Move over, MCU and DCEU, Todd McFarlane reveals his plans for extended ‘Spawn’ universe
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Move over, MCU and DCEU, Todd McFarlane reveals his plans for extended ‘Spawn’ universe

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 23: Image Comics co-founders Todd McFarlane (L) and Tom Profitsky, dressed as the character Spawn.

Todd McFarlane and his creation, Spawn (cosplayed by Tom Proprimsky) at the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con in 2017 (photo by Gab Ginsburg / Getty Images)

Todd McFarlane remembers the exact moment he knew he wanted to create a different color of superhero. The artist and writer were in the middle through their groundbreaking Spider Man Run when they find themselves alternately comfortable and frustrated by a design range of Marvel Comics’ signature wall-crawlers. McFarlane told Yahoo Entertainment, “It always made me think that I was creating a character that was covered from head to toe.” You didn’t know if they were Asian or Latino or white, and I always got this Was curious about why. I mean, you can see Flash and Batman from the nose down, so we know who they are. But for any character who is covered from head to toe, the first question should be: Who is he? What is their background and what drives them? “

In fact, McFarren went on to create a scenario that highlighted Spider-Man’s lack of identity, which never made it into the pages of the Marvel comic. “I saw this scene, where your cliche white Wall Street man is walking down the street, and gets mugged by an understudy character,” he recalls. “Spider-Man comes in and lifts Magger up. As he is walking away, the Wall Street man says, ‘Hey, thanks, Spider-Man! You saved me from that… and dropped an epithet. Spidey turns around, sees the Wall Street man standing against the f *** ing wall, looks him in the eye and says, ‘What do you think I’m under this mask for?’

This is not an accident, then, when McFarlane launched a specific creative agenda Spawn, The character for his leading comic and image comics, is an artist-owned comics company that began with great fanfare in 1992. Like Spider-Man, the demon possessed the demon dressed in a head-to-toe costume. But McFarlane gave specific answers as to who was under the mask: a black soldier and CIA agent, who makes a literal deal with Satan after an untimely death that brings him back to Earth as a Halocene warrior.

“At the time, I was thinking, why can’t an A-Plus hero be a minority character?” McFarlane says of the introduction of Spawn, which came during a decline period for the black-LED comic books of DC and Marvel. (DC’s Milestone label, founded by black artists such as Dwayne McDuffie and Michael Davis, and characters like Icons and Static, will be screened for the first time in a year later in 1993.) “So I made Spawn, and then I made that thing. Lee that is the trigger for most people and burned his skin. Now you’re at the point where Dr. King has said: Identify a person by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. They know Gone is how a man can be and, perhaps so little, a hero. “

Flash-forward to today, and it’s also no accident that McFarlane has chosen Black History Month to announce his latest initiative for Spawn. After nearly three decades and more than 300 issues, the character is finding a shared universe of its own after Marvel and DC. This is a plan dating back to 1992 when McFarlane was wrestling with how big he wanted Al’s world. “We were involved with the idea at the beginning of Image Comics, but I decided to focus on my main character,” he says. “Now there is a moment where I want to put my stake in the ground and make something, very big.”

& # 39;  Cover for Sponge Universe;  The comic that will launch a new expanded universe for Todd McFarlane's signature character (Photo: courtesy Todd McFarlane)

Cover for the ‘Spawn Universe,’ comic, which will launch a new expanded universe for Todd McFarlane’s signature character (Photo: courtesy Todd McFarlane)

Spawn-The year will officially launch with a one-shot comic in June Spawn universe, Which will serve as the launching pad for three new comics that hit shelves between August and December: King spawn, Featuring a weary spawn, neo-western Gunslinger spawn And team title Scorched. And this is just the beginning of McFarlane’s plan. He said, “This is a 20-year plan.” “DC Comics did in the 1930s and Marvel did in the 1960s. So I can anticipate 20 years in the future what this could potentially be, and it goes beyond comic books. We start with these new books and these new characters, and they should forget other characters, other books and other ideas. “

McFarlane does not hide the fact that he eventually enjoys the way Marvel has for the multi-media empire at Walt Disney and DC in WarnerMedia – an arrangement that allows characters other than comic to blockbuster films and buzzer streaming shows Allows to show books. “Marvel of the Table and DC of the Table”, he says of the media companies hunting for the next big superhero property. “If they want to get the books, they have to look elsewhere. And if you look at the power of Spawn, he is not only relevant, but he is gaining steam. At some point, we are going to find a buyer, and the question is, am I selling them spawn or am I selling them something much bigger than this? “

It is worth noting that both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe have launched two inherited white characters with Iron Man and Superman respectively – before diversifying into the population of heroes. McFarlane’s imagined spawn universe begins with a black hero and is only more diverse from there. He said, “This will be on our mind.” “I think that should be a natural progression of how we should go there.” That part of his background is going aside in all of this, but ultimately whether a character ends up being male or female, white or minority, should be of no consequence. Either the character is compelling or the character is not compelling. “

While McFarlane will each begin writing new books, behind the scenes he will work with a vast array of artists, including Frank Quitley, Art Adams and Xavier Fernandez, with more names to come. “With the right amount of like-minded creators, we can achieve a fleshed-out, meaningful universe that will have an impact across many, many mediums. Because if we create our own Guardians of the Galaxy Or our Poison, It is a billion dollar idea. My goal is not just to make dark, gritty, R rated stuff. Will there be characters who fall into that category? Of course, but Spawn’s universe must have a wide range of characters. For me, it is only the rock that is being plunged into the water and I am more concerned about the waves. If I do my job right, the spawn should become more irrelevant as the waves fade away. “

An internal panel & # 39;  Sponge Universe & # 39;  From Todd McFarlane (Photo: courtesy Todd McFarlane)

An internal panel of ‘Sponse Universe’ from Todd McFarlane (Photo: courtesy Todd McFarlane)

Those waves begin with new characters that will be found in readers’ pages King spawn, Gunslinger spawn And Scorched. McFarlane described the first book as a way of presenting Spawn as a strategist more than a soldier. “We accept that 30 years have passed, and he can no longer fight like a warrior – he needs to fight like a king. And when you’re a king, all the time without having to go to the battlefield on your own There is a way to destroy the enemy. ” Gunslinger spawnMeanwhile, McFarlane’s role is Wolverine, Starring an old West Hellspan named Jeremy Winston, who has already been introduced in flashbacks, and will be brought to the present day. “If you want a true bad-ass, your Logan, your Punish, your Lobo, this is your boy,” he says, as he plans to drop “Spawn” from the character’s name as his adventures continue. is. “He is also a man out of time. I am really considering having both modern and western stories in the same issue, because I think some cowboy stories would have fun.”

Eventually, Scorched The Redeemer for a Team Book brings together earlier characters such as Medieval Spawn and She-Spawn which will also be a vehicle to introduce new heroes. “The underlying idea is that all of these characters have been burned physically or mentally sometime in their lives. In our infancy, we will be leading Spawn Mythology, but the goal is not to make more Spawns. If I do this properly, then in three to five years, none of the team has anything to do with spawning. “

In the short term, of course, Spawn will be the major attraction for some superhero-star media company, it will be Universal and its Peacock streaming service; Netflix and its growing stable of comic book programming; Or Amazon Prime, which is quickly capitalizing on breakout success The boys. In addition to name recognition, McFarlane has a feature film script he is ready to direct, And a major star – Jamie Foxx – attached to play Al Simmons. ()Spawn Earlier in 1997, Michael was brought on the big screen with Jai White in the title role, but McFarlane had minimal involvement in that version.) “We’re continuing to build the team,” he says of the long-running project. Says about Set up with Jason Blum’s Money-Printing Production Company, Blumhouse. “Fingers crossed, we’ll have big news to share on that front until mid-year. Everything is basically closed and we’re just waiting for that” go “button.

Meanwhile, McFarlane is grateful to comic books for his creative itch and testing of the character, who could become the next Star Lord or Grote. “To me, comics are still the epicenter of everything, and it has the most value because everything else is a by-product of creating those ideas and putting them on paper. You can spin those ideas on other mediums and platforms Are, but thoughts. Something has to take place and comics are in place. I’m going to make this one long Long-term project, so 20 years from now, we can determine whether I failed miserably or severely underestimated the magnitude of what I was about to do! “

Spawn universe Comic book shelves will hit in June.

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