Todd McFarlane's Spawn
|Todd McFarlane's Spawn|
This image depicts the logo of the animated television series Todd McFarlane's Spawn, which aired on HBO from 1997 through 1999.
|Created by||Todd McFarlane|
|Developed by||Alan B. McElroy|
|Starring||Keith David as Spawn|
|Voices of||James Hanes
John Rafter Lee
|Narrated by||Richard Dysart|
|Theme music composer||Shirley Walker
J. Peter Robinson
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Executive producer(s)||Todd McFarlane|
|Running time||30 minutes (episodes)
150 minutes (films)
|Original release||May 16, 1997 – May 28, 1999|
Todd McFarlane's Spawn is an animated television series which aired on HBO from 1997 through 1999. It is also released on DVD as a film series. It is based on the Spawn character from Image Comics, and was nominated for and won an Emmy in 1999 for Outstanding Animation Program (longer than one hour).
The series centered around the story of an ex-serviceman named Al Simmons, who fought in the Vietnam War as a commando. He was betrayed and killed by a man whom he believed to be his close friend (the man, Chapel, burned him alive with a flamethrower). Upon his death, Simmons vowed revenge on Chapel and hoped that he would one day return to his beloved wife Wanda.
In order to accomplish his vow, he makes a pact with the Malebolgia (who was the overlord on the eighth plane of Hell). The pact was a simple one: Simmons would become a Soldier in Malebolgia's army (known as the "Hellspawn" or "Spawn" for short) in return for the ability to walk the earth once again in order to see Wanda. However, Simmons was tricked and his body was not returned to him; instead he had been given a different body which was a festering, pungently cadaverous, maggot-ridden walking corpse that had a massive living red cape attached to it. The head of this new body had been rotten for some time and was in an advanced state of decay, which led to Simmons donning a mask in order to cover its grotesque appearance.
Upon his return to "life", Spawn seeks out Wanda, who had apparently got over the grief of having lost Al and married another man, Al's best friend Terry Fitzgerald with whom she seemingly had a daughter, Cyan. Terry, a respectable man, works for a man named Jason Wynn. Wynn is a black-market arms dealer, amongst other things (such as the head of certain government organizations, one of which dispatched Al and his team to Vietnam), and is revealed to be the man responsible for the death of Al Simmons due to a disagreement the two had between each other. Jason's actions would also prove dangerous to the lives of Terry, Wanda and their daughter as well. Realizing that he is no longer the man in Wanda's life, Al swears to protect her and her new family.
The series depicts Spawn nesting in the dark alleyways, killing any who invade his new-found territory. Rejecting these actions as unworthy of Spawn's time and power, Malebolgia then dispatches another of his minions (a demonic creature known as the Violator that assumes the form of an obese clown) to try to persuade Spawn to commit acts of violence and savagery in the name of Hell.
Spawn struggles to fight the lure of evil as well as seeking to escape being hunted by not only the forces of Hell but also must defend himself from assailants from Heaven, who have a need to destroy the Hellspawn in order to cripple the forces of Hell so they do not gain an edge in the escalating war between the two spiritual hosts. As the war intensifies, the line between the forces of good and evil become increasingly blurry. Spawn finds help along the way in the form of a disheveled old man named Cogliostro who was once a Hellspawn that overcame the demonic powers resting within, amongst a number of other characters.
In the last episodes of the series, Spawn learns how to shape shift and, appearing as Terry, makes love to Wanda, impregnating her. It is revealed that there is a prophecy that the child of a Hellspawn will play the deciding factor in Armageddon, and may be the real reason Spawn was allowed to return to Earth.
Todd McFarlane's Spawn
|Title||Original air date|
|1||"Burning Visions"||May 16, 1997|
|Al Simmons returns from the grave, lost and bewildered at how his wife Wanda is now married to his friend Terry Fitzgerald. He is followed by Clown, who reveals that Al has been dead for five years and is now a Hellspawn. Meanwhile, Jason Wynn and Tony Twist are trying to figure out how to move out their illegal arms.|
|2||"Evil Intent"||May 23, 1997|
|Tormented by the thought that he can't be with his wife, Spawn is annoyed by Clown's efforts to drive him into violence and evil in the name of Hell. He eventually engages in a brawl with Clown's demonic alter-ego, the Violator.|
|3||"No Rest, No Peace"||May 30, 1997|
|When Tony Twist's cyborgic hired hitman, Over-Kill, fails to eliminate Spawn, Wynn sends in Jess Chapel to get the job done.|
|4||"Dominoes"||June 6, 1997|
|Police detectives Sam Burke and Twitch Williams begin trailing the child-killer known as Billy Kincaid, who poses as an ice cream man. Wanda learns of some new evidence that will help her client be cleared of his charges.|
|5||"Souls in the Balance"||June 16, 1997|
|Spawn must deal with a crazed priest, a person who doesn't die after a snipe shot. Meanwhile, Clown tips off the location of Wanda and Terry's daughter, Cyan, to Kincaid.|
|6||"End Games"||June 30, 1997|
|Spawn saves Cyan from Kincaid and returns her to her parents, along with the wedding ring Al Simmons was buried with. Frustrated that Spawn didn't kill Kincaid, Clown does and promises to continue pursuing the Hellspawn.|
Todd McFarlane's Spawn 2
|Title||Original air date|
|7||"Home, Bitter Home"||May 15, 1998|
|Chapel steps onto Spawn's territory, and the two have an encounter that shakes the alleyways.|
|8||"Access Denied"||May 22, 1998|
|After Terry discovers more than he should about shipping discrepancies, Wynn orders a hit on his life. Spawn intervenes, wanting to be the one to kill Terry, but after learning that Terry didn't steal Wanda from him like he had originally thought, Spawn fights off Terry's attackers.|
|9||"Colors of Blood"||May 29, 1998|
|Unable to locate Terry after his hitmen's failure, Wynn turns to Wanda. Spawn takes care of some local drug dealers that are killing the homeless.|
|10||"Send in the KKKlowns"||June 5, 1998|
|A man claiming to be doing "the Lord's work" is killing off blacks, but finds that the one he captured, Terry Fitzgerald, is more than he can handle. Spawn attempts to confront Wanda, but only frightens her in the process.|
|11||"Death Blow"||June 12, 1998|
|Lisa Wu begins looking into the recent Rat City alley murders and Spawn visits Wanda at home.|
|12||"Hellzapoppin"||June 19, 1998|
|As Wynn watches the news, he receives a message from the Clown and the channel goes back on. Realizing that Wynn had sent people to kill both Cyan and Wanda, Spawn threatens to kill Wynn if he doesn't back off.|
Todd McFarlane's Spawn 3: The Ultimate Battle
|Title||Original air date|
|13||"The Mindkiller"||May 23, 1999|
|Spawn begins feeling regret about abandoning his former mentor, Major Forsberg, as Cogliostro attempts to talk him into giving up the shroud.|
|14||"Twitch Is Down"||May 24, 1999|
|Officer Twitch Williams investigates that alley murders and confronts Spawn. After Twitch learns too much about the alley murders and Jason Wynn, Wynn sends the dirty Police Chief Banks out to kill Twitch to keep him silenced.|
|15||"Seed of the Hellspawn"||May 25, 1999|
|Spawn learns to use his shroud to take on the forms of others. Knowing that returning as Al would worry Wanda too much, Spawn disguises himself as Terry and makes love to his wife one last time. Meanwhile, Sam is watching Twitch get hospitalized. Banks attempts to frame Spawn as Twitch's shooter.|
|16||"Hunter's Moon"||May 26, 1999|
|Spawn befriends a vampire named Lilly, but when she attacks him and reveals that she was sent by Heaven to kill him, he wastes no time in frying her with sunlight. Lisa Wu, now revealed to Spawn as Jade - a hunter also sent by Heaven to kill Hellspawn - allows him to re-heal himself after his fight with Lilly.|
|17||"Chasing the Serpent"||May 27, 1999|
|Spawn, aided by Jade, frees Terry Fitzgerald and Major Forsberg from Jason Wynn's opium prison.|
|18||"Prophecy"||May 28, 1999|
|Jade realises Spawn is not what she thought and decides to spare him, and heaven responds by placing a bounty upon Jade. She is mortally wounded by the new hunters and in the end, she avoids disgrace and is granted a spot in heaven by having Spawn give her a warrior's death. Meanwhile, Sam and Twitch confront the Chief in the subway, and secure a confession before the last train leaves. "I want my humanity back" was all that Spawn said before the closing credits roll.|
- Keith David - Spawn/Al Simmons
- Richard Dysart - Cogliostro
- Michael Nicolosi - Clown/Violator (human form)
- James Hanes - Violator (demon form), Over-Kill
- Dominique Jennings - Wanda Blake
- Jennifer Jason Leigh - Lilly
- Michael Beach - Terry Fitzgerald (episodes 15-17), Bobby (episodes 15-17), and additional voices
- Victor Love - Terry Fitzgerald (episodes 1-12), Bobby (episodes 1-12)
- Kath Soucie - Cyan Fitzgerald and additional voices
- James Keane - Tony Twist, Sam Burke
- Michael McShane - Maximilian "Twitch" Williams, Gareb
- John Rafter Lee - Jason Wynn
- Denise Poirier - Merrick, Bounty Hunter, Angela
- Ronny Cox - Senator Scott McMillan, Billy Kincaid
- Victor Brandt - Chief Banks
- Ming-Na - Jade (Lisa Wu)
- Ruben Santiago-Hudson - Jess Chapel
- Robert Forster - Major Forseberg
- James Hong - Gen Soon/Zhang Lao
- Debbi Morgan - Granny Blake
All three seasons have been released separately on DVD & VHS as three 2 hour movies, under the titles Todd McFarlane's Spawn, Todd McFarlane's Spawn 2, and Todd McFarlane's Spawn 3: The Ultimate Battle after editing these seasons into movies.
On July 24, 2007, HBO Video released a 4-disc 10th anniversary signature collector's edition on DVD with all 18-episodes and multiple bonus features.
When the show's first and second seasons were released on video they were released in two formats. The first format was called the "Uncut Collector's Edition", which is the version that was shown on TV and held a TV-MA rating, and the other was a special edited version called the "Special Edited Edition" which held a PG-13 rating by toning down the violence.
On July 5, 2016, HBO added all three seasons to its streaming services, HBO GO and HBO NOW.
- "HBO and David Kelley Win Top Early Emmys". The New York Times. August 30, 1999. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- "Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Animated Collection (10th Anniversary Signature Edition)". UGO Network. Retrieved 2010-12-14. Archived.
- "The Greatest Comic Book Cartoons of All Time - IGN". IGN. Ziff Davis. 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
- "Top 25 Primetime Animated Series of All Time". IGN. Ziff Davis. 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
- "Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Animated Collection (10th Anniversary Signature Edition)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-12-14.