What better way to come back to something after a long excruciating break (if you’ve been in the midwest or Ontario recently you’ve probably seen what took up most of my free time) than to visit a special director’s cut of the 1992 classic Spawn. No not that film with Martin Sheen and John Leguizamo, we’re talking about a Spawn people still speak highly of. A comic that set a record for most sales of an independent book when it debuted. Does Todd McFarlane’s now iconic creation still hold up today?
Spawn #1- 25th Anniversary Director’s Cut
STORY, ART: Todd McFarlane
LETTERS: Tom Orzechowski
Publisher: Image Comics
First, let’s talk about the story of Al Simmons. A mercenary betrayed and left for dead, brought back due to a deal with the devil, only he’s brought back as an unwitting general for hell’s army complete with gooey powers and a giant cape. Simmons returns as Spawn and for over 200 issues he’s kicked ass and sparingly used his powers since McFarlane added the stipulation that once Simmons powers ran down to zero he’d die. Spawn had much of its way paved by the dark direction of Frank Miller’s Batman and Gaiman’s Sandman. Not that the story of Spawn ranked up there with them, but Spawn did take much of the bro action in comics and give it a jagged edge by which cynical comics readers could get into superheroes. While it was a solid story for the 90’s, if it debuted today it would feel a bit too trope. Thankfully Spawn had one strength that carried it through the years.
That combined blockbuster action and gothic inspired atmosphere were the book’s key selling points. Visually, Spawn still holds up against most comics today. Todd McFarlane had an unreasonable level of detail to his work for a guy whose philosophy was seemingly whatever you can’t draw hide it in shadows. Whether it was grit on a mystical chain or believable physics to a tarp of a cape that couldn’t possibly work in real life, McFarlane’s eye for bold striking images knew no bounds. Spawn’s debut also evolved what he’d previously done sequentially on Spider-Man. Through the artsy panel bordering, every shot had a purpose and gave Todd’s storytelling a flow he previously overcompensated for with over-the-top images in Spidey.
This 25th-anniversary edition of Spawn #1 examines the inner workings of Todd McFarlane’s mind as he created one of the books that would define Image Comics as a company for years to come. From his process on the cover of the book, reasons for dedicating the book to Jack Kirby, to the idea behind the Image company logo itself; the commentary in the special black and white comic goes deep. You’ll also see the book has a certain charm to the production as not only is the comic Todd’s virgin art but every blue line, page fade, in some cases stains have been preserved and scaled to fit comic book size. It makes this special a must own for Spawn fans.
[WON!] Spawn #1 25th Anniversary Director’s Cut is an incredible piece of work for anyone who loved comics in the 90’s but may not have understood everything about them.
Here’s the rest of this week’s number one issues and whether they’re winners or passers.
- [WON] YO-KAI WATCH #1 (IDW)
- [WON] GRRL SCOUTS MAGIC SOCKS #1 (IMAGE)
- [DONE] WICKED & DIVINE 455 AD #1 (IMAGE)
- [WON] LUKE CAGE #1 (MARVEL)
- [WON] BUBBLEGUN VOL 2 #1 (ASPEN)
- [DONE] IAN LIVINGSTONE’S FREEWAY FIGHTER #1 (TITAN)
- [DONE] SOVEREIGNS #1 (DYNAMITE)
- [DONE] STARGATE ATLANTIS HEARTS & MINDS #1 (AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY)
- [WON] STREET FIGHTER VS DARKSTALKERS #1 (UDON ENT)
- [WON] WARHAMMER 40000 DAWN OF WAR III #1 (TITAN)