Spawn (Character)

Al Simmons Spawn (1)

Publisher: Image Comics

Created by: Todd McFarlane

1st appearance: Spawn #1 (may 1992)

Notes: Spawn is the longest running comic with a black lead, he was protagonist in the Spawn comic for 185 issues. It’s one of the most successful Black lead comics of all time.

Real Name: Al Simmons

Aliases: Albert Francis Simmons, Lt. Colonel Al Simmons, Al Simmons, The One, Spawn X, Hellspawn, Ipsissimus, Ken Kurosawa, Omega Spawn, Divine Spawn, Spawny

Nationality: American

Team Affiliations: None

Legal Status: U.S citizen with no criminal record

Weight: 234 lbs    Height: 6’2

Eyes: Brown        Hair: Bald

Relatives: Wanda Fitzgerald (wife), Morena (daughter), Henry Simmons and Alma (Ancestors), Little Richie (Brother), Marc Simmons (Brother), Bernard Simmons (Father), Mrs. Esther Simmons (Mother)

Skills and Abilities:  He has extensive training from the C.I.A, military and as an assassin.

Powers: Superhuman strength, speed, durability and endurance, Immortality, Flight, Magical abilities, Teleportation, Shapeshifting, Regenerative healing factor, Necroplasmic energy blasts, Resurrection, Empathy, Wears living symbiotic costume capable of evolving.



Al Simmons was born into the Simmons family which could trace its ancestry back to Henry Simmons in the 1800’s. His father was Bernard Simmons a travelling salesman and his mother a devil worshiper named Esther. He was the second child of the family born between older brother Marc and younger brother Richie [Spawn #172, November 2007].

Al Simmons first kill from Spawn #72, 2007
Al Simmons first kill from Spawn #72, 2007

While his father was away on work when he and his brothers were boys his mother’s friend Mr. Malefic would visit. While his brothers were not interested in his experiments Al was curious. Though he often played superhero he was drawn into a series of cruel experiments on animals. It all began when he used a magnifying glass to burn himself because he was told by Malefic that ‘to hurt other living things you must first learn how to hurt yourself’. Malefic also had him dissect the neighbor’s cat while it was still alive [Spawn #172, November 2007]. Over the course of the visits from Malefic Al had grown cold and emotionally distant. When Marc threatened to tell their father about Malefic and expose their mothers ‘secret’ Al threatened him having developed an appetite for the things Malefic offered. Malefic then disappeared for a number of years [Spawn #172, November 2007].

When the boys were now teenagers Al came home from college and Malefic returned. When Richie accidentally stabbed a drug dealer who had abused him Al thought the only way to clean things up was to kill him and bury the evidence since they fit the profile of dope dealers and criminals. Al then proceeded to kill the man in cold blood by stabbing him repeatedly. Malefic showed up immediately and proclaimed he knew Al would be the one he had waited centuries for who ‘can look in the face of death with neither fear nor joy in his heart [Spawn #172, November 2007]. He was 19 when he murdered that man. Malefic then used his power to alter the boys’ memories as he concentrated on making Al his Hellspawn.

Marriage and Road to Hell

After these events Al transferred to a military academy [Spawn #173, December 2007] where his aptitude as a natural athlete, prodigious skills for military life and warfare [Spawn #174, January 2007] put him at the top of his class. Upon graduating he joined the marines [Spawn #1, 1992]. His natural aptitude for warfare made him advance in rank quickly [Spawn #65] until he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel [Spawn #1]. He would eventually join the security at the White House [Spawn #65]. When Jason Wynn tried to assassinate the president in hopes of consolidating more power [Spawn #38], Simmons took the bullets intended for the president and became a hero [Spawn #74]. Wynn meanwhile recruited Simmons into the USSG (United States Security Group) a covert group of assassins which took secret missions globally [Spawn #74]. Al was a natural at killing and actually enjoyed it. Even the deaths of innocents no longer bothered him since it was “For the good of his country” [Spawn #51]. Only best friend Terry Fitzgerald and Wanda Blake kept him from slipping fully into the darkness [Spawn #51]. Uncharacteristically Al found it hard to ask her out because she was so beautiful [Spawn #51]. After dating the two would fall in love. He proposed to Wanda on a beautiful secluded lake as they took a boat ride for two [Spawn #181].

His friend Terry tried to get him to take a desk job but he continued to be an assassin/field agent after he was married [Spawn #127]. Al was obsessed with his job and his new-found happiness at home distracted him from being successful on many missions [Spawn #57 and #127]. This lack of success caused him to become frustrated and violent with Wanda at home [Spawn #127]. Al and Wanda had an agreement when they got married she would remain on the pill. Once pregnant he agreed he would leave his job. Wanda loved him but realized his job was the cause of their marital problems and so she tried to force his retirement by coming off the pill. When she informed him she was pregnant he became angry and punched her in the gut to induce an abortion. While remorseful at the hospital and learning his daughter had died he went away on his last mission. Unknown to him this final brutal act had made Wanda decide to leave him. He would never lay eyes on Wanda alive again [Spawn #164].

His boss Jason Wynn had him assassinated BY Chapel [Spawn #12]. Al’s soul  ended up in hell, while on earth he was buried a military hero [Spawn #1].

Reborn in Hell

 Finding his soul in the land of the damned Al sold his soul to the hell lord Malebolgia in order to see his wife Wanda again. Unfortunatley for Al he is transformed into a Hellspawn and sent back to earth with fractured memories and a charred and badly disfigured body. On Earth he slowly realizes that five years have passed since his death and Wanda has remarried his friend Terry Fitzgerald [Spawn #1-16]. Terry and Wanda also have a daughter Cyan to whom Spawn became very attached since he sees her as “the girl who could be his daughter”. Al then uses his powers as an anti-hero to take down local gangs and killing child molesters. Al Simmons-Spawn (3)

He also faced supernatural threats such as Cerberus the Aardvark, the Anti-Spawn, the Redeemer and Angela. During this time both Cagliostro and the Clown act as moral guides trying to pull him to the side of good or evil respectively.

Spawn manages to develop unusual powers such as resurrected Bobby after he was killed by Chapel. An encounter with Batman had his face split in two by a batarang. strangely it did not heal and his face had to be held together by a shoelace thanks to his friend Bobby. Terry would later remove the lace [Spawn #50] and it was worn by his daughter Cyan as a necklace [Spawn #51]. When he realized his true purpose he battled the forces of both heaven and hell.

The Metamorphosis

After facing a small band of KKK [Spawn #30] and escaping heaven he was left will depleted powers and defeated by the Redeemer. His costume which was now tattered rags  started transforming after an explosion of necroplasm became black and white, the right leg and left arm were now covered in spiked armor. His costume could now transform much more than before. He removes the suit when he thinks it has become vampiric and was consuming people but. Upon making peace with the true nature of his costume he re-bonded with it.

 Spawn next encountered a manifestation of purgatory, a power equal to heaven and hell. Bestowed with vast new powers he was able to better battle both the forces of heaven and hell. He gained elemental powers and a connection to the planet.

In a battle with the god Urizen Spawn was impaled  and was given a gift by purgatory which allowed him to contain Urizen and imprison him within the earth.

After the defeat of Urizen Spawn learned it had all been set in motion by Malebolgia who was trying to take over hell once more. With the help of Angela he traveled to hell and finally slew his benefactor.Offered the crown of hell once worn by Malebolgia by Mammon Spawn declined. Al also declined an offer to enter heaven instead he returned to earth to save humanity.

Back on earth he is left overwhelmed and turns to former mentor Cagliostro for aid. He decides to take the crown of hell and remake it into a paradise to aid humanity. In battle with another Redeemer Spawn is dragged to hell. Mammon then gives Cogliostro a box with which he enters hell and reveals to spawn he is the biblical Cain, the first murder. He takes the crown of hell and sends Spawn back to Earth separated from his symbiot.


On Earth he is confronted by the witch Nyx. Thanks to Greenworld he regains his memories, re-bonds with his symbiot and undergoes another metamorphosis, this time becoming one with his body created by necroplasm. He is captured by Mammon and tortured so the secrets of his body can be revealed.

On Earth Armagedon begins and Spawn tries to stop it. He soon realizes that Wanda’s recently born twins are responsible. The twins try to kill their family and Spawn tries to stop them. He finds his powers ineffective against them however. The arrival of Zera, queen of the seraphim reveals the truth about the twins. Jake Fitzgerald is the Earthly manifestation of God and Katie Fitzgerald is the Earthly manifestation of Satan. 

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I'm a Caribbean born Lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; with backgrounds in Philosophy, Social Studies and Geography; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for where my writing inspired the music compiliation "Kindah" available in multiple languages on Itunes, The Caribbean Journal of Education, The University of the west indies, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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