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Bad-Ass Spawn is Back, Take Cover
TMP Launches New Hellspawn Book; Dark Ages Gets New Direction; Sam and Twitch Gets New Artist

Feeling safe lately when you walk into your local comics shop? Think you've seen it all between the covers of your favorite books?
    Are you scared of the dark?
    If so, you should consider staying away - far, far away - from Hellspawn, the new Todd McFarlane Productions title debuting in August. Featuring the creative team of Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Michael Bendis (Sam and Twitch, Jinx) and the macabre, unorthodox art of penciler-inker-painter-digital master Ashley Wood (Spawn: Blood and Shadows, Blood and Salvation), Hellspawn brings the Spawn mythos to a new level of sophistication. Bendis' writing is rich with his own brand of razor wit and realism.
    "It's a horror comic," said Bendis, "one that preys on people's fears. We're also going to clearly delineate what the war between Heaven and Hell really means. And we'll be using some familiar characters, but they will be multilayered and presented in a new way."
    Hellspawn is an important step for Bendis.
    "It's really a gift to be entrusted with this book," he said. "Hellspawn lets me dig into a part of me I sometimes want to avoid."
    Wood's art has a more realistic flavor in this book, but it's still a canvas of human skin and suffering.
    "I believe what Brian and I are forging is an exciting synthesis of horror and super heroics which will redefine Spawn for the new millennium," said Wood. "The book is a true combination of Brian's realistic dialogue and freaky plot lines and the culmination of my years as an illustrator. To get me to commit to a monthly series would have taken nothing less."
    "As subsequent issues are completed I'm getting more excited about what I can achieve with Hellspawn," he continued. "Brian and I are in this for the long run and are committed to a monthly schedule."
    Together, these two sick-os have created an entire alternate universe for the Hellspawn; a world populated by those bad guys you love to hate.
    The first story arc revolves around the Clown, but Overtkill, the Freak and Tiffany will be making appearances in the future. And, of course, there are plans for vicious new foes for Spawn.

    In other comics news, the new creative team on Spawn: The Dark Ages is really coming into its own. Writer Steve Niles, penciler Nat Jones and inker Chance Wolf have created a dynamic new starting point for The Dark Ages and the book keeps getting better and better.
    "I'm really excited about the entire project. I'm having a lot of fun with it," said Niles.
SPAWN: The Dark Ages
    The new incarnation of Dark Ages has a definite different feel than the early issues of the book.
    "The biggest difference is it's firmly set in the Dark Ages - 901 A.D. - rather than a knights-in-shining-armor thing," said Niles. "I did tons of research and wound up reading a lot of stuff I never thought I would."
    "As far as the Spawn character, we're bringing him down a few pegs," said Niles. "He's ruling over a town, then issue by issue, everything will be taken away from him. We have a character here that actually bleeds. I hope people are into it. We tell a good story and show some good action."
    If you like the look of the Dark Ages series of McFarlane Toys, give this comic and new artistic team a chance.

    Finally, there's a new artist in town for Sam and Twitch: Alex Maleev. He has done excellent work on several DC (Batman: No Man's Land) and Dark Horse titles and is excited to begin work on one of the best books being published today.
    And writer Brian Michael Bendis is glad to have him.
    "I'm thrilled," said Bendis. "Maleev's beautiful noir art was at the top of my list" when we started Sam and Twitch.
    According to Bendis, the upcoming story arc focuses on bounty hunters and features a guest appearance by one of his own characters, Jinx.
    "I've always been really fascinated by bounty hunters," Bendis said. "And something awful and irreversible will happen with Sam and Twitch."
    You've been warned.

All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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