Among the many announcements at Comic-Con International in San Diego this year was news of an upcoming Medieval Spawn/Witchblade crossover comic series from Brian Holguin and Brian Haberlin. Todd McFarlane, who created the original Spawn in 1992, made the announcement. The reveal comes in the wake of news that McFarlane’s writing and directing a Spawn movie for Blumhouse Productions.
The news of another Medieval Spawn take should intrigue anyone aware of the history behind this version of the character. Neil Gaiman created Medieval Spawn in his short arc of Spawn #9 with McFarlane as the artist in 1993. The two would famously feud over copyright to the characters created in Gaiman’s issues, only settling the legal battle in 2012. Medieval Witchblade has only appeared once in the original Medieval Spawn/Witchblade crossover, a 1996 three-issue series written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Brandon Peterson.
In the original crossover, a medieval twist on the origin story of Al Simmons aka Spawn, Medieval Spawn is the story of Sir John Of York, a 15th-century knight who fought in a civil war in Bahavia. Sir John and three others were cast out by King Louis II after assassinating the Archbishop. They had believed this was what the King was asking of them. Seeking forgiveness from the King, Sir John approaches him during a battle only to be slaughtered by the King’s bodyguards. Sir John is sent to hell for the murders he’d committed and joy he’d felt over them. He strikes a deal with Satan and returns to Earth a few years into the future. Wearing medieval armor, Sir John travels Bahavia performing good deeds in order to redeem his soul.
The original Medieval Witchblade, created by Ennis, is Katarina Godliffe, a thief and treasure hunter who finds the Witchblade when shoveling manure to pay off a bar tab. She’s Sir John’s former lover but doesn’t recognize him as Medieval Spawn when she…