A forever in-work compendium of Marvel and DC canon immigrants. What's a canon immigrant? Go here to find out!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Independent Month: Jessica Priest

It's Independent Month here at Jor-Ellis Island! As I stated back in the Thirty Days of Turtles, I want to start branching out this blog beyond Marvel and DC. It won't happen often because I'm not as familiar with other comics companies and I'm not sure they take to immigrants as well as Marvel and DC do, but I will be on the lookout for them in the future. They won't always be in a theme month like this, I don't think, but we'll see how it goes. Let's get to it!

Image Comics had noble intentions when it first started: creator-owned superhero comics that were still set in a shared universe like Marvel and DC. Best of both worlds. And at first, they succeeded really well. A great example of this is Spawn.

See, Spawn's backstory was that he was a mercenary that was killed and then we went to Hell and bonded with a demon and became a spirit of vengeance. You know, like you do. The trick was that he didn't remember who killed him. But his subconscious knew, and it kept leading him to a particular church.

As it (cleverly) turns out, the killer was a fellow mercenary named Chapel, who was one of the protagonists of Rob Liefeld's Youngblood. (He's the one with the skull paint.)

Here's the thing, though: Rob Liefeld owned Chapel, not Todd McFarlane. So what happens when you want to adapt Spawn into another medium...say, a movie? You have to fill that role with a new character. Enter Jessica Priest. (August 1997)

But that worked out for the best, because a year before the movie was released, Liefeld left the company and took his characters with him. Suddenly there was no Chapel around to kill Al Simmons anyway. Enter Jessica Priest again! She was first seeded into the comics in Spawn #61 (March 1997) a few months before the movie was released, and was revealed to be Spawn's true killer.

And since that was pretty much her only role, she didn't show up much after that. A few instances here and there and an origin story in Curse of the Spawn, but only six or seven issues total.

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