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‘Spawn: Origins – Volume 1’ – Trade Paperback Review

Is there anything more intrinsically ’90s than Todd McFarlane’s Spawn? It’s perfect. The content is edgy, the art is gritty, and the capes are long as heck. It has been a very long time since Spawn was a hit, but lest we forget, it was a major hit. There was an HBO show along with a feature film and successful cartoon. Impressively enough, Spawn managed to thrive under the umbrella of an independent comic book publisher (Image Comics) which was run by a group of renegade writers and artists, unsatisfied with the deals they were offered at the two major comic book outlets (Marvel and DC).

Yes, the ’90s were very kind to Spawn, and, as a result, our little edgelord permeated the market. Going through this book was a blast from the past, and, to be completely honest, I am not sure that I can separate my nostalgia to objectively critique this book. So, instead I am going to highlight some things I noticed about Spawn going through some of these old stories more than 20 years later.

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McFarlane is a student of Frank Miller. Okay, so this might not be the most profound revelation, but it’s something I didn’t consider until now. Of course, this would make total sense since they would have been contemporaries, and Miller’s success would have obviously inspired McFarlane in those early days, but Spawn: Origins opens up almost identically to Dark Knight Returns. The news is reporting on how bad things have gotten, cut with scenes of bad things actually happening. Also, some of McFarlane’s character sketches look very similar to the monstrous designs of Miller.

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Spawn emotes through his eyes. Spawn has emotions just like anyone else, but it is obviously hard to show that when the character is perpetually wearing a mask; however, much like how Spider-Man can emote through the costumes eyes, Spawn can, too! Knowing that McFarlane cut his teeth drawing Spider-Man in the late ’80s, this makes a lot of sense.

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At the end of the day, Spawn is just cool. He wears a lot of chains and is no stranger to the occasional skull accessory. It’s like he was born out of a Hot Topic, but in a cool way! Sure, “cool” is relative, but just look at all of those chains! The content has barely aged into the 21st Century, and, sometimes, things don’t always land the way they did two decades ago. Will this attract new readers? Likely, no. Is it a good collection for those of us who remember a time when John Leguizamo had to walk around on his knees for the entire filming of Spawn (1992). Yes . . . yes, it is.

Creative Team: Todd McFarlane (writer, art, ink)
Publisher: Image Comics
Click here to purchase.


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