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Wed, 16 May ’12

Comic Book Day: Todd McFarlane’s Ever-Spawning Imagination

Here’s to two decades of darkness.

Todd McFarlane’s signature character is celebrating his 20th birthday, but you can be the one to get the presents by entering our McFarlane merchandise giveaway to win signed swag (multiply your chances at our Google +,Facebook and Twitter pages). Spawn may not be old enough to drink, but we’re toasting him in spirit with a Todd McFarlane talk that tells all. Here’s a sample:

Nerdist News: You created Spawn in high school. While working at Marvel did you ever want to see your creation as a big Marvel book or was that something you had just kept in the back of your head for someday?

Todd McFarlane
: When you’re teaching yourself how to draw, you’re drawing all the cool characters that you like, but you’re also creating your own characters. And I had gotten to the point where I started doing my own comic book. But then I sort of go off to college, start doing what I’m doing, get even more entrenched in wanting to break into comics.  I tell people today that are trying to break in, save your own characters for yourself. If you show them pages of your character, they don’t really know whether that’s a good version or not. But if you show them a Captain America or Superman page then they can go, “Wow, that’s cool.”  For me, once I broke into Marvel and DC, I was focused on their characters and there was never anything in my career at that point that led me to want to dig into my teenage portfolio and pull out any of these dozens of characters I had created. Now you fast forward and we end up leaving and start Image Comic Books, you know the first question on all of our minds, the original founders, was alright we gotta do a book and we gotta come up with characters. I think even Erik Larsen found his in the same category as me, that he had created his character in high school too. So we can sort of reach back in time and take the character that was our favorite guy and we just brought him forward and just tweaked them a bit.

N: Now you’ve crossed 200 issues. That’s impressive.

: I think so. It shows longevity. It starts to go back to what caught my attention, which is if this thing survived for a long time, there must be some value to it. Over time, and I’ve seen it with all my favorite comic books, all comic books ebb and flow in their quality and so now that Spawn‘s been around for this long, the rules apply exactly the same to it too. There’ve been high points and low points and points in between and you go, okay, but that it’s 220 issues old of an independent comic book tells you that it can hang. Because when I first started collecting comic books, my first issue of Amazing Spider-Man, I have a clear recollection of it, was issue 167. I thought that was a giant number and when it got to 200 I was like, “Wowww.” And now I go wow, I started collecting Amazing Spider-Man at 167. I thought it had been around forever. ‘Cause it pretty much had, ever since the day I was born. Ever since I was born, there had been a Spider-Man on the planet. And I go we’re at like 219, we’re 50 issues past the number of Amazing Spider-Man when I first bought it. That’s a body of work.

For more Todds ‘n ends, be sure to read our full McFarlane interview and enter to win his signature on some sweet stuff. Then hit up our Google +, Facebook and Twitter pages to try again.