Former Image Comics artist/writer Todd McFarlane is making waves again with talk of a horror movie-style ‘Spawn’ reboot. The project is picking up some significant steam this week with the addition of Jamie Foxx who is set to play the lead role of Spawn/Al Simmons.

Comic Book Beginnings

If you’re not familiar, ‘Spawn’ was a very successful comic book in the 90s. In the comics, Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Al Simmons receives an offer to join a Black Ops CIA team. He dies on a mission and goes to Hell for knowingly killing innocent civilians.

He makes a literal “deal with the devil” to go back to Earth and be reunited with his wife, Wanda. When he gets back, it’s five years later, and he’s been given supernatural powers. Sadly, he remains in the scarred and burned body he’d left Earth with. Terrible theology aside, Spawn was the face of the “anti-hero” movement in comics in the 90s and influenced a generation of comic creators.

Media So Far

In 1997 New Line Cinema released a big budget movie based on the character. Starring Michael Jai White, it features the first African American cast in the lead role of a tent pole “Super Hero” movie. The movie also stars Martin Sheen and John Leguizamo and, outside of the cast, is pretty terrible.

The film found new life as an animated series in 1998, the year after hitting the big screen. It ran for three seasons on HBO and was significantly better in quality. Though it never quite reached the audience the movie did.

Learning From Failure

It seems that McFarlane is learning from his mistakes. Speaking to Deadline, McFarlane explains that he wants the reboot to resemble more of a film like “Jaws” or “A Quiet Place.”

“The scariest movies, from Jaws to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or The Grudge and The Ring, the boogeyman doesn’t talk. It confuses people because of the comic book industry. Because they all default into their Captain America mindset. And I keep saying, no, get into John Carpenter’s mindset or Hitchcock.

This is not a man in a rubber suit. It’s not a hero that’s going to come and save the damsel. It’s none of that. At the end of the movie, I’m hoping that the audience will say either, is this a ghost that turns into a man? Or is it a man that turns into a ghost? I’ve got a trilogy in mind here, and I’m not inclined in this first movie to do an origin story. I’m mentally exhausted from origin stories.

Luckily, there’s a movie that just came out that helps my cause. In A Quiet Place, the first thing on screen is a card in black and white letters that says Day 89. It doesn’t care about what happened in those first 88 days. There are a couple headlines, but then we are on day 450. That movie doesn’t worry about explaining and giving all the answers. What it said in that case was, if you can hang on for a story of survival of this family, this movie will make complete sense for you.”

The battle between Heaven and Hell is at stake in the comic book series. While it’s entirely theologically inaccurate, some of the craziest fiction can come from (mis)interpretation of scripture.