|"Spawn: Godslayer" #1|
This is the premise of "Spawn: Godslayer" a new ongoing monthly series from Image Comics by writer Brian Holguin and artist Phillip Tan. CBR News spoke with Holguin about the series, which is a reimagining of the Spawn character set in an epic fantasy world without Heaven and Hell; where instead a myriad of deities hold sway over the kingdoms of men.
|"Spawn: Godslayer" #1, page 4|
Readers picking up "Godslayer" for the first time can expect a sprawling adventure story that meshes fantastic, horrific, and human elements. "I suppose I'd call it dark fantasy or epic fantasy, with a definite shade of horror thrown in. It isn't a 'quest' story the way 'Lord of the Rings' is, but it does take place on very large canvas," Holguin explained. "But at its heart, I hope it's a very human story, about regret and redemption. And it's about the relationship between the mortal and the eternal. What do Gods owe their followers and vise versa? Are Gods, by their very nature, tyrants even if they're beneficent tyrants? Is there such a thing as true immortality, or do all things eventually pass, even Gods?"
|"Spawn: Godslayer" #1, page 12|
"There's a vast variety of ideas and influences that go into making this world," Holguin continued. "From Joseph Campbell and William Blake to Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson, from Hal Foster to Miyazki, Michael Moorcock to Roger Dean--it goes on an on."
|"Spawn: Godslayer" #1, page 22|
The opening story arc has the Godslayer, who was once a man named Bairn, dealing with some of the personal fallout from the one-shot and hunting another divine quarry. "The first arc is titled 'The Winter King," Holguin said. "It deals at first with Bairn's reunion, or quasi-reunion, with his slain lover, Neva. This causes him hope for the first time that there might be a way out of this curse, and he's just beginning to consider that an option. But meanwhile, he is sent on the trail of his next quarry, a brutish tyrant of a God called, Urshrek, the Winter King. He rules over a remote mountainous kingdom that has a very harsh climate and where life is a struggle. In the one-shot, we dealt with this beautiful, benevolent Goddess and it was seen as a tragedy when she is killed. In this story it's the opposite – the Winter King is a genuine terror and you're really rooting for the bastard to be offed. Of course, things aren't quite as simple as they might seem."
|"Spawn: Godslayer" #1, page 24|
Following the first arc, "Godslayer" will feature both single issue and multi-part tales. "There's actually a specific story structure I've outlined for the series," Holguin stated. "Stories will be constructed in four-issue arcs, followed by two single-issue stories. So issues 1 through 4 will be a single arc, issues 5 and 6 are stand-alone stories, issues 7-10 will be the second major story arc, etc. This will hopefully make it easier for new readers to jump on board, and make it convenient to collect into trade paperback editions."
Readers of the "Godslayer" one-shot were introduced to the character of Neva, who as Holguin mentioned will continue to play a role in the first story arc of the "Godslayer" monthly and subsequent issues of the series. "Neva, or rather the ghost of Neva, is an ongoing character in the series and, at the beginning at least, she narrates much of the story," Holguin explained. "A lot of things will be seen through her eyes."
|"Godslayer" #1, page 5 pencils by Philip Tan|
Holguin promises that as 'Godslayer" progresses readers will learn more about the Thing In the Dark, a mysterious, Lovecraftian looking being that readers were given a glimpse of in the one-shot. "The true nature of the Godslayer's master will definitely be something we explore," he stated. "There is a certain Lovecraft influence in the sense that there are things older than Gods, and that some of those things might be waking up. I suppose it's a bit of Lovecraft, a bit of classic Greek mythology and a bit of Moorcock's Chaos Lords."
|"Godslayer" #1, page 8 pencils by Philip Tan|
Holguin also promised to over time reveal the extent of the Godslayer's powers and the reasons behind his dark crusade. "He's still puzzling over a lot questions, so we're going to take that journey with him," Holguin said.
In the "Godslayer" one-shot Bairn took down the Goddess Llyra who was sort of a reimagining of some of the Angelic characters Spawn encountered in the main book. Holguin hinted that future issues of the ongoing series might features new takes on familiar faces. "With the one-shot, we wanted Spawn fans to be able to look at it and easily recognize certain elements," he stated. "With the series we want to blaze our own trail, but there will be certain homages if you look close enough."
|Design studies by Philip Tan|
"And by switching the locale every few issues -- going from a bright, shining kingdom, to a dismal dark realm, to floating cities or sunken kingdoms or whatever -- we're hoping to have enough variety to keep it interesting," Holguin continued. "It's a big, wild world and we want to explore all off it."
|Design studies by Philip Tan|
The official title of Holguin and Tan's series is "Spawn: Godslayer" but readers don't have to be familiar with any of the "Spawn" characters or concepts. "Godslayer" has no ties to any of the other "Spawn" books. "I've worked on a lot of Spawn projects over the years and the thing about this is that it's completely its own animal," Holguin explained. "All the other Spawn incarnations – Dark Ages Spawn, Samurai Spawn, modern day Spawn, whatever – they were all part of a single continuity that was defined by the concepts of heaven and hell, and all heading toward a single endpoint: the final battle of Armageddon. Godslayer is completely its own thing. A completely new world, a different mythology, or series of mythologies. I hope anyone interested at all in the epic fantasy genre will check out. It's going to be a grand adventure."
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