Fans Meet Spawn's New Creative Team, Image Comics Founders
Thursday, July 03, 2008

After a 10-year hiatus, Todd McFarlane returned to the convention hall floors at Wizard World Chicago last weekend. There to promote the new creative team on Spawn #185, as well as his renewed involvement in the book, Todd participated in a panel and two signings devoted to his title character.

Primarily a comic book convention, the event drew more than 71,000 people, up 5 percent from last year's attendance.

"This convention reminded me of some of the good old days, where you had a big area, but it was mostly devoted to the medium of comic books," says Todd. "Everything was comic-book-related, whereas San Diego has become a pop culture convention. At Wizard World Chicago, we could just geek out on this industry that we all fell in love with, and not have to share it."

Never one to shy away from a microphone, Todd dazzled crowds with his candor and storytelling, revealing what he could about Spawn's new direction, slated to begin with the October 2008 issue.

"In its simplest form, we're going to make this book different," he says. "I'll leave it up to the readers whether 'different' is good for them or bad for them, but I want to make a concentrated effort to make sure the book feels different than any of the 184 issues preceding it."

After wrapping up the "Spawn to the Future" panel, Todd, writer Brian Holguin, and artist Whilce Portacio, headed to the Wizard Booth for a one-on-one signing with excited fans.

In addition to the limited-edition lithograph designed by Portacio, fans brought numerous pieces of memorabilia for Todd to sign. Lines never seem short for Todd signings, and he's never surprised by the pieces that cross the table.

"Historically what you get is Spider-Man #1, a lot of Spider-Man 300s, Spawn #1, a bunch of Spawn 100s; iconic covers or key issues. And, there is always a unique item in the bunch that a loyal fan wants signed.

"It's always interesting to me when somebody comes up and they have Infinity Incorporated Issue #17. I think, wow, it's not the first issue of Infinity, so it's just a random book out of all the works I did. Sometimes, people will bring the Coyote issues. The upside of that is, I've probably only signed 15 or 20 of those in my entire life, because everyone brings the other [iconic] books."

At the signings McFarlane and the team held that day, lines wrapped around the convention center for a chance to meet the comic book legend. While those at the front of the line met Todd with great ease and speed, those at the back waited patiently for more than two hours for their turn.

"Given that I haven't done a tremendous amount of steady work in comic books, I'm always sort of surprised that there's anyone in line," says Todd. "I'm always grateful. I don't care if there are two people or 2,000; I'm always grateful for anyone to be in line at any time."

Although Todd's main focus was to promote Spawn, he also reunited with old friends for the Image Comics Founders panel. It felt like it was 1992 all over again, and they were the kings at the round table.

"We spent a lot of time together in the first three or four years that we were with Image," says Todd. "Then we all went in our own directions with our studios, although we were still collectively Image Comics. Being able to spend quality time with 'the gang' on a regular basis for the past few months has been pretty good."