The Pressure of Todd McFarlane’s SPAWN Reboot
In the comic book industry, few horror comics stand out in the lexicon of pop culture. At one time, horror was the cornerstone of the comic book industry. Horror was at one point a dead notion in Comic Books until its spectacular revival done by Todd McFarlane’s Image comic book “SPAWN.” A horror/action comic about Al Simmons, former United States Marine turned Hellspawn after a storied career as a government-based assassin, saw him betrayed and murdered. The character was an instant sensation that garnered a movie released in 1997. While the reboot film was produced by McFarlane, it was met with mixed to negative reception and an underwhelming box office. Since then, fans have been clamoring for a better live-action representation of the new horror icon.
Set in stories that deal with morality, evil, and the cost of one’s soul, Spawn became a series that used mythology and horror to answer these more important questions. It is a series that has cemented itself as the prime horror comic after passing a landmark 300 issues. It is about time we got the long-promised reboot by McFarlane, but with the reboot comes a heavyweight on its shoulders. While the Walking Dead may be the premiere horror series, there has been little representation for horror comics on the big screen. The last notable outing was the unfortunate result of 2019’s Hellboy reboot, which misrepresented the character and the mythology. With Hellboy’s failure comes the pressure that Spawn now faces. Spawn represents the last big attempt for a horror comic to strike it big in a way.
Since Hellboy’s failed reboot was unimpressive, it has caused some doubt in the future of R-Rated Horror Comic properties. While Comic Books are the “IT” factor in Hollywood, horror comics are steadily losing representation. Numerous horror comics have fan bases eager to see their favorite ghosts, ghouls, demons, and goblins on screen. There is an inherent need from the comic book community and the horror community at large to see Spawn’s success. If successful, the flood gates to various wonderful and undiscovered horror properties will emerge, bathing comic book and horror fans in a new wave of horror.
There is a mixed feeling of hope in the project. The film is spearheaded by McFarlane on all fronts. He is the main producer and the biggest name in modern horror, Jason Blum while pulling duties as both writer and director. McFarlane has his hands firmly on the wheel of the film with nigh-absolute control over the project’s future. Assembled with a few impressive names, with Avenger’s Jeremy Renner as Detective Sam Twitch and the Academy Award Winning Spawn super fan Jamie Foxx. The worries begin with McFarlane’s description of the titular character’s role in the film. Per McFarlane’s own words, from a 2018 interview with AZ Central “, I like to explain that it’s my “Jaws.” Spawn doesn’t say a word the entire movie, and it’s the same way with “Jaws.” (https://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/events/2018/01/04/todd-mcfarlane-spawn-ace-comic-con-interview/998349001/).
This revelation has operated doubts, as Foxx will remain mostly unseen and entirely unheard. With many fans assuming the film will take a tone similar to David Fincher’s Se7en, with the supernatural element of Spawn in the background, it gives a cautious sense of hope.
It is ultimately up to the fans and the finished project to decide not only Spawn’s fate but also the fate of every horror comic’s chance at adaptation. There’s an element of intrigue and mystery in how McFarlane seeks to approach the film and a sense of cautious optimism. As a fan of the character myself, I am eager to see McFarlane’s efforts in practice. Seeing the comic book character’s creator put his money, art, and creative liberty on the line is both bold and admirable. There’s nothing to discredit or dissuade McFarlane from this vision, nor should there be. This is an unprecedented effort being gambled on by McFarlane as well as Jason Blum.
We’re still a long way from a film frame being filmed, let-alone a release date or further official announcements. While McFarlane hopes to release new information by the end of summer (https://movieweb.com/spawn-reboot-movie-update-todd-mcfarlane/) it’s still questionable whether we’ll receive any information by then. It is easy to appreciate McFarlane’s openness about the condition of the film. With everything on the line, the hope for Spawn’s success should be desired by all.
“Spawn” Reboot Teaser