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Home | Tag Archives: Todd McFarlane

Tag Archives: Todd McFarlane

TNTM: Image Comics Spawn #300 milestone

Image Comics Spawn comic book has been around for a long time.  Spawn #300 will be on the shelves September 4th.  That issue will tie it with Cerebus for longest running independent series in comic history.

Cerebus even made an appearance in Spawn #10 (Cerebus is another interesting story I’ll tell you about in a future article).  On October 2nd, Spawn #301 will take sole ownership of that title.  Todd McFarlane will return to write and draw a story for this issue.

Let me give you a little history on how Spawn came to be the long lived and much loved character he is today.  Back in the 1990’s Marvel Comics was loaded with talent.  The comic books they were producing were making the company tons of money while they were being paid low page rates for their work.  They were upset that their artwork and characters were being heavily merchandised and they were seeing no part of it.

A group of these artists marched into the Marvel president’s office and demanded the company grant them ownership and creative control over their own work.  Marvel and DC presented the attitude that characters are what made a series popular, not the artists.  Needless to say, Marvel refused to meet their demands.

A few months later, seven of those artists banded together to form Image Comics.  The original founders of Image Comics are Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Whilce Portacio.

Image Comics was formed with two main rules.  The first is Image does NOT own a creator’s work, the creator does.  This is the most important rule.  Nothing is worse than creating a great character only to not have control of what happens with it.  The second rule is no Image partner will ever interfere creatively or financially with another’s work.

Now that you know the history of how Image Comics came to be, let me tell you a little bit about the character of Spawn.  The original Spawn was Albert (Al) Francis Simmons.  He was a member of the Secret Service, CIA, NSA, and the NSC during his military career.  His training with these organizations made him a very capable assassin.  He is murdered by his friend, Bruce Stinson (codename Chapel) during a mission in Botswana.

Interesting side note, Chapel is a character created by Rob Liefeld for his Youngblood series at Image Comics. Al goes to Hell due to his life as an assassin.  In Hell he makes a deal with Malebolgia to become a Hellspawn in his service.  He is sent to Earth with a badly burned body and only vague recollections of his past.

This eventually led Al to seek a way to rid himself of being Spawn.  In Issue #185, Al commits suicide.  The Legion of Lost Souls that were trapped within Al Simmons were able to finally leave Earth, except one.  Jim Downing had been in a coma for years in a hospital.  Once his soul was free, he was chosen as the next Hellspawn.  He remained Spawn until issue #250 where Al Simmons reclaimed the title. The Jim Downing years are not the best in terms of story-line, but alas it happened and you should know about it.

Spawn was able to move beyond comic books.  There was a very popular Spawn movie in 1997. There was also a 3 season HBO series that was well received.  The big deal with Spawn though, was the toys.

Todd McFarlane was working with Mattel to produce Spawn related action figures.  They were not able to make the toys with the level of detail that Todd wanted so he reclaimed the toy rights to his characters and started his own toy company.  McFarlane Toys is now one of the most popular lines of action figures.  The first figures produced by the company were of course, Spawn characters, but they have grown to feature licensed horror and sports properties.

McFarlane is writing and directing a Spawn reboot film under the Blumhouse banner.  Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Renner have reportedly been signed to star.  No release date has been given as of yet.

Now you can see the road Todd McFarlane navigated to get to the awesome achievement of having the longest running independent series in comic book history.  From a page rate artist at Marvel to owning his own toy company and directing movies.  He has proven to be a true entrepreneur forging paths where none existed.  Congratulations on 300 issues of Spawn, and here’s to wanting 300 more.

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Video: Daily Nerd Brief for October 8 2018

All the Nerdy News that is fit to know for Monday!

Original artwork for Savage Dragon #88 stolen at NYCC
New RWBY manga and novels coming in 2019
Titans fighting Source Wall energy
A Guardian of the Galaxy joins the Avengers
Azzarello & Capullo team up for Swamp Thing Halloween one shot
Power Rangers reveal part of Solar Rangers face
Spawn is set to be a trilogy of films
DC Comics launches Wonder Comics aimed at teens
Cloak & Dagger get new series starting in January
Hulk goes to Hell in Immortal Hulk #11
Man Without Fear launches in 2019
War of the Realms coming to Marvel in 2019
Black Widow getting her own title again
You can read comics on your Nintendo Switch

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Video: Daily Nerd Brief October 5 2018

All the Nerdy News that is fit to know for Friday!

COLLECTIBLES

X-23 statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dark Nights Metal Merciless statue by DC Collectibles
Primal Age action figures from DC Comics & Funko
Batman cowls from Rebirth and Arkham Asylum

COMICS

Outcast by Kirkman to end at issue #48
Marvel promises a Skrull comic title in 2019
Spawn about to hit issue #300, will break record at #301

MOVIES

Capcom developing Mega Man live action movie

TV

Suit Up! and DC Comics teaming up on cosplay series

GAMES

Marvel adds new character to Contest of Champions, Aegon

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TNTM: McFarlane finished new Spawn movie script

Back in the 80’s there was really only 2 major comic book publishers, Marvel and DC. Some of the guys at Marvel were tired of seeing all the money they were making for the big 2 while they were being paid very little to reward their work.

They banded together and decided to start their own artist owned comics publisher (at Marvel and DC if you created a character for their comics they retained all legal ownership of that character). This is how Image Comics came into existence.

Todd McFarlane is one of those early Image Comics guys. The comic book he developed for Image Comics is Spawn. The first issue of Spawn was very popular with sales of 1.7 million copies. During Spawn’s second year of publication, Wizard noted that “The top dog at Image is undoubtedly Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. It became the best-selling comic on a consistent basis without the added marketing push of fancy covers, polybagged issues, or card inserts.

Origin of Spawn

Lt. Colonel Albert Francis “Al” Simmons,USMC (Ret.) was a highly trained Force Recon Marine. He was at his most successful point when he saved the President from an attempted assassination. Al was promoted to a high level and recruited to a highly classified unit within the CIA devoted to black ops. Once there, he began to question the morality of what his agency was doing.

Al’s friend and partner, Bruce Stinson (codenamed Chapel), was hired to kill him. Simmons was killed and his soul was 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 sou, he would get to see his wife once again. When Simmons returned to the human world five years had passed. He had been transformed into a demonic creature with little memory of his former life. He eventually regained his memories and sought out his wife. She had moved on and married his best friend. They now had a daughter named Cyan.

Al, now going by the name Spawn, decides his purpose is to fight evil. Malebolgia was agreeable to Spawn’s new mission as every evil person killed was another body in his army for his future war against Heaven.

The Spawn movie

The popularity of Spawn peaked with the 1997 Spawn feature film. The film was only a mild commercial success and failed to start a film franchise based on the character. The film had lots of CGI scenes. The budget was continually raised to cover the the ballooning cost of making the computer generated shots. This coupled with studio forcing the film to be cut from a Rated R movie down to a PG-13 rating undoubtedly helped to damage the appeal.

The new Spawn movie has already been written by Todd McFarlane. He doesn’t want to retell the origin of Spawn. This time he wants to focus on the real world implications of the character. The new Spawn movie will rely more on practical effects rather than computer generated eye candy. McFarlane has promised this Spawn movie will be a R rated horror movie. With Todd McFarlane writing the script and the studio green-lighting an R rated horror movie, we should finally get the Spawn movie befitting the character.

https://youtu.be/xVK9qJNIjnY

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