TITLE: Spawn vol. 1, issue #1
YEAR: May 1992
COMPANY: Image Comics
Story, Pencils & Inks by Todd McFarlane
Letters by Tom Orzechowski
Color by Steve Oliff
Editor: Wanda Kolomyjec
I have discussed the emergence of Image Comics and the talent behind the original startup.
But if there is one Image Comics comic book at launch that did remarkably well, it would be Todd McFarlane’s “Spawn”.
Best known for his work on “The Amazing Spider-Man” for Marvel Comics, for Todd McFarlane, looking for a hero to kick off Image Comics led to McFarlane going to his high school portfolio and pulling the character he created.
While “Spawn” would lead to Todd McFarlane reaching mega-success from McFarlane Toys and Todd McFarlane Entertainment, as “Spawn” continues, McFarlane is busy as a successful businessman and would leave “Spawn” at issue #70 to focus on his businesses. And at one time the co-owner of NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and owner of MLB baseballs which are significant in various athletes who have broke a record.
But in the ’90s, he was a rebel. While known for his art more than for his writing, he transformed “Spider-Man” to a darker issue, or at least he tried to, thus causing conflict between him and Marvel Comics editors.
So, when “Spawn” issue #1 was released, it became the highest selling indie comic book, selling 1.7 million copies and it would lead to a live-action film, animated film and more.
While the art was the comic’s high point, the writing was not exactly the best and it would lead to McFarlane hiring guests writers including the industry’s top writers for issues #8-11.
But for this first issue alone, it was no doubt a memorable comic book release for the early ’90s.
The first issue features Spawn trying to remember his past.
From the news, we learn about at Lt. Colonel Al Simmons who was best known for saving the President during an assassination attempt but now, Lt. Colonel Al Simmons is being buried with his wife Wanda Blake mourning him.
Since then, Wanda has moved on and she is now dating Al’s buddy, Martin Alexander, the man responsible for introducing Al to Wanda.
As Spawn starts to have memories of dying and then making a promise to the devil, he is upset that he was taken advantage of.
He was given power, but robbed of his memories and his entire body looks like a burned corpse.
So, he must wear a mask and an outfit and while many think he may be a superhero, he’s anything but.
He sees a woman about to be raped by a group of men and he manages to save her but inside his head, all he can think of is a beautiful woman. Not knowing who she is, but remembering a funeral and her face.
But Spawn asks…”Who am I?”.
Meanwhile, serial murders of deaths of major gangsters have occurred through the city. Who is responsible?
While I purchased “Spawn” comic books for the cool factor, I have to admit that finding “Spawn” issues were not always easy. For one, the title was popular and it was often sold out. But also another thing that irked me is the fact that there were issue delays and with Image Comics, you never know when they would arrive. So, it was tough being an Image support and fan because the delays were just terrible.
With that being said, while “Spawn” issue #1 will be remembered for the debut of the iconic McFarlane anti-hero, it was an issue remembered more for its artwork versus its storyline. But fortunately, the stories became better overtime.