Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Comic Book Review: Spawn

I read volume one of the Spawn anthologies. I've been meaning to read the Spawn books ever since the movie killed my soul. I have a history with the character Spawn, going way back before I read him or saw him or anything.

The movie came out when I was thirteen, and one of my buddies became immediately obsessed with the character. I liked this kid, and I've always had a bit of a follower psychology, so I decided to be obsessed with this movie as well, even though I knew nothing about it. Somehow I found a poster or saw a preview for it after that, though, and thusly saw the look, felt the attitude, of the character Hellspawn. That masked face and impossible cape and green eyes lodged in my head, like the shading of a really good ghost story. It impacted my imaginings and my creativity, and much of my writing secretly had a few drops of an idealized Hellspawn in it, because I never saw the movie when it was released, and never knew it was a comic book.

Years passed, and Spawn lurched around the back of my head, till finally I was driven to wikipedia. I read about Spawn, and the Violator, and the world Todd McFarlane invented. The art impressed me, the stories intrigued me, and the fact that the whole thing was a comic book first totally took me by surprise. I got the movie and watched it, and it did, in fact, shatter some of my childhood dreams. Completely obnoxious.

It discouraged me. Thus I failed to speedily procure the comic book.

Several years passed. I had many adventures, and eventually found my lady love. Among her many charms is a picky love of comic books. She loves Todd McFarlane, especially, and I trust her taste, except in liking me. Spawn's been reintroduced to me as a literary pursuit to consider.

The other day, I saw volumes one, three, and four of Spawn anthologies at the library. On an impulse, I grabbed volume one and checked it out. I read it fast, and these are my impressions:

The characters are great, the world is great, the situations are provocative, the art is as pretty a comic book art as you'd want. It's a good book for the reading. It ought to have movied up something gorgeous. Stupid, careless movie mongers, mutilizing it.

I found the overall plot of the anthology irritatingly vague and diffuse, and the story from issue to issue moves more slowly than I'd like. Each issue has fewer revelations than I'd write into them, which is one reason why it ought to have movied up gorgeously. What ought to have happened is a streamlining of the story, so the important bits were emphasized, and the world was made more smelly, and the repetition was repeated less. The movie ought to have been good. I'm frustrated with the hosers who messed up Spawn the movie.

Overall, I like Spawn. I'll read the next anthology. I want more of this world. Todd McFarlane wins.

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