Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reader's Diary #1119- Todd McFarlane: Spawn, Origins Collection Vol. 1

On my quest to becoming an expert in Canadian comics (trust me, I've got a LONG way to go), I'd better start knocking some of the heavy hitters off the list. Originally from Calgary, Todd McFarlane, is known for a lot of successful ventures, though he came to my attention first for his line of toys and then as the creator of Spawn. Though I'm not surprised to learn that he worked on Spider-Man and helped create Venom prior to that. Looking at the eye-splotches on Spawn's mask, it would seem that he didn't push the creative juices too far with his look. I'm more surprised that he didn't also have a hand in creating Deadpool.

That said, below the mask, Spawn's costume is more interesting. Interesting, as we all know, is often a code word for "it sucks" but I wouldn't go that far here. That said, I now understand the negative reviews I've read calling his costume ridiculous. It consists of a bizarrely large cape and collar (which look like they would get in the way more than anything else) and excess chains that seem to float around him like they have a mind of their own. But, there's an out-there, spectacle quality to his art that I don't altogether dislike. Sure it's a bit nuts (and you should also see the demon characters) but it's at least fun to look at.

Spawn is initially an intriguing character, as the character himself has only foggy details of his former life. We gather that he worked as a CIA operative, was intentionally taken out by a fellow soldier, went to hell, made a deal with a demon (maybe the devil himself) to go back to Earth, but gets sent back as a deformed, costumed, angry amnesiac. I didn't find his return promise to be made particularly clear, but I gathered (correct me if I'm wrong) that he was supposed to a soldier of the devil on Earth. At first, it would appear that he was keeping up his end of the bargain. He's punishing bad guys, but doing so in very gruesome, violent ways. Superman he ain't. But then when he starts to rebel against this sort of mayhem, demons are sent to put him back on the right (i.e., wrong) path, and of course, Spawn clashes with them as well.

It's not the greatest, nor clearest, plot in the world and there's a lot lifted from other comics (besides the aforementioned eye splotches, McFarlane also includes newscasters throughout just as Frank Miller did in the Dark Knight Returns, there's also a couple of pages where the panels alternate colours between purple and orange creating an X-pattern, just as John Higgins' employed on many pages throughout Watchmen), but for all that I was entertained. I'm not in a rush to read beyond this collection (which is comprised of the first six comics) but I wouldn't rule it out later down the road if I'm bored.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I bet he makes quite a fashion statement whenever he goes to the opera, though.