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  • Awesome Art:
    • It's widely agreed the comic worked because average storytelling was hugely augmented by Todd McFarlane's pencils.
    • Many also think the book took another step up when Greg Capullo took over; the most popular era of the book, including a number of iconic cover images, was during Greg's tenure on pencils.
  • Catharsis Factor: Spawn finally killing Malebolgia after everything he did is sweet, and seeing Jason Wynn having his criminal empire destroyed before being strangled to death by Jim (in human form, ensuring Wynn won't get any reward in Hell) manages to be even sweeter.
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  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Probably a large part in what makes Spawn such an appealing character.
    • The Violator is one of the most disturbing villains in comic book history, but that's partly why he's so beloved and iconic.
  • Dork Age: Pretty much everything between Spawn killing Malebolgia — especially the immediate aftermath where he teamed up with Ab and Zab and fought vampires and British cannibals — and Resurrection. Some readers recommend to newcomers that they simply skip from Al's suicide straight to Resurrection for this very reason.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Burkles and Twitch, to the point they ended up with their own comic.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Even before Resurrection made it all straight up Canon Discontinuity, it wasn't uncommon for readers to say everything after Spawn killed Malebolgia didn't happen and just pretend the series ended there.
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  • Growing the Beard: Like other Image Long Runner, The Savage Dragon, the earliest issues are considered the weakest.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Twitch's first name is Max. And since his partner is named Sam, it evokes another New York police duo.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Al Simmons, the main character himself. He ended up this way because he died, was sent to Hell for murdering innocents and being an abusive husband and got his powers from making a deal with a demon. In other media, people have been labelled asshole victims for less and the comic does everything in it's power to remind you that Al brought his situation on himself… but you'll feel for him anyways, if only because he's so desperately trying to make it right.
  • Love to Hate: Mammon. He's such a smug, thoroughly detestable prick, but he displays a certain cunning and penchant for manipulation that just makes hating him for it satisfying.
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  • Mainstream Obscurity: Despite being one of the most iconic characters of the 1990s, actual familiarity with anything about Spawn besides his character design and the grim-and-gritty tone of his stories is very low. Familiarity with his Rogues Gallery is also quite low. Most people might recognize Clown/Violator as being his Arch-Enemy (and maybe Jason Wynn and Malebogia thanks to the 1997 movie) but any other foe would probably just draw a blank with people.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Almost everything in the comic. Even some of the regular humans are scary just to look at.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: God Post-Resurrection. Prior to that, the story took God Is Evil / God and Satan Are Both Jerks to a borderline offensive extreme that made the setting feel hopeless. After Resurrection, God Is Good and very all-loving and Their plot-initiating pep talk with Spawn makes Them effectively the embodiment of the series' ultimate beard growth and transition to a World Half Full.
  • Tear Jerker: Granny Blake's revelation about God during the Armageddon arc. After a lifetime of praying to God as a faithful follower, she is finally raptured to Heaven and sees a vision of her deceased husband and all of her loved ones. God then promptly gives her back her sight, shows her the horrors of Heaven and his plans for Armageddon, chews her out for her New Testament beliefs about him, and swiftly turns her into one of his angel soldiers. Later Al finds her nearly dead on the battlefield ruins and listens to her last pleading words of faith in a better life.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: The earliest issues and the Audience-Alienating Era post-Malebolgia's defeat are both marked by this trope. Everything is awful, Heaven and Hell both suck, disgusting shock value everywhere, and sympathetic characters are few and far in between. It's no coincidence that the comic's beard-growth seems to coincide with it becoming (relatively speaking) much Lighter and Softer, as the characters become more sympathetic, God and Heaven are retconned into being good, the gore and shock value is toned back massively, and the world in general is shifted into more of a World Half Full.

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