Alternate download link to mp3 if player above doesn’t work.
Click the play button above to listen to the chat with Image founder Todd McFarlane recorded October 30. My intent is to cover the many aspects of Todd: the artist, the businessman, the sports fan, etc. Yes, there are some dated sports references. Also, some parts may be difficult to listen through, especially the part where Todd discusses digital comics at around the 1-hour, 25-minute mark. Read on to see the reviews for Todd’s biography and Spawn #225.
I have respect for Todd for going ahead and doing his own thing. He didn’t settle for being just an artist. He wanted and got the opportunity to ink and write his own stuff. Art shows through various artwork and notes how Todd went from up-and-coming artist to “rock star” creator to successful businessman.
As it says in the title, the book’s focus is the art with text used as a complement and a framing device. Stan Lee‘s glowing foreword suggests that Stan may be a fan of Todd’s art himself. Several pieces of artwork are provided at the penciled, inked, and finished stages. It should be no surprise that Art’s not an thorough history of Image Comics. Featured within Art are sample pages from his greatest hits (Spawn, Amazing Spider-Man) and his lesser-known efforts (Superman Special, Coyote, inking the Archie #600 variant cover). The book is a one-stop place to see his Spawn/Image 20th Anniversary cover homages. Art devotes 6 pages to Haunt, his co-creation with Robert Kirkman, towards the end of the book.
Over the years, Todd has sought improvements in his artistry and writing. I’m amazed at the some of the art he’s put out after leaving Spawn penciling duties. Todd may not be the World’s Greatest Writer, but he realizes he’s writing for his characters and for the comic medium. Some critics disagree with Todd in many respects, but I don’t think he’s a hack. Todd would have a decent career just as a caricaturist. Seeing his takes on NHL superstars is one my favorite parts. Also, I’m not a toy collector, but I liked seeing the example used to show the improvements made to the toy figures. I had a small temptation to buy one of the figures after viewing the big photos of them.
Art is not a how-to-draw book, but it does reinforce the importance of work ethic and improving one’s talent. Artists wanting to adapt his intense style and visual logic may find Todd’s evolution as an artist helpful. Those artists should also have a love for flowing capes, ropes, and proud displays of historical milestones (cf. Spawn #100, #200, etc.). McFarlane’s school of art is more awesome when he and Greg Capullo are giving lessons:
Art serves as a grand exhibition of a part of Modern Age history. The hardcover book shows how Todd has risen above it all to earn his place in pop culture. See information and preview several pages from Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil is in the Details.
Todd will sign copies of his book at Glendale, Arizona’s McFarlane Store on 17 December, according to Convention Scene.
See also: Todd McFarlane: A Retrospective, Todd’s quasi-audiobook.
Written by Todd McFarlane. Drawn by Szymon Kudranski. Published by Image Comics.
The cover homages continue in #225. I didn’t notice any link between the cover and the interior story, but Spawn #225 is intruiging enough. While I’m not a Spawn fan, I liked how Szymon is building atmosphere.
In #223, the last Spawn I’ve read, most of the issue is draped in darkness and it’s mostly an interrogation scene. That was okay, but I didn’t feel like reading more about Jim Downing. This issue, some light can finally enter the scenery. For me, a casual acquaintance of Spawn history, I was pleased to see the interplay among Wynn, Caglistro, Malebolgia, Clown and Jim.
The plot can be distilled to Jim Downing trying to find himself and having readers piece together who’s aligned with whom. If anyone expects an intricate politcal thriller involving this past election then he or she may be disappointed. If I have the opportunity to read Spawn #226, I’d read it.