We’ve hit Issue #308… Every single issue at this point that is released will be a seminal one, and constantly breaking the record for longest run of an independent comic book. This new issue even starts a new story arc, so it’s a good time to re-evaluate whether or not to keep Spawn on my Pull List!
Russ’ voice is reverberating in the back of my head like a telepathic impulse projected from a thousand miles away… “Are you a fan man? Because fan is short for fanatical! If you’re a fan you should just buy that shit!”
Honestly, it is a much easier decision with Spawn than it was with TMNT (though, for those of you following this series of articles, I did end up buying TMNT #107, and keeping I’ll be keeping it on my Pull List as well).
Personally, I’m one of those weirdos who is not only interested in the books themselves, but I’m also interested in the people behind the books. Kevin Eastman is still consulting and doing covers for TMNT, but it is not quite the same with IDW directing things. Spawn on the other hand… Well, McFarlane has taken a much more active role in his comic in recent memory, than he has in the past, and the “Road to #300” took the four issues leading up to the ground-breaking release as time to retell the history of the character and establish new story lines going forward.
Spawn remains one of the cheapest books on the market; new issues are only $2.99 (instead of $3.99 or $4.99), and digital back issues are $0.99 each from #2 all the way through until issue #302, with issues #303 through #307 priced at just $1.99, and issue #1 (like all Image #1’s) is completely free to get you started.
Image has never been the publisher/imprint that I go to when I look for solid or thought-provoking writing, and up until this issue, I would have still held them in that same regard, but McFarlane seems to have been moved by recent events. The commentary he offers in this issue of Spawn is actually really good, and has some great panels in it that not only have things to say about current events, but they are thoughtful and contribute to the lore and story that he’s building with this post-300 Spawn universe.
If you haven’t been reading since the early nineties, don’t fret, Spawn is a lot like other comics, it’s a soap opera of sorts. The beauty of what McFarlane is doing this time around though, is that he is introducing a whole new universe of various different Spawns that you can follow and be interested in. The early three hundred issues he introduced “She-Spawn,” and the response was positive enough that he seems to have been receptive to introducing even more Spawns. Cogliostro makes a return and he is instrumental in lettings us know that there is now a “Gunslinger Spawn” named Javier:
After dispatching of Medieval Spawn, Al Simmons will surely handle “Javier,” but it is bound to be an interesting conflict for at least one issue or hopefully a series of issues. This is the first time we’ve seen a wild west spawn come up in lore, and it’s interesting to see what other Spawns will cross over from the temporal-slash-dimensional portal that Simmons has seemingly opened. Additionally, the pages of the most recent comic continue to remind us that Simmons is running out of power. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in other episodes of the podcast, it’s exciting to see this concept again, because for a long time it was abandoned. But the notion of limited power harkons back to the early issues.
As much as I wasn’t a fan of Jason Alexander’s artwork, I’m excited to say that McFarlane has found a new artist, and his work is a better fit for my vision of what Spawn should be. I’m not saying that my opinion is the end-all or be-all, but I definitely think that my personal tastes are more aligned with the mainstream interests. Ken Lashey probably won’t spend too much time as the main artists on Spawn, but I’m not mad about that, McFarlane has done an awesome job (even going all the way back to issue #16 when he employed Greg Capullo) of finding new talent to bring his vision to life. Because of the fact that the art keeps getting refreshed, it’s easy to keep jumping on.