Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Spawn walking between the heroes of old and their creators

More amazing than a spiderman.  More incredible than a hulk… SPAWN is one of the seminal comic books of the 90s.  Conjured from the mind of Todd McFarlane, it’s an explosion of creativity, bursting with energy that bounces off the pages.  Someone could be illiterate and still love it as a visual masterpiece.  What Dante is to poetry, is what McFarlane is to illustrative art.

The story revolves around Al Simmons who is more or less a good guy in the eyes of society, a dutiful soldier, a Captain America type who dies and goes to hell because of the copious amounts of blood he spilled during his days as a soldier, always following the orders of the powers that be and never really thinking for himself.  In Hell, Al makes a deal with the devil Malebolgia to come back to life on earth, so he can see his beloved wife again, but (there’s always a “but” with the devil) he has to assume the role of Hellspawn (aka Hell’s pawn) – a super powered corpse looking entity of demonic force.  And in a cruel, twisted joke, Malebolgia returns him to earth five years after his death, only to find his wife now has a kid and is married to his former best friend.  Oh the drama!
first issue

Bewildered, confused, perplexed as to what his purpose/mission really is; Spawn spends much of his time in the back alley slums of New York City, his own fortress of solitude, trying to figure out what’s happening with his life, trying to resist the forces (good and evil) tugging him back and forth, while serving as a kind of hero, a kind of protector, a kind of king to the homeless and downtrodden.  Armed with limited unlimited power, he can do pretty much anything – heal diseases, resurrect the dead, beat the crap out of evil monster things, BUT the more he uses his awesome powers, the more it drains his life force, and eventually will return him to Hell, and thus begin his duties as Malebolgia’s general in the wars against heaven.  So he has to be careful about when he chooses to fight, which to me is a cool paradox for a hero to have to pick and choose when he can use his crazy awesome powers for the good.  
Angela featured on cover #9

So many interesting characters arise from the shadows of this series:  Angela – a badass, renegade angel, at first foe, and then friend to Spawn; The Redeemer – an evil, ruthless bastard forced by heaven to do the work of good, essentially the opposite of Spawn; The Violator – a joker like demon clown, charged with keeping tabs on Spawn; John Sansker aka Heartless John – a vampire’s vampire, and so many more.

Enjoyed this series very much.  It forever has a place in my pantheon of kick ass comics, right alongside Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. 


  1. My comic reading goes back to DC Comics and the likes of Superman,Batman and the Hulk.While serving with the British Army there were always lots of Commando War Stories.
    I grew up with the UK comics the Dandy and the Beano,then the Eagle,Rover,Wizard and the Hotspur.
    My favourite character was 'Wilson'Wizard Last Episode 1946 originally in text, but revived in comic form in the Hotspur and Hornet.
    He was a 150 year old super athlete.Me and my cousins as teenagers would imagine we'd emulate him.Brilliant days, thanks for bringing them back to mind.

    1. Glad to remind you of the good old days! Never heard of 'Wilson' sounds like a cool hero though.

  2. I've always wanted to get into comic books.

  3. This reminds me I have the 1st Spawn hidden away somewhere. One of the first comics I ever read.