This week the biggest star in the planetarium of comic books is Spawn #200. I think there are more variant covers to this book than there are original partners in Image. So what is Spawn #200 and why should you care?
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
The myth that kids read comic books is just that, a myth. Unless you are a kid right now reading this ‘cause you’re in Forbidden Planet. In that case then I’d like to shake your hand and assure you “You’re Mythological.” I might then ask you how Theseus is doing these days and if you’ve ever met Medusa in person.
Still, TEENAGERS do read comics. One thing Teenagers do NOT have going for them is buying comic books in the early 90’s. This was an era of comics too short to get a label such as “Golden age” or “Silver Age.” It was a tiny time between the “Age of Spider-Man’s Clone” and “The Era of Bad Girl Comics.”
It was the time of Image Comics.
Ya’ See, the top artists from Marvel (and I THINK a few DC guys…I dunno’ it was a long time ago) got tired of Marvel (and maybe DC) expecting them to finish their books on deadline. They also had legitimate gripes about work-for-hire, profit sharing and merchandising residuals, but I think it was mostly about the deadlines.
These bright young coves bit the hand that fed them and scampered off to form their own company. There they made the gaudiest comic books ever devised by the pen of man. Each comic book was required by the company by-laws to have at least three variant covers. They made a lot of money, but few decent comics.
The stories were sub-par, mostly because they were derivative. Whaddaya’ want, they were being written by the artists. Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman might show up to pitch in from time to time, but otherwise the books were there to look good and serve as talking points while negotiating movie deals, cartoon shows and action figures.
In-fighting and the repetition of material ultimately whittled Image down to a few longstanding titles such as Savage Dragon (ALWAYS a great, retro feeling romp) and of course SPAWN.
Spawn was about a guy who sold his soul to the devil and (SURPRISE) felt cheated by the arrangement. For being resurrected and given powers to avenge his death the devil expected him to WORK for eternity as a Devil General. Bummer.
The comic was drawn by Superstar name Todd McFarlane, gave birth to terrible movies, awful cartoons and a slew of nifty (though easily broken) action figures. It was also is the genesis of many of the bitterest legal feuds in comics today (Go Google Todd McFarlane vs. Neil Gaiman and check out the fun!)
Either you are over the age of Thirty and you were a drooling Spawn fan-boy at one time or you’re one of those mythological kid/teens who only know Spawn because McFarlane drew a Korn album cover….no, I guess that would make you over 20. I guess a teen would have no reason to know or care who McFarlane is at all.
Spawn #200 is the manifest destiny of the Image brouhaha, a book with fancy interior art drawn by yesterday’s A listers with little story and little modern appeal.
That said YOU SHOULD BY THIS COMIC BOOK. Why? Because it will have new art from Greg Capullo and a few others. Greg is solid, fun, fluid and really captures the energy of comics in a way few modern artists can. Besides, Image comics were always about the art and this one plans on being jam packed with a real grab bag of names and styles.
YES it’s a museum piece, but it’s quite the entertaining museum.