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Todd McFarlane's Spawn becomes longest-running creator-owned comic with issue #301

By Matthew Jackson
Spawn 301 cover

This August, Todd McFarlane's Spawn will hit a major milestone with its super-sized 300th issue, featuring McFarlane's return to penciling and inking on the book for the first time since 1995. It's a big moment for a character that was at the vanguard of the creator-owned comics movement of the 1990s, but with the very next issue, Spawn will arguably top it. 

In September, Image Comics will release Spawn #301, and in the process Spawn will take the record as the longest-running creator-owned comic ever. 

"I could think of no better reason to return to the drawing board than to celebrate the record-breaking 301st issue of the Spawn comic,” McFarlane said in a statement from Image Comics. “Twenty-seven years ago, I began this journey on the Spawn title. That start, along with helping to co-found Image Comics, (today the third largest comic publisher in the nation) was with the goal of allowing creative people to own and control their ideas.

“It is with great pride that I can say that after nearly three decades of producing the Spawn title, that I am still 100% in the creative driver's seat of the character I brought to life back in 1992. I wrote and drew that first issue and will do the same for this historic issue as well."

Spawn debuted in the spring of 1992 as one of the inaugural titles of Image Comics, a company co-founded by McFarlane and other superstar creators of the day to emphasize creator-owned comics and creators' rights. The book was an instant success, selling 1.7 million copies, and helped cement McFarlane as an icon of creator-owned comics. 

The current record for longest-running creator-owned work is Dave Sim's Cerebus, which concluded with its 300th issue in 2004. McFarlane and company will tie that record in August, and then break it in September with a 48-page 301st issue, but this is not just an perfunctory celebration. In an interview with SYFY WIRE about the milestone, McFarlane also promised a new direction for the character. 

"I've got a big story that will basically continue Spawn and the character's evolution," he said. "There's gonna be a change in him that nobody's seen in the first 300 issues in this book," he teased. "That evolution has always been at the forefront of where I wanted to get to and I'm just gonna continue to sow the change of the character."

Spawn's evolution is not just ongoing on the comics page. The character is also finally getting a second chance at big-screen life via a new movie from McFarlane and the famed horror production company Blumhouse. McFarlane will serve as the driving creative force of the film and make his directorial debut, and Jamie Foxx has been tapped to star as Al Simmons/Spawn.

Spawn #300 arrives Aug. 28, followed by Spawn #301 on Sept. 25.