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McFarlane Melange! Reviews of Art of Todd McFarlane & Spawn #225 with Full Interview

Posted on 10:37 am, 19th November 2012 by | Email the author

todd-mcfarlane-stan-lee-by-gage-skidmore

 

Alternate download link to mp3 if player above doesn’t work.

See excerpts from The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details.

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.

Notes about the interview. Topper image by Gage Skidmore.

The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details Review

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.

art-of-todd-mcfarlane-coverAs 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.

Spawn #225 Review

Written by Todd McFarlane. Drawn by Szymon Kudranski. Published by Image Comics.

spawn-225-obama-wins-coverThe 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.

spawn-225-panel


Interview topics discussed with time codes:

  • 2:05 After exchanging hellos and talking about the World Series, comics talk begins.
  • 19:43 Jim Shooter & Tom DeFalco
  • 35:51 Todd on To Tell the Truth & an anecdote about the Rob Liefeld jeans commercial.
  • 38:10 Todd’s thoughts on the Spider-Man movies & thoughts on movies
  • 44:36 Todd’s last day at Marvel, starting Image, and bringing out Spawn
  • 59:08 Todd the writer, then some thoughts on Spawn having guest writers.
  • 65:58 Spawn 1997 movie
  • 66:39 Todd leaving Spawn penciling duties
  • 68:25 Branching out to toys
  • 72:43 Has Todd planned out Spawn #250?
  • 73:29 Haunt, including whether Todd plans to crossover Haunt and Spawn
  • 77:06 Todd on new movie script and the new animated series
  • 79:56 Todd’s 20th anniversary homage covers
  • 80:31 Spawn #225 cover (where Presidential election winner is named on cover) and lots of political talk begins.
  • 85:55 Image United
  • 86:14 Future of comics including digital comics. Apologies for the constant static. :(
  • 87:48 Todd on the comics industry’s survival.
  • 89:52 Todd on the King of Comics, Jack Kirby.
  • 91:29 Todd on Korn’s Freaks on a Leash.
  • 93:03 Todd on 2012 MLB playoff format.
  • 96:14 Todd on the NHL lockout.
  • 97:33 Todd on why he still values his home run balls.
  • 100:25 Todd on his Edmonton Oilers oil drop logo.
  • 102:58 Todd on the 2012 Atlanta Falcons (it WAS recorded while they were undefeated)
  • 104:05 Todd on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
  • 106:17 Would he create a baseball-themed superhero?
  • 109:45 If there was a McFarlane town, would he want a statue of him with Spawn a la Walt and Mickey at Disney World?
  • 110:54 Finally, Todd’s idea of a red-headed mule.
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