Comic-book fans are in for a treat this weekend as the legendary Todd McFarlane will make a rare appearance in the Hub at this year’s Fan Expo Boston.
It’s been more than two decades since the artist and scribe last visited the city for a convention, and the mastermind behind “Spawn,” “Venom” and countless other works is excited for his return on Saturday. While McFarlane knows some fans treat him and other comic-book creators as “rock stars,” he enjoys the fact that these types of events have evolved to encompass all aspects of pop culture, attracting fandoms outside of the superhero-loving crowds.
“The thing I like about the conventions now is that they are way more eclectic,” McFarlane tells Metro, noting how film buffs, toy collectors, manga readers and more are welcome. “There’s a lot for everybody, which is why they are growing. You don’t need to be into comic books to go to a ‘comic book’ convention.”
While being a fan of comics isn’t required to attend, lovers of the medium will surely be out in force during McFarlane’s appearance at the show. After making a name for himself with runs at Marvel and DC, McFarlane became a superstar with his own creation, “Spawn,” which first hit shelves in 1992 and went on to be a worldwide phenomenon, receiving its own film and animated series. 2019 is actually a huge year for the franchise, as issue No. 300 of “Spawn” will be released in September, followed shortly by issue No. 301 in October, which will break the record for the longest-running, creator-owned comic book series in history.
As for what keeps McFarlane interested in the character after all these years, it has a lot to do with the fact that he has complete control over where to take the popular antihero’s story.
“Ultimately, it’s because I’m in charge,” says McFarlane. “I’ve had the luxury to be able to evolve and change my character if I’m personally getting bored.
“You have the power here, so do what will keep you interested,” he adds. “You cross your fingers and hope that the audience will like it. But that’s it.”
McFarlane notes that the “Spawn from issue No. 300 is not the same Spawn from issue No. 1,” which is why he encourages readers who haven’t picked up an issue in a while to give it another shot. The acclaimed writer and artist believes that, much like his character of Spawn, he’s just getting started as a creator.
“I’m 300 issues into it and I think, creatively, I’m just getting started,” says McFarlane. “Do I have 300 more issues of ‘Spawn’ in my brain? Sure I do.”
There’s also been talk of bringing Spawn back to the big screen, with names like Jamie Foxx rumored to be attached. As for now, McFarlane is just focused on finishing his record-breaking issue of the comic book before diving back into Hollywood.
“Just let me get my Issue 301 out because these are important to me,” he says.
Outside of “Spawn,” McFarlane has become a powerhouse entrepreneur, serving as president and co-founder of Image Comics, plus creating McFarlane Toys as well as his own production company which has spawned films, shows and even music videos. Having gone head-to-head with corporate giants in a variety of mediums, McFarlane hopes to be remembered for his tenacity and success as an independent creator.
“If I had a tombstone, it would just say, ‘Here lies Todd McFarlane. He died a free man,’” says McFarlane. “There is no better feeling in the world than controlling your own destiny. It’s essentially the story of ‘Spawn.’”