Overview

Image Month: Spawn #1

Review

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Image Month: Spawn #1

Credits

  • Words: Todd McFarlane
  • Art: Todd McFarlane
  • Inks: Todd McFarlane
  • Colors: Steve Oliff
  • Story Title: Questions
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $1.95
  • Release Date: Jan 6, 1992

Todd McFarlane, the wildly inventive artist who launched his own Spiderman book, drops his own creative work on the world and in the process shows all the other Image creators how it's done.

In rereading Spawn #1 it becomes obvious just why this is one of the most popular and longest running of the original Image books.  While other books like Youngblood, WildC.A.T.S. and Cyberforce have come and gone (in many cases more than once), Spawn has remained.  This is what happens when a book is guided by a single vision throughout its publishing.  All of this is shown off in it's full glory with this magnificent debut issue.

First off, the artwork here is the height of McFarlane's power.  Beautifully illustrated, from trademark McFarlane hair to the flowing cape that Spawn has become known for, the images come alive under McFarlane's gifted linework and wonderful inking (a special note must be given to the imaginative coloring of Steve Oliff as well).  The storytelling is beyond reproach here as well, coming in with so many different techniques and styles, the book moves and you just follow along with it.

Story-wise, this book has it all.  There is a backstory here that, without knowing any of it, you instantly realise it has so many layers it will take years to figure it all out.  The beauty though is that the book makes you want to know.  We follow along with every page, while Spawn himself searches for answers with us, we all just seem to find more questions.  One after the other.  There is action here (afterall this is the guy who got famous for drawing Spider-Man and a certain Wolverine vs. Hulk battle), but it's not overdone and much of it takes place off panel, leaving our wondrous imaginations to fill in the blanks.  

Also, for all the flack he took about his writing, McFarlane proves, without a doubt, that while all his other partners were having scripters come in to write dialogue, sometimes you're just better off doing it yourself.  While the scripters who came in for other books went out of their way to fill pages with words, McFarlane understands the power of silence and of limiting the words on a page.

Sometimes you go back and reread books you bought as a youth and wonder just what the hell you were thinking.  It's kinda been like that in rereading all these old Image books for reviews.  But with Spawn #1, it didn't just make me realize why I read it for so many issues, it actually made me want to pick up issue #2 and continue reading it today.  This book was clearly the pinnacle of Image and a damn near perfect comic.

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