Spawn #1 cover detail

Image @ 25: Todd McFarlane’s Spawn

This week at, I took a look back at the earliest issues of Todd McFarlane’s “Spawn,” the only Image Founding Father series to debut as a series, not a mini.

We see what McFarlane learned from working with David Michelinie on “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  We wonder why there’s webbing in a horror superhero book.  We ponder the popularity of Dale Keown in early Image.  That’s something I’ll touch on again next week when I cover “CyberForce.”

What I Learned from This Re-Read

I didn’t wind up with massive chunks of deleted text from the column to add here, but I did want to make a couple of points.

First, the Spawn/Savage Dragon cameo I mentioned in the “Savage Dragon” review also appeared in an early issue of Spawn. That’s how Larsen drew such good McFarlane-esque kids: He copied and pasted those panels into Savage Dragon.

Second, the first issue of Spawn was drawn on large paper so McFarlane could add even more detail. I’m not sure how much larger it was — whether it was full-on twice-up qpaper, or just something slightly larger.

McFarlane finished pages then spread them across the floor in an attempt to put a story together.  That story won’t shock you at all after you read the first issue.   As with much of Spawn, it’s a lot of posing with caption boxes telling a story.


The Art of Spawn’s Cape

Dave Sim’s pin-up made fun of the cape.

Cerebus-Spawn pin-up by Dave Sim

An entire issue of “Stupid” made fun primarily of Spawn’s cape length.  You can see a preview of it in this ad.  Weirdly enough, it’s a Valentine’s themed ad for a May-released book.  Did the issue run that late?  Or was the gag playing closer to the solicitation date schedule?  You make the call!

Stupid issue with Spawn by Hilary Barta


Next Week

“CyberForce”: A lot of characters.  Teams of characters.  And some pretty Marc Silvestri artwork…




  • johnpannozzi February 16, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    It’s Don Simpson’s Splitting Image that’s being reprinted, not Stupid. Though I certainly wouldn’t mind having both of them reprinted.

  • Augie February 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Oh, wow, I can’t believe I confused the two. Crud. Thanks for the correction. My Image Fanboy membership might have to go under an internal investigation now. Ack!

  • johnpannozzi February 16, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    The short story Liefeld mentioned offering Keown in the podcast DID happen. It was the Pitt backup story in Youngblood #4.

    So, you’re doing Cyberforce next. Do you have the trade of the original Cyberforce miniseries? That added a few pages to the first pages.

    And in Spawn-related news, Kevin Smith is developing a Sam & Twitch series for BBC America. Neat.

    • Augie February 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks for the reminder, John. I should be getting to Youngblood in another week, and that will refresh my memory better…

      I don’t have the CyberForce trade. I wrote it based strictly on the issues.

      And I did see the Kevin Smith news. That could work. We’ll see. It seems like a good fit. =)


What do YOU think?

%d bloggers like this: