Back in the 1990s, Todd McFarlane's Spawn comic book series
was the crown jewel in the Image Comics library. Created in 1992, Spawn was the
story of Al Simmons, a former assassin who is killed in action during a mission to Botswana.
When Simmons finds himself in Hell he strikes a bargain
with the Devil that allows him to return to Earth to see his wife and son one
last time, with the only proviso being that he must in turn become an
unrecognisable agent of damnation known only as a Hellspawn.
Seeing the potential to milk this cash cow, Warner Bros.
decided to turn Spawn into a serialised animated TV show, bringing to life the
horrors of McFarlane's world in 18 wicked half hour long episodes. Spawn: The Animated Series would eventually land on HBO in
1997 and made an immediate impact on its audience.
For perhaps the first time
ever, a bonafide TV network was willing to treat an animated series as a
legitimate medium for grown-ups, not holding anything back when it came to sex,
violence and gore. So much gore.