For the last few decades, comics have been used as source material for some of the biggest record breaking media releases. Starting in the 80’s there was a rush to find comics that would make great investments. Movies like Superman had boomed and the industry had to reach for new source material; this led to a number of other titles being picked up. Some comics like Spiderman, Captain America, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman continue to this day to be made into movies and games, while other have been forgotten due to poor sales and bad productions.
One of my favorite comic franchises has always been Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. The franchise had a short surge in the movie industry and was expected to take off due to the overwhelming success of the comic. While being a moderate financial success and leading to a well-received animated miniseries on HBO, Spawn was never able to reach a mainstream audience. Talks about a new Spawn have been rumored and discussed since the 1997 feature film release, yet nothing has come up from the depths except some less-than-memorable video games.
Spawn’s first gaming appearance was on the SNES in a cookie cutter side scrolling brawler. After that he would make appearances on the PlayStation, GameBoy, and Dreamcast — generic titles that had little more to do with the franchise than a character model of Spawn himself. Spawn Armageddon on the PS2 was the last game to release under the Spawn moniker, and was the best attempt graphically but was still commonly reviewed as “repetitive” and “lame.” His most popular appearance was in the highly regarded Soul Calibur 2 as an exclusive fighter for the Xbox version of the game. Sadly, even there, he was limited to being a generic brawler forced to use an axe instead of his signature cape and chains.
As characters like Batman break expectations for comic related material by generating almost hundreds of millions of dollars and revamping the character’s stance in the gaming industry, it might be the time for executives to look into lost intellectual properties for future breakouts. As Batman has also had a few less than stellar movies and games like Batman and Robin and Batman Forever: The Game, it would be unjust to think that the issues surrounding Spawn‘s previous titles would be a sign of things to come.
In a 2007 interview Todd McFarlane said:
“Should we do another Spawn interactive [game]? …[A]bsolutely. Because we haven’t hit our holy grail yet…I have an idea what that game should be, it should make all the other ones look like kindergarten games….”
Todd McFarlane has also stated that in early 2011 he was almost done writing the script for the next Spawn movie. This time rebooting Spawn with a hard R rating and gearing it towards a more adult audience. If the same stance can be taken over to the next Spawn game, the franchise could reboot to its former glory.
What have you thought about the usage of the Spawn license? Would Spawn ever be able to enter the mainstream? Is the adult centered design of the character holding him back? What kind of game would you like to see for Spawn? Share your response in the comments below.