He may be prepared for a milestone to finally arrive in comic shops this January with the 200th issue of his signature "Spawn" comic from Image, but Todd McFarlane is already looking ahead to big moves in 2011.
"I've been spending a lot of time with my company during the downturn of the economy and making sure we all live to tell about it, if you will," the artist told CBR News before explaining that the long-gestating "Spawn" movie he's been writing and plans on directing will finally become a front and center concern moving forward. "Now that I've finished #200, I've got some time on the schedule – which was really my biggest enemy – to actually do all the things I need to do. And #1 on the list is finish the script to the movie. That's what's aggravating the most people in Hollywood. They just go, 'Todd! When are we going to get the damn thing?' So I need to finish #200 and give a little guidance to the guys moving forward because we're in capable hands after that, but I'm there to help clean up the writing.
"But the next big move is to look at the animation and the movie and get proactive with it instead of just talking about it. That's the biggest thing on my agenda in 2011."
Though he's not continuing on as lead writer with "Spawn," the artist explains that he's looking to expand his publishing line out some in the coming year. "I've got another comic book that's in the works. I've got the first couple of scripts done, and we'll be introducing it next year. It's a kind of urban story I've been thinking about for a while that I think would make a hell of a TV show."
Aside from revitalizing Hollywood interest for a character who already nabbed a big budget film and animated series before the current wave of popularity, McFarlane also said the relationship between comics and movies has changed a lot of how he does his business – even in the past year. "You would imagine with the success of things like 'The Walking Dead,' Hollywood is a big bandwagon industry," he explained. "So now just like when a Spider-Man movie does good or a Batman movie does good, they go 'We've got to get more of this stuff!' They all understand when they're looking at the Spawn property that their choices are getting limited. DC is owned by Warners, so all that stuff is going to go through Warner Bros. Now with Disney taking over Marvel, all that's going to go through them in the future. So the Universals of the world and the Paramounts of the world and anybody even smaller than that have sort of been locked out of the big boy stuff.
"They're going to, by the very nature of what's happening, have to start looking at outside projects as 'independent ideas.' When they start going 'That's our new reality,' they look around and go 'How is Spawn not tied down?' Since it's floating out there, someone's always bugging me and going, 'We're looking to but this independent stuff because we can't get the X-Men or Spider-Man or Superman...so when are you going to let us have a shot at this?' It's been happening for the last few years nonstop, and it's time for me to take advantage of it by finishing the script, trying to make the deal and see if I can direct it."
Of course, with all things related to Spawn, McFarlane is keeping not just his own voice front and center but his core creative platform in mind. "If I can get that going, then there's momentum so the comic book has something to drive it much like it used to. That's what you're seeing now with 'Walking Dead.' It already had a lot of momentum on it, but the TV show should help boost that book's sales for years to come."
"Spawn" #200 ships to comic shops on January 5, 2011.