Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.
Today we take a look at the downside of having a shared universe when the characters in the shared universe aren’t owned by the same people, as a departure by an Image Comics founder led to Todd McFarlane having to come up with a new killer of Al Simmons, the man who would return to Earth after death as the hellspawn known as, well, Spawn.
Al Simmons was a former soldier who was murdered and given the opportunity to see his wife again only if he agreed to become a hellspawn, in effect a soldier for hell. He agreed, but when he returned to Earth, five years had passed since his death and his wife had remarried his best friend. He was badly disfigured and had little memory of his death. As time went by, he began to remember more and more until finally, in Spawn #12 (written and drawn by McFarlane), he remembered who had killed him…
Chapel was a character from Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood. He was a bit of a super-soldier, only in his case, the super-soldier serum he had taken had also given him HIV! In Spawn #13 (written and drawn by McFarlane), Spawn sneaks into Youngblood headquarters and kidnaps Chapel…
In the end of the issue, Spawn leaves his mark on Chapel. That was more or less it for Chapel’s influence in the pages of Spawn, although the Spawn/Chapel connection continued in comics in Liefeld’s Extreme Studios (there was this whole thing where Chapel kills himself to try to become a hellspawn, as well, but he becomes some OTHER hell creature instead).
In 1996, Liefeld and his studio, Extreme Studios, split from Image Comics.
In 1997, a Spawn film was released. The movie, naturally enough, did not want to option Liefeld’s character, so they invented a new character to be Spawn’s killer, Jessica Priest (played by Melinda Clarke).
In 1997’s Spawn #61 (written and inked by McFarlane with pencils by Greg Capullo), McFarlane adapted that change into the comics themselves, as Spawn first learns that maybe Chapel WASN’T his killer…
And then the Violator reveals who was…
That’s really the extent of Jessica Priest’s involvement in the pages of Spawn. She shows up a couple more times just in quick mentions of Spawn’s past…
but once the change was made and the Chapel part was abandoned and forsaked, McFarlane pretty much moved on and didn’t dwell much on who killed Al Simmons (especially when Al Simmons was replaced by a new Spawn as the star of the title a few years ago). We DID get to see some of Jessica Priest’s background in the pages of the Spawn spin-off, Curse of Spawn.
That’s it for this week!
If YOU have a suggestion for a notable comic book retcon, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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