The definitive issue-by-issue collecting guide and trade reading order for Spawn by Todd McFarlane in comic books and omnibus, hardcover, and trade paperback collections. Find every issue and appearance! Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics Guide to Collecting Indie & Licensed Comics. Last updated March 2023 with titles scheduled for release through July 2023.
In 1992, Image Comics broke onto the American comic book market with a series of smash hit launches from six formerly famous Marvel artists.
Of those Image launch books (and with almost 30 years of hindsight), Todd McFarlane’s Spawn would go on to be the most commercially successful, enduring, and influential – as well as one of the highest profile black characters in the history of comics.
Part of Spawn’s longevity is the fact that the character comes with a unique mythology that doesn’t feel like a retread of any other existing comics character.
Al Simmons is a CIA operative who dies in the field and makes a deal with the devil so he can see his wife again. The deal leaves him with gaps in his memory and transforms him the newest unwitting pawn in the centuries-long battle between Heaven and Hell – and both sides have long since stopped playing by their own rules.
In addition to the tragic romance and epic religious plot threads, Spawn also squared off against street-level dirtbags and gang members, allowing McFarlane to draw more of the gritty version of New York’s streets and alleys from his run on Spider-Man. The early part of this run also included a timer counting down Spawn’s remaining “necroplasmic energy,” offering fans the tantalizing idea that the comic’s run was limited by how much power he used.
Over time, McFarlane considerably widened the scope of the series as it helped him launch a multimedia empire, including the founding of his still-successful high-end toy line.
Spawn is an impressively self-contained comic series. Though it has had many spinoffs, they are inessential to the core reading order that starts with issue #1 and continues past the record-breaking issue #301 – making it the longest-running creator-owned superhero comic. In that period, there is only a single one-shot – “Resurrection” – which must be integrated into the reading order to get the full story.
The popularity of McFarlane’s flagship title re-ignited with the press around his 300th issue in 2019. That set the Toddfather to plotting how he could expand the universe of his now record-setting, longest-running indie title. Those plans came to fruition in 2021 with the addition of three new ongoing titles to the line – King Spawn, Gunslinger Spawn, and a team-up book called The Scorched. Then, in 2022, McFarlane extended all of the major reprint lines past issue #125 for the first time – with some pushing as far as issue #200! [Read more…] about Spawn by Todd McFarlane – Definitive Collecting Guide and Reading Order