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Spider-Man Letterer Explains How Todd McFarlane Owes Him Money

Longtime Marvel letterer Rick Parker recently shared a story on his Facebook page about how Parker handled what Parker claims was a promise from Todd McFarlane to give Parker extra money on the Spider-Man series that the two men worked on together.

Parker, perhaps best known as the artist on Marvel's Beavis and Butthead series in the 1990s, came up with a clever way to gain a measure of "revenge" on McFarlane allegedly reneging on his promise of giving Parker a bonus for some special lettering on 1990's blockbuster Spider-Man series.

RELATED: McFarlane Won’t Rule Out Spawn/Spider-Man Crossover – But Don’t Count On It

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Parker was one of Marvel's top letterers during the 1980s and when Todd McFarlane took over as artist on Amazing Spider-Man in 1988, Parker was the letterer on the series. Therefore, when McFarlane later got the chance to write and draw his own Spider-Man series in 1990, it was only natural for Parker to letter this new series, as well.

However, Parker noted that McFarlane wanted something special on the new book, "So....Todd was going to write, pencil and ink it, and I would remain as the letterer, but Todd said he wanted me to do something "special" with the lettering --not just my usual lettering job....and said he wanted to pay me extra to do so.

I told him, 'I am happy to do whatever you want--and it's okay, you don't have to pay me anything extra---Marvel pays me a good rate.'

But he insisted that I take some extra money from him to do what he wanted.

So I said, 'Oh, all right....my mother always told me not to argue with someone who was trying to force money on me.'"

RELATED: Five minutes with Rick Parker

Rick doesn't explain precisely what it was that McFarlane wanted "extra" on the book, but it is likely that McFarlane wanted Parker to do a riff on John Workman's classic "Doom" lettering from Workman's time on Thor with Walter Simonson. When Simonson started his run, he slowly had a page with a mysterious being pounding on a sword on an anvil, with the sound effect "Doom"...

It continued every issue...

until finally being revealed as Surtur after ten issues...

Similarly, there was an increasing "Doom" sound effect in Spider-Man #1...

The book came out and was a massive hit, but Parker explained that he never received any bonus from McFarlane. He let it go, until..."One day I was seated behind my table at The New York Comic Con with no one paying much attention to me and watching a line of thousands of fans lining up to get Todd's autograph on the Spider-Man comic book......

At some point that afternoon, someone near the end of the long line noticed me sitting across the aisle and said to the person behind him, "Hey--check it out--that's Rick Parker sitting over there.....he lettered this comic book. Hold my place in line, I'm going to go get him to sign this comic while I'm waiting."

So........having always been the kind of person who gets funny ideas and then likes to run with them, I decided I would sign my autograph on the comic book-- and also add "TODD OWES ME MONEY" just above my autograph. Then the fan would would take it back over for Todd to sign and he would see that! That'll teach him to mess with a LETTERER!

It caught on.

One person after the next brought me their comic to sign. Over and over I wrote,"TODD OWES ME MONEY"TODD OWES ME MONEY"TODD OWES ME MONEY"TODD OWES ME MONEY"TODD OWES ME MONEY"TODD OWES ME MONEY"

...still no check, though..."

Commenter Jeff Alexander shared a signed copy of he has of the issue, with Parker's "Todd Owes Me Money" signature on it...

That's one unique autograph!

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