Lt. Colonel Albert Francis “Al” Simmons, USMC (Ret.), was a highly trained Marine who was at his most successful point when he saved the President from an attempted assassination. He was promoted to a high level within the CIA devoted to black ops. Once there, he began to question the morality of what his agency was doing. Jason Wynn hired Bruce Stinson (codenamed Chapel), Simmons’ friend and partner, to kill him. In a blazing inferno, Simmons was killed and his soul sent to Hell, because he had knowingly killed innocents while working for the CIA.
Simmons made a deal with an evil being known as Malebolgia: in exchange for his soul, he would get to see once again his wife, Wanda. However, when Simmons returned to the human world, five years had passed, and he had been transformed into a demonic creature with little memory of his former life. After regaining his memories, he sought out his wife, only to find she had moved on and married his best friend, Terry Fitzgerald, and that they now had a daughter named Cyan.
After this event, the Violator appeared, and revealed to Simmons the purpose of his resurrection. They fought, but the battle was interrupted by Malebolgia.
In his early battles Spawn faced street thugs and gangs, becoming a dark and brutal anti-hero, culminating in his brutal murder of a pedophile and child murderer named Billy Kincaid. As a result, he gained the attention of the detective duo of Sam Burke and Twitch Williams. It is around this time that Spawn becomes “King of Rat City”, a gathering of alleys where bums and the homeless live. There he meets the bum Cogliostro, who seems to know much more about Spawn than he first lets on, and becomes his mentor.
He would also be hunted by the warrior angel, Angel, who hunted Hellspawns for sport. and would soon battle the cyborg mob enforcer Overt-kill. This confrontation almost killed Spawn, but he was able to emerge victorious. He was again hunted by Angela and would fight the angelic warrior called the Anti-Spawn a.k.a. the Redeemer who was in fact Jason Wynn.
After a confrontation with the Redeemer, Spawn’s suit mutated and became more advanced. Its new cape and chains were able to shape shift into different things to confuse his opponents. The cape now looked slightly ripped, and the costume had lost its red glow, having evolved to what is now black and white. Spawn’s boots and gloves had also changed, having been replaced with spikes. Spawn used his new equipment to slash off the Redeemer’s hand and defeated him. Spawn thought that the battle was over until he met someone more powerful than The Redeemer known as the Freak. Spawn fought with the Freak but was caught unaware by The Freak’s ability to create nightmares, which he did to torture Spawn with his past. During the battle a creature appearing to have the original appearance of Spawn, fights other beings and creatures, and knocks out Spawn. When Spawn woke up the creature tells Spawn that ever since the metamorphosis the suit will feed off souls. Spawn later finds himself in New York City. He would fight with The Curse, meet Harry Houdini who taught him about magic and also meets Batman.
After this Tony Twist sends a reprogrammed Overt-kill after Terry, blaming him for the recent attacks on the mob and Spawn was forced to reveal his identity while saving his friend. However it was a well-placed shot from Twitch Williams that brought Overkill down this time. He would later bring back his friend Bobby after he was killed in another fight with Chapel. Spawn would be a part of Angela’s trial and later traveled to the South and had an encounter with the KKK and an abusive father of two boys. When he returned to New York he was attacked by a new Redeemer. This caused his costume to evolve and defeated the Redeemer with its new found power. After another encounter with the Curse the suit began to go wild and after saving Terry from cancer sent him to Hell, but Malebolgia sent him back with full control of the suit.
Spawn wears a living symbiotic costume, Leetha of the 7th House of K (also known as K7-Leetha). While wearing it, the host assumes a dominant role over his suit. His shroud, spikes, chains, and skulls are all part of an organism bonded to his central nervous system that will protect Spawn even if he is unconscious.