Todd McFarlane declared 2021 "The Year of Spawn," and it's hard to argue the point just now. Gunslinger Spawn is launching with a print run of almost 400,000 copies and becoming the biggest launch of a new superhero's title in 25 years. Those numbers are actually a little smaller than the sales of King Spawn #1, which was the most-ordered superhero launch of the 21st Century with more than half a million copies in print since its release in August. The difference there is that while Gunslinger Spawn centers on a new character, King Spawn features someone fans are already familiar with.
If you want to debate whether a derivative character can be considered a "new" character for the sake of recordkeeping, consider that the only new character to launch a title with anything remotely close to Gunslinger Spawn numbers in the last 25 years was Marvel's Spider-Gwen.
Breaking it down to a simple numbers game, here's how McFarlane's press release breaks down the hugely successful Spawn's Universe launch and the records that have come from its spinoffs:
- Spawn's Universe #1 (June 2021) was Image Comics' top-selling first issue of the 21st Century with a print run of 226,000 (and has since had to additional printings).
- Then King Spawn #1 (August 2021) sales demolished The Avengers' record, becoming the comic industry's highest ordered monthly superhero launch in the 21st Century, with a print run currently over 520,000.
- The Scorched #1 release in December is slated to break another industry record for a new superhero team book. After 30 years of mostly just a single monthly Spawn book, The Scorched will gather some of the most popular characters from the past three decades and put them together in one title.
- In addition to these records, the Spawn character was first introduced in 1992 to a record-setting of 1.7 million copies that still stands today as the highest-selling, creator-owned comic issue of all time. Published by Image Comics (the third largest comic publisher in North America), the Spawn character also set a record as the longest-running, creator-owned comic on the planet when issue #301 was published in 2019.
These numbers include follow-up printings, but that doesn't apply to Gunslinger Spawn, which still hasn't been released into stores yet -- and as with any comic, the vast majority of copies are in the first printing anyway.
Gunslinger Spawn #1 will be available at comic book shops (48 pages, full color, rated: Teen+, $5.99, premium 10 pt. cover stock) and on digital platforms, including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Google Play on Wednesday, October 20.