Todd McFarlane is a legend of the modern age of comics. His contributions to Marvel and DC, the creation of Spawn, and helping establish Image Comics, have cemented his place in the history books. Although he has dabbled in almost every creative medium including toys, video games, music, and TV, McFarlane has been laser-focused over the past few years on getting a Spawn reboot on the big screen. However, this time around his plan is a lot more ambitious, as he wrote the script and plans to direct the film as well.
While at first many thought his dream of keeping full creative-control of his character on-screen was far-fetched, the fact that successful producer Jason Blum and Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx have signed on for the ride is proving McFarlane knows what he is doing. CBR got the chance to speak with the outspoken creator recently and he was not only generous with his time, but was also very open about his views on superhero films and where Spawn fits into the genre in 2018. Not to mention, he drops major hints about what we can expect from this new version of Spawn and how the comics will line up with the film.
CBR: Why do you think its important to have different iterations of Spawn for different mediums — comic books, animation, live action, video game — as well as different eras?
Todd McFarlane: I think there is two components to it: 1) Acknowledging that the character has been around for 27 years. I think that in and of itself sort of warrants not repeating the same tricks. Just to be clear, when I speak about change, I’m not saying change is better or worse. I’m just saying, at times I think it’s necessary. Then, you leave the audience to decide if they like it better or worse.
And then, 2) a component here that I don’t think many people are factoring in, is that the person that is in charge of Spawn 27 later, is the same person who was in charge of it 27 years ago. So, I believe with every fibre in my body that if Stan Lee created Spider-Man was still writing him 30-40 years later, it wouldn’t be the same Spider-Man. The reason I say that is because it’s hard creatively to keep doing the same thing over and over. The way that comic books work, and let’s just play out this example, Stan does Spider-Man for forty issues and then eventually moves on. Then the next writer comes along, in this case Roy Thomas, and he pays homage to what Stan did out of reverence. He does it for forty or fifty issues, and then he moves onto something else, and then you get Len Wein. The next thing you know, it’s been three or four decades and we’re sort of recirculating a lot of the same stuff…not exclusively, but we’re doing it. It’s just the nature of our business.
When I let people sometimes write Spawn, their first instinct is to go, “Oh, I’m going to basically redo the first 25 issues of Spawn because that’s what Spawn is.” Instead of saying, “Hey, this is a continuum, I’ll pick up on the continuum.” That’s a long-winded way of saying, I’ve been with this guy for 27 years just as far as publication. I created him when I was 16, so it’s been a lot longer…it’s been 40 years. Just for my own sanity, I have to evolve him. Now, I’ll leave the “evolved him for the better or worse” to the audience.