Spawn – The Anti Hero we all love

Find out more about your favorite anti hero, how he was created and how big he was for comics.

Some history…

Growing up  in the 90s and 00s I was lucky enough to have spent my young and formative years with my head in a comic and good hip hop in my Walkman (a portable music playing device for playing cassette tapes). The 90s to me will always be larger than life production, gritty writing and an age of wonder to me. I mean consoles, arcades, new comics, tv shows and blockbuster action movies were coming out non stop. So before we get into one of the greatest anti hero’s of all time allow me to set things up.

In 1992 Batman: The Animated series was on the air which would later be the dubbed the best animated series of all time. Sega & Nintendo buttons were being mashed and Activision’s original company Mediagenic filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. This is the time in the aftermath of Frank Miller‘s legendary ‘The Dark Knight Returns‘ and Alan Moore’s masterpieces ‘The Watchmen‘ and ‘V for Vendetta‘ meaning comics witnessed a shift into more adult content with darker stories, sex and just grittier settings. Also remember that readers saw Superman die in 1993 and Venom get his own comic (interesting seeing as he was designed by Todd MacFarlane).  I say this so that a reader can attempt to envision the time and feel of that era that would later be dubbed The Dark Age or Iron Age of comics.

Todd MacFarlane and Image Comics

image-comics-logo
Image comics logo

Todd MacFarlane earned recognition first for his work on Marvel’s  ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ comic staying through the 80s for 28 issues and illustrated the first full appearances of the super villain ‘Venom’ as Edie Brock. The Canadian cartoonist and artist did not come out of nowhere, himself siting that he sent out more than 700 submissions in pinup size with next to no reaction from the publishers, mostly rejections. When he did get put on by the giant publisher he became a superstar in the world of comics. He would eventually part ways with Marvel due to their ‘work for hire’ policies towards their artists, in short they never got  percentages of sales or retained any Intellectual Property for the duration. Todd would join forces with other disenfranchised artists from the big publishers including: Jim Lee (X-men), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine) Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy) to name a few and veteran writer Chris Claremont (Uncanny X-men).  This group would reduce Marvel’s share price by $3.25 per share and they never turned back. Todd would mention in his own comics that he believed that artists deserved to be treated with respect by the publishers who made millions off their talent and not feel ripped off when a business relationship ended. Together Image comics would publish some of the best titles in comics including : Spawn, Witchblade, The Walking Dead and Saga. Image comics not only put out good product by renown artists but took a stand against corporations, their charter best says it:

  1. Image would not own any creators work; the creator retained it
  2. No partner interference either financially and creatively.

Enough said.

Spawn & Batman
Image Comics Todd MacFarlane

The birth of Spawn

After a life of full of murder, betrayal, pain and espionage serving his country he would get promoted to top assassin for the C.I.A. after saving the life of the president. Al is then murdered, by whom he knows not so during his journey through the inferno that is hell he makes one last plea, screams and begs for a chance to see his wife Wanda again. Needless to say making deals with demons never bodes well for the one signing on the line so Al returns to Earth, face looking like a badly burned burger drowned in scabs…yuck would be an understatement. Al is in a new body as his mind is tormented by flashbacks and memories of his great love. While trying to put all the pieces together he decides to crash in the alleys while becoming the protector of the homeless in the Bowery, a run down hood in New York. Gradually he learns he got stiffed in his deal returning 5 years after his death, his best friend knocked up his widow and he was celebrated a hero…I know, and believe me it get’s worse. I am trying to not spoil of the story or giveaway too much but I can say that every panel is worth the paper it’s printed on. Spawn means a lot to me because it challenged me as a young reader, opened my mind to new horizons concerning creativity and imagination. I mean hot angels waging war with demonic lords with New York City as the backdrop most of the time. Spawn fights Predators, Xenomorphs to Gotham’s caped crusader himself. Even the supporting cast are written well as you begin to empathize and relate to certain characters. Spawn is an ever evolving character and his universe is by far one of the most sinister in comics. Be sure to check out the first couple of issues and below I will include a link for you lazy cats out there who would rather watch the show. The movie was meh, but the HBO is a lot better and will give you a limited yet good idea of what to expect from the literature.

We encourage all our readers to supports publisher, designers and authors by at least checking out their sites if not through purchases.

 

MacFarlane

Image Comics

Goosebumps 2015 The Movie (Review and write up) R.L Stine starring Jack Black

Jack Black & R.L. Stine come together to leave you feeling like a kid again. Find out what we think of this soon to be classic.

While searching for something to watch this week I stumbled upon ‘Goosebumps‘ the movie and remembered reading about it before it went to theaters and could not believe I had missed it! I was genuinely surprised that I didn’t catch word of it or even see the trailer plugged on television. Having grown up reading the books then reading that Jack Black was starring in it I immediately made the call to watch it.

Today my car broke down first thing, effectively leaving me stranded at my folks place and the weather was horrendous leaving me with an opportunity to kick back in the room and watch the movie with no interruptions. I played the trailer to my brother who would be watching with me and he too said he was stunned that he had heard nothing about it until today.

Goosebumps

 

The story goes…  Zach (Dylan Minnette) comes to small town Madison Delaware where his mom is the new vice principal of his high school and just happens to move in next door to the legendary author R.L. Stine (Jack Black) and takes a romantic interest in his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) as they team up to battle against the characters from his books who have been let loose in suburbia.

If you ever read any of his work then the idea of mashing up all of his fiendish creatures into one movie is pretty stellar. Man Eating Plants to evil little garden gnomes, some of your favorite monsters make appearances and Jack Black playing R.L. seemed like movie gold to me. Well, until I heard Rob Letterman was behind the camera (Shark Tale & Gulliver’s Travels) I did got a little skeptic, after all Goosebumps were not really happy go lucky tales of joy from summer camp and a PG rating could prove fatal when you set high hopes for childhood classics. The budget was $50 Mil and it grossed north of $80 Mil  which is not too bad considering that the marketing was not that big but I would expect more for an author who is one of the best of our time. Yes, when a writer sells 400 Mil copies you have to tip your hat to him, especially if you ever read a copy for yourself.

Columbia Pictures produced a good movie which could be enjoyed by families and an adult audience with clever humor mixed in with great special effects. Rob throws you into it within the first seven minutes and the party does not stop, slow down or disappoint all the way to the end. This is a must watch for all Goosebumps fan if for not for the fun factor but for the nostalgia it awakens, watching them come to life was something take in. The shots are good, the tempo fast but not too fast and the writing is better than some of the ‘serious’ horror releases of late. I felt that it lost steam  in some places but that is my only qualm with the movie. I must thank Jack Black for doing a great job with this role and bringing his A game. I recommend it all the way and am hoping that Columbia decide to make another Goosebumps picture or perhaps a TV-Show in the years to come.

8 out of 10

  • Too Short
  • Steam is lost at some points which could have been easily avoided

 

Some of his works I would recommend for reading :

The Haunted Mask

Why I’m Afraid of Bees

Attack of the Mutant

Bottom Line : WATCH IT ! 

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You can find out more about the legend at his website : www.rlstine.com