with a gift--which he uses to contain Urizen by splitting the ground and imprisoning him inside the earth.[15]

Upon killing Malebolgia, Spawn learns that Hell's throne is rightfully his, offered to him by the demon Mammon. Though he refuses the offer, Spawn eventually deliberates with his teacher Cog and decides to turn Hell into a new paradise. During this act, Cog reveals that he is in reality Cain--the man who killed his brother in envy and the first murderer/man to go to Hell. His true goal had always been to take over Hell and use a Hellspawn to do it. Having betrayed Spawn, Cog took the throne for himself, but gave his former student his human form back, a parting gift.[15]

After returning he meets a young Wiccan named Nyx. With her help he regains his suit, though he remains weaker than before due to still having a human form. However, Mammon tricks and betrays Nyx and usurps her control over Spawn's union with his suit, removing all of Spawn's past memories in the process. With no memory, Spawn wanders the Earth, and during this time releases a group of angels who are called the Forgotten and take no sides in the war between Heaven and Hell. He discovers that Mammon is a member of the Fallen who was sent to Hell and his power is much greater than Malebolgia’s.

Spawn in Armageddon[edit]

Spawn regains his memories thanks to the power of the Greenworld. His suit also evolves once more and now it seems one with his body but as time progresses, he begins to hate himself. Both Heaven and Hell have rejected him and now he sits in the back alleys, the city streets, sitting upon a stage prop in an abandoned warehouse as maggots and other horrible insects crawl inside his body. Nesting inside the empty shell that he has become...where is he to go? His first thought is to return to the dead zone however that land is heavens territory ... and a Hellspawn is not welcomed in such lands. Immediately, upon entering Spawn is confronted by the Disciple who promptly greets Spawn by tearing his brain out and throwing his heart into the Greenworld whilst Spawn's body is thrown to hell. Spawn is then captured and tortured by Mammon so he can understand the secrets inside him.[15]

When Spawn's heart fell to the Green World, a soul was freed, as all the souls that died within the hour Al died went into the Spawn suit (thus why Malebolgia could not control Spawn). Chris meets with his mother once more as the Man of Miracles instructed him and then he travels to hell along with Sam Burke and Twitch Williams to rescue Spawn from Mammon. Spawn escapes and when he returns to earth, Signs of Armageddon begin to appear and Spawn begins looking for a way to stop it. Spawn discovers that Wanda’s twin children are responsible and he stops them from killing their entire family, but is unable to destroy them. Zera reveals that Jake is God and Katie is Satan.

Spawn finds out that the Mother removed them of their powers and positions and sent them to Earth due to their hatred of each other and constant fighting. She tells him he cannot stop Armageddon, but he has the potential to be elevated to the power of a God and preserve the human race.

He has to eat a piece of Forbidden Fruit from the Garden of Eden to gain such power. She tells Spawn he must prove himself first and has to fight against The Disciple. It is revealed that there are twelve disciples, each one representing Jesus’ disciples. His power is also weakened as a demon is never to enter the Garden and it has taken the form of a counter starting at 9:9:9:9. However with guidance from Cyan he defeats all the Disciples except for the last Judas who Cyan tells him not to kill. He then stabs him in the heart, but the Mother gives Spawn a piece of the fruit and resurrect him. He gains a more angelic form and greater power.

He returns to Earth finding it destroyed by the four Horsemen and all the humans dead and Angels and Demons in their place waiting to fight in the final battle. After defeating Zera he finds dead warriors of Heaven and one of them is Granny Blake having been betrayed by her faith. Spawn then battles the forces of Satan and God. He uses all the power given to him by the Mother to destroy the forces of Heaven and Hell and even all humanity. He has stopped Armageddon by taking away their armies; he is then killed by the two who then fight alone on Earth. New World

However, Spawn comes back and by opening himself to the power of the Mother, resurrects everyone with the knowledge of what happened. He left God and Satan to fight in their own little world and closed the doors to Heaven, Hell and Earth. He asked to be turned into a human again by the mother, but later asked to once again become a Hellspawn.

The New Clown[edit]

After a series of odd murders Spawn finds that the Clown has come back possessing the body of man named Barney Saunders. It was revealed that Saunders was having an affair with a woman named Wilma Barbara and got trapped in a garbage chute when he was trying to hide from her husband. He was there for sometime until Spawn destroyed and remade the world. He was rescued by Clown so he could use his body for himself. He then brought out the dark urges inside the tenants of an apartment building and used this to form a doorway to Hell to bring back his brother’s. However before he could form a portal Wilma showed up and his love for her allowed Saunders to take back control. He then intended to close the portal by going through it, but he took Wilma with him due to being angry over her leaving him in the chute.

Zera reappeared only her head survived and she was suspended in a jar. Spawn was summoned by a Voodoo priestess named Mambo Suzanne. Zera was attempting to take over Nyx’s body and fight Spawn, but she was killed when Suzanne used their fighting as a distraction and threw her head into the streets where it was eaten by demon dogs. Nyx was freed and her and Spawn became friends again.

Spawn later found that Ab and Zab had started a hell house where demons called sin eaters would create illusions of people’s greatest sins and feed off their guilt. After killing most of the sin eaters he found that a minister being fed on was his brother Richard and he allowed him to hallucinate to learn about his past.

It was revealed that Mammon knew Al when he was younger under the name Mr. Malefick. He taught Al to kill small animals in hopes of turning him into a killer and his servant and got Richard to do drugs. Only their brother Marc wasn’t influenced by Mammon. Later Richard stabbed his drug dealer named Weasel while high and called his brothers for help, but Al finishes him off instead of being implicated in crime and Mammon hides the body.

Nyx and Spawn then kill the last sin eater and Spawn discovers that Richard cannot remember his parents due to a spell placed by Mammon and Spawn goes to find out about them. He finds their home under a spell placed by Mammon keeping them there for years. His mother is not shocked by his form, but his father is. It was revealed his mother planned with Mammon to create a hellspawn stronger than the others, but his father was grief-stricken that he couldn’t stop her. He is then given a journal by his father that his mother prevented him from seeing. It revealed that his ancestor came across a hellspawn in the past known as the Gunslinger Spawn. The Tale of Two Brothers

Al Simmons[edit]

Ab and Zab create a hell where visitors are forced to view their deepest fears due to demons called sin eaters they feed on guilt from the visitors then making them face the evil that they had ever done. A woman who was in the house both had delusions of their fear caused by the sin eaters. They fed on the guilt giving them more power when Spawn confronted Ab and Zab he was faced with his own sin against Wanda and his unborn child. Spawn was unable to break free from the guilt and was slowly fed on by a sin eater. When Nyx interfered he was able to break a sin eater illusion. Nyx realized that he was getting more powerful. Spawn breaks all the others illusions then he comes across one who learned is Albert Simmons brother, Richard who was going through his worst sin Spawn who was still not yet recovering from all those memories as Albert Simmons.

Spawn decides to allow Richard to feel his sins. It is realized that it was Mammon that put an influence on Albert Simmons and tutored Albert Simmons to torture and murder small animals seemingly allowing him to become his servant who would feel no pity in taking a being's life. Malefick had also influenced Richard Simmons to take drugs and introduced him to the drug dealer Weasel. It was only Marc Simmons who was able to save himself from Mammon but was unable to help the others. Richard Simmons' delusion of his past climaxed with him stabbing and injuring Weasel with a knife that was given by Mammon while intoxicated with drugs. Richard calls his brothers to help him save the drug dealer's life and Albert Simmons, not wanting his brothers getting in the crime decides instead of calling an ambulance and pulls the knife from Weasel's body and kills him with it. Mammon appears sending the brothers home while he hides the drug dealer's body.

Spawn at his Prime[edit]

The comic series during the continuation from the last issue Spawn was left helpless and at a little weakened against his enemy Erskine's psychic powers,and although Spawn had psychic powers of his own he was in trouble due to Erskine's creation of a tentacle creature that had the ability of impaling his enemies. This creature also showed the features of Mammon that was coaxing. Nyx had come out of nowhere to stab the creature with a sword, but not killing the creature just stunning it to get its attention, but it was a mistake by Nyx only making herself the creatures target. Next she uses her telepathic powers to contact Marc Simmons, asking him to shoot Erskine. Erskine retaliates and ceases Marc's attack and accidentally grabbed the trigger of Marc's special gun causing the creature to disappear, while Spawn and Nyx go to the hospital where Erskine is.

Spawn is given an opportunity of whether or not whether he should cause Erskine's death. Which threatens Spawn to enter the bubble dome, a dimension if Erskine does not reveal the location of Mammon, who Spawn believed was causing the attacks. Mammon then appears only to complicate the situation and make things worse by allowing Erskine to complete his last murder, by using a devastating psychic projection of a strange woman to attack the last victim. After all that had happened Mammon confesses that it was him who taught Erskine how to use his powers. Which been shown in his recent killing. Erskine tries to commit suicide leaving behind his possessions of the doctor who he was taken care by after he was brought to the hospital. Spawn continues to attacked Mammon, and ask what Mammon wanted from him. Mammon tells him that he was a special being with great divine powers.

Later a man wakes in a mortuary with no memory of who he is. Soon some doctors working on him discover he is alive and panic only to be killed by someone in a robe. The person was previously seen with Mammon and is revealed to be Morana. Severin is the man's name and he finds that he is one of the first species of vampires called the Vrykolakas. However he wants to die and Morana promises him death in return for his help. While Marc, Nyx and Spawn talk Severin appears defeats Marc and Nyx and bites Spawn to transfer his vampirism. He retreats back to Morana hoping for death, but is cursed to have to go over his last few moments repeatedly for all time.

It is revealed Cyan has been experiencing horrid visions mostly of her mother covered in blood and even Spawn's current torment. Severin's attack has caused Spawn to battle the suit in his mind. It tells him it was always in control not Al. It tells him of its anger of relinquishing his godlike powers and that Wanda had been having affairs before his death. The two fight in Spawn's mind him in his human form as the suit tells him Wanda never wanted his child soon Al gives in and gets up. Meanwhile Mammon with Morana and his adopted mother and father Lucian and Daciana as they prepare for the next step in their plans. Cyan is having more visions that cause her to be scared of Spawn and after seeing her door in blood she opens it to find Spawn asking if he's going to kill her mom. Luckily Granny had warned Cyan and she used a knife with the old shoe lace she got from Spawn to send Spawn into an illusionary world to talk to Wanda non-violently.

Morana[edit]

There, he speaks with Wanda while they ride on a boat in a lake. He says he wanted to move on but can't. Wanda wonders if he could go if she forgave him. She says she cannot forgive Al for the death of their child, but that she still loves the man inside him. Spawn tries to take out Cyan's knife, but only pulls out his wedding ring and somehow suppresses the suit. Soon, Cyan and Nyx show up, and they get to the shore only for K7-Leetha to appear and take over Nyx. It says it has been working with Mammon from the start to build Spawn and in return would get to live on freely on earth. Now controlled by the K7, Nyx tries to kill Cyan and Wanda, but is halted by Mammon, who promises even more power if K7 still obeys his wishes. The entire group goes to a castle, where Mammon says his plan to make a perfect Hellspawn. He wanted the Rapture to occur so that Satan, God and Malebolgia would be gone, and then revealed his perfect Hellspawn was Al and Wanda's miscarried child: Morana. He chose those two due to the fact that both their families have been filled with Spawns' from previous times.

After washing herself in virgin's blood, Morana is now fully mature. She bonds with the uniform and gets ready to consume her parents' souls. With none of the most powerful magic being usable, Cyan taps into her powers and goes to the future. She talks with an old woman who gives her a message for Al. Returning, she has Spawn summon the last twelve (but most powerful) members of the Legion. They are beaten by Morana one by one. Mammon insults Al, and in turn, he disowns Morana, enraging her, which gives Cyan the chance to tell Nyx a spell to trap Mammon and Morana. It works, both demons are sealed away, and the others return home, save Al, who jumped into another dimension to be reborn as a weapon against both heaven and hell.

Endgame[edit]

Spawn passes Vickie through that reality and is soon ready to enter the human dimension. He makes his way to a certain point in the alleys (probably the spot he first returned from hell) and then blows off his head. Meanwhile a man under the named Jim Downing, who is without his memories and is healing (unusually fast) at a hospital, wakes up. He seems to know Spawn, as he was thinking about him before his awakening. A janitor tries to make money off Jim's story and calls a lawyer. The lawyer then calls someone else and tells the janitor not to go to the papers, after which the lawyer commits suicide. Soon, a thug is paid to capture Jim. While he is talking to a nurse who prayed for his recovery, the thug attacks with a flaming skull. Jim flees while the thug causes a massive amount of damage to the hospital. Soon, the thug catches up to Jim, but Jim transforms into Spawn, kills his attacker, then escapes the burning hospital back in human form, eventually being taken in by firefighters.

He is later transported to another hospital with other patients. He later leaves and reunites with his previous nurse Sara. After remembering his first transformation, he begins to turn again. He calls to Sara, but leaves before she can see him. Meanwhile a reporter begins to ask questions about what happened at the hospital. Wandering the city Jim is attacked and effortlessly kills his would be killers. This draws the attention of Sam and Twitch, who recognize the chaos as something Spawn may do.

After again reuniting with Sara and telling him about his transformation, he then wanders off again, only to run into Wanda Blake, Al Simmons' ex-wife. She recognizes Jim as the form Al took when he originally came back to earth, and she realizes he is a Spawn like Al.

On her advice, he travels to Rat City and finds Spawn's throne, where Spawn ruled, and is met by an angel. He ends up fighting the angel, who calls him a traitor during the fight. Fearing the angel has done something to Sara, he beats the angel and leaves. Jim finds out that a man was asking questions about him, later finding out the man was working from another man named Gilbert Sanchez.

The angel Spawn beat is later attacked by Clown who removes her wings. When Spawn returns he's sees the angel both powerless and insane and is surprised to find Freak and later Violator himself. Despite Freak's warnings Clown begins to deceive Jim and informs him that his suit is a living being but then vanishes. Clown later allows himself to be arrested by Sam and Twitch to meet the leader of a vampire group to attempt to form a unity between the leader, Clown and Spawn.

Gilbert Sanchez is later killed by other mob members for his information on the new Spawn. Spawn attempts to learn more about him, but after being assaulted uses his powers on his attacker. Jim later finds the man who had been asking Sara questions. He tracks to his families home which is suddenly bombed killing everyone inside but Spawn. He is later able to find more mob members and questions them further and then finishing them when he's done.

Characters[edit]

Spinoffs and crossovers[edit]

Angela miniseries
In 1994 and 1995, a three-issue Angela limited series was published, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Greg Capullo. The series along with Angela's one-shot were later reprinted in a trade paperback (ISBN 1-887279-09-1), which, as of 2005, is out-of-print.[18]
Spawn: Blood Feud
Spawn miniseries during 1995, issues 1-4. Written by Alan Moore. Drawn by Tony Daniel. Ink by Kevin Conrad.
Spawn The Impaler
Three-issue miniseries released in October 1996, inspired by the story of the Wallacian voivode Vlad Ţepeş. Written by Mike Grell with art by Rob Prior.
Spawn: The Dark Ages
This series focused on Lord Covenant, a 12th Century knight killed in a holy crusade far from his homeland, who returns to Earth as a Hellspawn. As a plague of violence and turmoil cover the English countryside, the Dark Knight must choose whether to align himself with the innocent inhabitants of the once-thriving kingdom or with the malevolent forces of evil and corruption. The series ran for 28 issues. Issues 15-28 featured writer Steve Niles and artist Nat Jones.
Spawn: Blood and Salvation
A prestige-format one shot that concludes the story of Daniel Llanso, the Hellspawn featured in the first four issues of Curse of the Spawn.
Hellspawn
A relatively avant-garde spin-off comic inspired by Spawn. Darker and more atmospheric than Spawn, Hellspawn frequently dealt with disturbing subject matter. It originally featured writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Ashley Wood.
Spawn: Blood and Shadows
A Spawn prestige-format one shot released in 1999. Written by Paul Jenkins with art by Ashley Wood.
Sam & Twitch + Case Files: Sam & Twitch
A spin-off series following the crime investigations of detectives Sam Burke and Twitch Williams. Sam and Twitch ended in 2003 after 26 issues, to be followed by Case Files.
Spawn: The Undead
This series concentrates on Al Simmons. Unlike the original Spawn series, it was self-contained, single-issue stories. Written by Paul Jenkins it lasted 9 issues.
Spawn: Simony
Published in 2003 by Semic of France, McFarlane allowed the creators (Jean-François Porchero and Alex Nikolavitch) to create an original Spawn tale without using Image comics.
Shadows of Spawn
Recently released on American shores are three graphic novel compilations of the Spawn manga, known as Shadows of Spawn.
Spawn: Architects of Fear
A prestige format one-shot released in February 2008. Written by Arthur Claire with artwork by Aleksi Briclot.
The Adventures of Spawn
Cover of Spawn/Batman Polish edition Art by Todd McFarlane
At the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) '06 it was announced that a new take on the Spawn mythos was in the works. This new Spawn story is known as The Adventures of Spawn and as stated by Jon Goff, a moderator on the Spawn.com Message Board and McFarlane employee, it is a re-imagining of the Spawn story that is essentially a "What If?" universe that hearkens back to classic kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoons. The story takes place in a webcomic format and has been tied into the action figure world through McFarlane Toys' Spawn Series 30.
Violator
A three issue miniseries written by Alan Moore with art by Bart Sears which focused on the conflict between Violator/Clown and Tony Twist and also featured Spawn.

Legal disputes[edit]

Dispute with Neil Gaiman[edit]

In 1993, McFarlane contracted Neil Gaiman to write Spawn #9. While doing so, Gaiman introduced the characters Cogliostro, Angela, and Medieval Spawn. All three characters were designed and co-created by Todd McFarlane and continued to be featured in the series after Gaiman's involvement, and some had tie-ins with McFarlane's toy company. Cogliostro had a prominent role in the live-action movie in 1997. McFarlane had agreed that Gaiman was a co-creator of the characters and paid him royalties for reprints, graphic novels, and action figures.[19] After a few years he ceased the payment of royalties and gave Gaiman notice that he owned all rights to the characters, citing the copyright notice from #9 and claimed that Gaiman's work had been work-for-hire and that McFarlane was the sole owner.[20]

In 2002, Gaiman filed suit against McFarlane and in response McFarlane counter-sued. Gaiman had partnered with Marvel Comics to form Marvels and Miracles, LLC which bankrolled the lawsuit.[19] The main goal was to determine the issue of ownership for another character Gaiman felt he had a stake in, Miracleman, which at the time McFarlane was believed to hold a sizable stake in after his buyout of the assets of Eclipse Comics. This issue was thrown out. Instead the court chose to rule on the breach of contract issue, the rights of ownership, and the copyrightability of the characters from Spawn #9. Several arguments were presented by McFarlane and all were rejected, leading to a sizable judgment against McFarlane and Image Comics.[19] The matter went to appeal and the judgment was upheld in a 2003 decision.[20][18]

Gaiman's rights as co-creator and co-owner of Cogliostro, Angela, and Medieval Spawn were acknowledged.[20] The court's view was that Gaiman and McFarlane's collaboration led to each contributing half of the work.[20] Gaiman wrote the story while McFarlane illustrated the character; because of this each held a 50% stake in the characters. Issue 9 was reprinted for the first time since the lawsuit was filed in the hardcover edition of Spawn Origins: Volume 1. In a reprint collection of the first twelve issues of Spawn, the contentious issue (along with Dave Sim's #10, featuring copyrighted character Cerebus) was excluded, but both issues have been reprinted in the hardcover and deluxe editions Spawn Origins: Volume 1.

Tony Twist suit[edit]

Todd McFarlane created a mob enforcer character named "Antonio 'Tony Twist' Twistelli," who McFarlane acknowledged was named after hockey player Tony Twist. Twist won a $15 million verdict in 2004 when a St. Louis, Missouri jury found Todd McFarlane Productions had profited from Twist's likeness.[21] The verdict was upheld after two appeals in June 2006.[22]

Creative teams[edit]

Collected editions[edit]

Many issues of Spawn have been gathered together in various trade paperbacks collections since the mid-nineties. The original US and UK trade releases contain Issue 9, but not 10 (Cerebus' appearance).

US releases[edit]

Each containing four to five issues, the original Spawn trade paperbacks started in 1995 under a different trade cover design. After the live-action 1997 movie, a new trade cover design was created, with Brent Ashe providing new covers for Books 1–7, and Ashley Wood for Books 8–12. These reissues were retitled with subtitles. The sequential trades stopped after Book 12, but several new volumes appeared in 2006–2008, collecting various story arcs. Beginning in 2009, a new series of volumes was released, collecting the "Endgame" storyline.

  • Book 1, "Beginnings", 1–5
  • Book 2, "Dark Discoveries", 6–9, 11
  • Book 3, "Book 3", 12–15
  • Book 4, "Book 4", 16–20
  • Book 5, "Death and Rebirth", 21–25
  • Book 6, "Pathway to Judgement", 26–30
  • Book 7, "Deadman's Touch", 31–34
  • Book 8, "Betrayal of Blood", 35–38
  • Book 9, "Urban Jungle", 39–42
  • Book 10, "Vengeance of the Dead", 43–47
  • Book 11, "Crossroads", 48–50 (50 is double-sized)
  • Book 12, "Immortality", 51–54
  • Spawn: The Armageddon Collection Part 1 – contains issues 150–155
  • Spawn: The Armageddon Collection Part 2 – contains issues 156–164
  • Spawn: The Complete Armageddon Collection – contains issues 150–164
  • Spawn: New Flesh Collection (December 2007) – contains issues 166–169
    (note: Issue #165 wasn't included because it features the story of Mandarin Spawn)
  • Spawn: Neo Noir – contains issues 170–175
  • Spawn: Endgame Volume 1 (June 2009) – contains issues 185–190
  • Spawn: Endgame Volume 2 (April 2010) – contains issues 191–196
  • Spawn: Endgame Collection (January 2011) – combines Endgame Vol 1 and 2 (issues 185–196)
  • Spawn: New Beginnings Volume 1 (July 2011) – contains issues 201–206.
  • Spawn: New Beginnings Volume 2 (March 2012) – contains issues 207–212.

Spawn Collection[edit]

In 2005 the entire Spawn series began to appear in massive trade paperback releases under the title Spawn Collection, each containing (with the exception of Volume 1) approximately twenty issues. Released after the Gaiman lawsuit, these editions do not contain either Issue 9 (featuring the first appearance of Angela and Cogliostro, both created by Neil Gaiman) or Issue 10 (featuring Dave Sim's Cerebus).

Spawn Collection Volumes 1 and 2 were published in both hardcover and trade paperback formats, while Volume 3 onward were only released as trade paperbacks. As of 2009, Spawn Collection Volume 1 is currently out of print, with its fourth printing released in June 2007. In 2009 it was announced that the Spawn Collection would end with Volume 6, to be replaced by a new TBP format that includes soft- and hardcover versions, reprinting the entire Spawn series from the early issues once again (see below).

  • Spawn Collection Volume 1 – contains issues 1–8, 11–12 (December 2005)
  • Spawn Collection Volume 2 – contains issues 13–33 (July 2006)
  • Spawn Collection Volume 3 – contains issues 34–54 (March 2007)
  • Spawn Collection Volume 4 – contains issues 55–75 (September 2007)
  • Spawn Collection Volume 5 – contains issues 76–95 (April 2008)
  • Spawn Collection Volume 6 – contains issues 96–116 (August 2008)

Spawn Collection Volume 1 was ranked 17 in the top 100 graphic novels for December 2005 period, with pre-order sales of 3,227.[25]

Spawn Origins Collection[edit]

In 2009, a line of newly redesigned and reformatted trade paperbacks was announced, replacing the Spawn Collection line (see above) and once again collecting the early issues of Spawn. These new trades feature new cover art by Greg Capullo, recreating classic Spawn covers. In addition to the 6 issue trade paperbacks, this line features three oversized 12–13 issue hardcovers, and two large 25-issue limited slipcased deluxe editions (which come in both a standard edition and a signed and numbered edition limited to 500 copies). The 12-issue hardcover edition of Volume One was the first to reprint both Issues 9 and 10, and the 25-issue hardcover editions did as well.

  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 1 – collects issues #1–6 (May 2009)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 2 – collects issues #7–9, 11–14 (July 2009)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 3 – collects issues #15–20 (December 2009)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 4 – collects issues #21–26 (January 2010)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 5 – collects issues #27–32 (May 2010)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 6 – collects issues #33–38 (July 2010)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 7 – collects issues #39–44 (September 2010)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 8 – collects issues #45–50 (November 2010)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 9 – collects issues #51–56 (February 2011)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 10 – collects issues #57–62 (March 2011)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 11 – collects issues #63–68 (June 2011)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 12 – collects issues #69–74 (September 2011)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 13 – collects issues #75–80 (January 2012)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 14 – collects issues #81–86 (March 2012)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 15 – collects issues #87–92 (June 2012)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 16 – collects issues #93–98 (September 2012)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 17 – collects issues #99–104 (February 2013)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 18 – collects issues #105–110 (May 2013)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 19 – collects issues #111–116 (September 2013)
  • Spawn Origins Collection Volume 20 – collects issues #117–122 (February 2014)

Deluxe Edition[edit]

  • Spawn Origins Collection: Deluxe Edition Volume 1 – collects issues #1–25
  • Spawn Origins Collection: Deluxe Edition Volume 2 – collects issues #26–50
  • Spawn Origins Collection: Deluxe Edition Volume 3 – collects issues #51–75
  • Spawn Origins Collection: Deluxe Edition Volume 4 – collects issues #76–100[26]

Hardcover Edition[edit]

  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 1 – collects issues #1–12
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 2 – collects issues #13–25
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 3 – collects issues #26–37
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 4 – collects issues #38–50
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 5 – collects issues #51–62
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 6 – collects issues #63–75
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 7 – collects issues #76–87 (September 2012)
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 8 – collects issues #88–100 (April, 2013)
  • Spawn Origins: (Hardcover Edition) Book 9 – collects issues #101–112 (August, 2013)

UK releases[edit]

These releases were originally published in fifteen 5–6–issue volumes in the UK by Titan Books, with titles named by religious theme. The following books contained original series issues 1–82, with the exception of the previously mentioned Issue 10.

  • Creation – contains issues 1–5
  • Evolution – contains issues 6–9 and 11
  • Revelation – contains issues 12–15
  • Escalation – contains issues 16–20
  • Confrontation – contains issues 21–25
  • Retribution – contains issues 26–30
  • Transformation – contains issues 31–36
  • Abduction – contains issues 37–42
  • Sanction – contains issues 43–48
  • Damnation – contains issues 49–53
  • Corruption – contains issues 54–58
  • Devastation – contains issues 59–64
  • Termination – contains issues 65–70
  • Resurrection – contains issues 71–76
  • Ascension – contains issues 77–82

South African releases[edit]

Originally published by a South African publisher named Battle Axe Press in the early 1990s. Only the first 10 issues were published due to legal matters. The comic book prints were released on standard paper as opposed to the original glossy paper from Image comics.

Related collected editions[edit]

Spin–off trade paperback collections[edit]

Several Spawn–related mini–series have been collected in TPB editions.

  • Angela (later retitled Spawn: Angela's Hunt) – contains Neil Gaiman's Angela issues 1–3 and the 2005 one–shot.
  • Spawn: The Undead – collects Spawn: The Undead issues 1–9
  • Spawn: Godslayer Collection 1 – collects Spawn: Godslayer 1–6
  • Sam & Twitch Book 1: Udaku – collects 1–8 of the Sam and Twitch spin off.
  • Sam & Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection 1 – collects issues 1–9
  • Sam & Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection 2 – collects issues 10–19
  • Violator vs. Badrock – collects Alan Moore's crossover miniseries issues 1–4

Curse of the Spawn[edit]

Most of the Curse of the Spawn spin–off series has been collected in TPB editions.

  • Curse of the Spawn: Book 1: Sacrifice of the Soul – issues 1–4
  • Curse of the Spawn: Book 2: Blood and Sutures – issues 5–8
  • Curse of the Spawn: Book 3: Shades of Grey – issues 9–11, 29
  • Curse of the Spawn: Book 4: Lost Values – issues 12–14, 22
  • The Best of Curse of the Spawn – contains issues 1–8, 12–16 and 20–29 without the coloring

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Spawn appeared in the Robot Chicken episode "Celebutard Mountain" voiced by Adam Talbot.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Super Zeroes", the main characters appear as superheroines that parody different comic book characters. Buttercup appears in a likeness of Spawn, the character being known as "Spore" in their universe. Her appearance is dark with a large cape and green eyes, and she gives herself the name "Mange". Even a parody of Malebolgia appears, giving her powers.
  • A villain who appeared in the show World of Quest named General Ogun has a strong resemblance to Spawn.

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

Spawn has starred in several video games:

Merchandising[edit]

Music[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 1999 film Dogma, one of the Stygian triplets wears a Spawn t-shirt.
  • Issue #1 of Spawn can be seen in the background in Chasing Amy.
  • In Live Free or Die Hard, John McClane picks up and damages a Spawn action figure.
  • In the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still there is a Medieval Spawn action figure, along with a few other Spawn toys, in Jacob's room.
  • In the 2009 film Orphan, the little boy Daniel Coleman is shooting down Spawn action figures, namely an Omega Squadron figure, amongst others, with a paintball gun.
  • In 2011, Spawn was featured in the tenth episode of the ScrewAttack series Death Battle"", where he fought and defeated Kratos.
  • In the TV series The Riches, Cael mentions to the gas station attendant that he prefers Spawn over Witchblade.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes: (40-21)". IGN. May 5, 2011
  2. ^ Nama, Adilifu (1 October 2011). Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes. University of Texas Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-292-74252-9. 
  3. ^ Miller, John Jackson. "X-Men #1, One Piece, and world records", The Comics Chronicles, November 16, 2010.
  4. ^ Rossen, Jake (May 2008). "50 Events That Rocked Comics". Wizard Magazine #200. 
  5. ^ "Todd McFarlane - Complete Biography". Spawn.com. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  6. ^ "Wizard Market Watch". Wizard (22). June 1993. pp. 134–5. 
  7. ^ a b Pearson, Lars (August 1997). "Spawn's Scorching". Wizard (72). p. 141. 
  8. ^ "Wizard Top 100". Wizard (72). August 1997. p. 142. 
  9. ^ "Top 300 Comics Actual—January 2008". icv2.com. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  10. ^ "McFarlane-Portacio Spawn Sells Out". Newsarama.com. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  11. ^ "Comic Book Sales Figures for April 2009". Newsarama.com. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  12. ^ "Spawn #200 Sells Out in One Day - Comic Book Resources". Comicbookresources.com. Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  13. ^ "Spawn #200 - Review". IGN.com. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  14. ^ Nelson, Victoria (8 May 2012). Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-0-674-06540-6. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k M. Keith Booker (ed.). Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels. ABC-CLIO. p. 583-585. ISBN 978-0-313-35746-6. 
  16. ^ Boyd, Todd (30 October 2008). African Americans and Popular Culture [3 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-313-06408-1. 
  17. ^ Duncan, Randy; Smith, Matthew J. (January 2013). Icons of the American Comic Book: From Captain America to Wonder Woman. ABC-CLIO. p. 503. ISBN 978-0-313-39923-7. 
  18. ^ a b Wagner, Hank; Golden, Christopher; Bissette, Stephen R. (28 October 2008). Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman. St. Martin's Press. pp. 239–252. ISBN 978-1-4299-6178-3. 
  19. ^ a b c "Points of Articulation: KIMOTA! Neil Gaiman vs. Todd McFarlane". OAFEnet. 2003-07-17. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Points of Articulation: KIMOTA! Neil Gaiman vs. Todd McFarlane, part 2". OAFEnet. 2004-09-01. 
  21. ^ CBC Arts (2004-12-20). "Todd McFarlane Productions files for bankruptcy". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  22. ^ Appeals court upholds $15M verdict for Twist
  23. ^ a b c [Exclusive!] Mcfarlane Reunites With 'Spawn' : Comics[dead link]
  24. ^ http://comicbuzz.com/the-pro-logs-todd-mcfarlane
  25. ^ "Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual—December 2005". icv2.com. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  26. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spawn-Origins-Collection-Edition-Numbered/dp/160706832X/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_3_6HC5
  27. ^ "Awards for "Spawn"". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  28. ^ "Spawn Animated Series Coming Back to Life". TMP International/ Spawn.com. 2004-05-12. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  29. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1997-01-12/entertainment/ca-17749_1_comic-book
  30. ^ Varanini, Giancarlo (2003-01-14). "Link, Spawn, Heihachi confirmed for Soul Calibur II". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  31. ^ "The Dark Saga". Iced Earth. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 

External links[edit]