Monday, June 17, 2024

Image Comics and HBO Should’ve Been the Dream Team for Superhero Content.

September 12, 2023 by  
Filed under Comics, GM, News, TV/Film/Movies

( In many ways, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn was way ahead of other superhero cartoons that were out in the 1990s. The main thing is that it was the most mature of them all and this is purely because it was on HBO.

The Hopeful 2025 Spawn Film

The reason I brought this up is because a Spawn film is in development with an expected 2025 release. Now, being familiar with the Spawn lore, I’d like to see how the film will be done and how it implements Al Simmons’ foes. See, like Judge Dredd, Simmons usually killed his foes unless they were just too powerful.

In those cases, he ended up with a lot of soft victories or draws that would result in future battles as he learned to control his powers more. Another thing is how quickly time moved in the Spawn comics. It wasn’t months between most battles in the 90s era of the comic but weeks.

So, if a film franchise is planned around Spawn, a good starting villain would probably be Overt-Kill. The first film of the reboot isn’t the time to have Simmons fight Chapel or Jason Wynn. Then they would probably one more film in the chamber.

There are also interesting characters to introduce such as Angela and the whole storyline around Simmons making a deal with the Devil so that he could see his wife again—only to see that she has moved on with his best friend.

Image Comics and HBO Should’ve Been the Dream Team for Superhero Content

Image Comics and HBO Should’ve Been the Dream Team for Superhero Content

In all honesty, Spawn should be a TV show—live action or animation—to really explore the story. I’ve always said that TV is a better medium for superhero stuff because the episodes give time for a story to breathe and build. That’s not the case with one 2-hour or 3-hour film franchise that is released every year-and-a-half.

Sure, a lot can be done with three hours but they’re not dropping a 3-hour Spawn film when the comic was mainly relevant in the XTREME 90s. Image Comics and McFarlane would need to do a lot to reintroduce the masses to Spawn in the 21st century. At the moment, the series is something that “has always been around” than a true staple of American comics like Marvel and DC’s offerings.

Hell, even an Image Comics franchise such as The Walking Dead managed to become the most significant series out of the House That Spawn and Savage Dragon Built. Now while AMC could’ve been a good home for a dark fantasy series like Spawn, I believe the HBO-McFarlane partnership was perfect because Spawn was a tailor-made series for HBO.

The cable network has always shown more mature programming such as The Sopranos, Real Sex, and Oz during the late 1990s. Spawn fit right in there as the animation offering. Now, there was a problem posed to McFarlane as being on HBO limited exposure since it’s a premium channel.

The pro of that broadcasting slot is that McFarlane didn’t have to comprise the edginess of the series at all. Actually, he got to show nudity and actual drug use—something that had been alluded to in the comics which shared shelf space with Spider-Man and Batman.

Of course, other mage Comics titles such as Savage Dragon and Wild C.A.T.S went the cable network route via the USA Network. Both are series where the comics are as violent as Spawn and even had crossovers where their heroes held their own alongside Image’s superhero king. The USA Network slot allowed for ready exposure and the series didn’t look out of place alongside watered-down Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter cartoons.

However, that would’ve been a bit too much watering down to get Spawn on USA. The funny thing is that Spawn probably could be on regular cable today as networks make the most out of the 9PM FCC regulations now. I guess you could say that time has passed but there’s still something there for HBO and Spawn.

The network dropped a lot to produce the Game of Thrones franchise of shows and were about to drop more for Confederate until folks asked HBO “What the f**k are you doing, my guy?” Spawn would not require that large of budget. HBO could make a live action Spawn on what The CW used for its DC series and run Netflix-length series.

That’s now, the HBO=Spawn tandem should’ve been the dream team for serial superhero content on the network. It should’ve opened the doors for Witchblade and The Darkness. At this point, Southern Bastards should be entering a second season with extra stories being told if the network wanted to stretch things.

There was a ton of potential for this to be a big thing for Image Comics had it not ended whether it remained a cartoon or was given the live action treatment. However, there are always reasons for partnerships ending and who knows if it would’ve even extended to other series. Spawn has the content for spin-offs as both Curse of Spawn and Angela were good series when they came out.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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