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  1. #16
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    I have very mixed/sad feelings about the whole "going completely digital" thing. I'm all for having both print and non print formats available. But just digital only? From what I'm gathering, it sounds like McFarlane is scrambling to find ways to survive the times, just like everyone else is. It has been 20 years and reading about a guy who lives in an alley, only to fight mostly with his own emotional torment, year after year again, did get kind of dry. I haven't even bothered catching up on the new Spawn guy.

    I mean, I absolutely love Spawn. And I'm currently collecting the old Todd toys because I missed out on so many. But truth be told... I probably wont be following Spawn comics anymore, outside issue 1 - 100. I always felt the story should have ended at 50 while it was still in it's prime, and then given a chance to take a break before coming back for more awesome hell bound action. But it kept dragging instead and it did begin to feel like it was merely trying to reach a numeric goal rather than keeping the integrity of the original story, strong. There were quite a few good tales after issue 50, mind you.

    But I do recall slowly losing interest in it after #50. I love reading stories that have strong continuity. Stories that are actually going somewhere and not just starting out with a bang, only to wonder where the bullet actually went and hit the wall. When I read Sam Kieth's The Maxx, I was so in love with it and was very happy with how it ended. It was a well rounded and captivating story in my opinion. At that point, I remember hoping Sam Kieth would have taken no more than one year off before he returned with a new The Maxx series again. But..with the way Maxx ended..it probably wouldn't have made any sense and should be left well enough alone as a beautiful classic.
    I wish to some extent, Spawn had the same treatment after 50. Because at that point, I remember my buddies and I were feeling like "where is this going?". And not too long ago, I found out Al Simmons was no longer Spawn, but rather another guy. I said, what??? Then, I forgot who told me this but supposedly the real Al and Todd had a mild disagreement somewhere which encouraged Todd to drop the name and character of Al Simmons all together. OH wait! I remember now! I was actually at Todd's store in AZ, the one next to the movie theater. The clerk told me the story about the problem and why Al Simmons was dropped. I thought wow...that sucks.

    You know...honestly... and I mean honestly... I REALLY miss the early 90s. I mean like 91, 92, 93 and 94.
    I remember how confused I was to see not ONE Spawn figure in that AZ based store when I got the down low about Al and Todd. It's a Todd McFarlane store and not ONE Spawn. Not even a Spawn display. It was mostly sports figures and movie/tv related licenses. There were even some Marvel toys up on the shelves! True signs of the times. :(
    But it's understandable I guess. It's kind of hard to keep a character who came from hell in the faces of the mainstream.

    I personally don't think going digital is going to save comics even though it has shown small levels of interest already. I think it's removing the veil of delusions that will be the key to saving at least SOME companies out there.
    In the end, comic books are a product. And products are made to sell.
    But...is it really that difficult for some of these living legends to figure out how to create a product that will catch the masses attention? In this day and age..probably so.
    You know... at time's I would ask myself these "What if" questions and they would keep me in wonder.
    Like...what if Todd would draw his Spawn books, from cover to it's last page, consistently (traditionally, putting all digital toys aside)? What would happen then? Would his fans rejoice and buy every single book in possibly doubles or triples? Speaking only for myself and I say this with utmost truth, I would TOTALLY purchase every new Spawn comic if Todd got back on the reigns and drew his damn book from beginning to end on a monthly basis, but with all his passion in it (with full throttle like when he was drawing Spiderman). After all...that IS why I first got into SPAWN. It was Todd McFarlane. Not Whilce Portacio, not Philip Tan. Not even Greg Capullo (although I wont argue Greg's masterful artwork was very exciting to look at in Spawn pages). It was Todd.

    The same with Liefeld's books. I want to see HIM draw his books. Not someone else. If you're a fan of Todd or Liefeld, is it too much to ask of them to consistently draw their own books and not rely on other talents (regardless of how amazing they are).
    And I don't mean just drawing a few large panels here and there. I mean all out, full throttle, like the way he did it in New Mutants and X-Force even.
    I swear, if these guys were drawing all their books full throttle today, I'd totally sign up for a monthly subscription. The art isn't everything and believe me, I understand that argument. But for me the way the art is presented, tells just how much passion the artist has at first glance, which is a rule of thumb when creating a product you're hoping kids/teens/adults will flip over. And yes, it's a subjective matter but..let's not kid ourselves. How many kids do you know that will drool over a Mike Mignola cover vs an action packed, detailed and just high energy image by one of the Image guys?
    I've actually conducted my own small survey when I went outside the park and rounded up all the kids who were playing soccer, handing them free trading cards and comics. Non of the more "subtle" - "grown up'ish" stuff was picked. They took all my youngbloods, Xmens and Cyberforce comics. lol.. kids today still gravitate towards intense "bad ass" energy.

    Now the question is... how do we develop a product that can attract both young and old at the same time? I would say, draw bad ass art, full of passion, energy, etc. And write a great story. The child within will appreciate the passionate art while the adult would appreciate the depth of the story itself. Kind of like those frosted mini wheats commercials lol...Just my two cents i guess. lol.

    Anyhow, it's great to hear Todd is still pushing away at his creation. My wishful thinking, I'd hope he starts drawing all his books from here on out and bring back Spawn toys on the shelves (spawn TOYS, not static mini statues). But that probably will NEVER happen. Todd's a busy man now. Meetings on top of meetings and a big family to look after. I don't know how he does it. It's incredible.
    Last edited by Jaxon; 04-28-2012 at 12:05 PM.

  2. #17

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    I click on every Spawn article like this one, because I'm still interested in McFarlane's art, if he ever gets back to doing it on a regular basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxon View Post
    How many kids do you know that will drool over a Mike Mignola cover vs an action packed, detailed and just high energy image by one of the Image guys?
    I've actually conducted my own small survey when I went outside the park and rounded up all the kids who were playing soccer, handing them free trading cards and comics. Non of the more "subtle" - "grown up'ish" stuff was picked. They took all my youngbloods, Xmens and Cyberforce comics. lol.. kids today still gravitate towards intense "bad ass" energy.
    Yeah, I feel what you're saying and the results of your survey don't surprise me at all. I've often thought about how much more exciting comics were for kids twenty years ago vs. how boring they must seem to kids now.

    The ruling mindset just doesn't understand how to connect to anyone under the age of 20, and consequently we've lost a generation or two of younger readers. There are more complicated reasons behind the lack of youth readership, of course--issues having to do with distribution, economics, etc.--but just on a visceral, primal level it's almost impossible for me to see many comics of the last 5-10 years connecting with kids in the 10-16 age range, which is when most of us were hooked back in the day.

    I took a break from comics for about a decade, then I came back in earnest around four years ago. I was so shocked to see how comics had changed. On the one hand, of course I really liked a lot of the books. But on the other hand I couldn't help seeing how almost ALL of the mainstream comics were so full of nostalgia and hipster humor.

    Imagine if all of the comics of our youth were targeted for our parents. Or, better yet, imagine if they were all targeted to our weird uncles who had weird senses of humor that we didn't really get. Or imagine if they were all targeted to the weird cat lady who lived a few houses over, whom we knew was a Star Trek fan. As kids we never would have started reading comics if that were the case. But this is what we've got now. Comics are written for slightly socially awkward 35-year-olds. Worse yet, this target audience insists on being correct about everything. So they demand that the industry continue to cater to them and their ideas of what comics are. And any overtures toward comics that used to attract a younger readership (Spawn, Liefeld, Claremont, Barbie comics) are often lampooned and mocked as totally wrong.

    A few years ago, when I'd started listening to comics podcasts, I heard people pontificate about how the industry could really turn itself around if somehow Marvel could get digital copies of New Avengers into the hands of a million young people. I thought to myself, "But New Avengers is about 'heroes' who act like Seinfeld characters, rarely do anything heroic, and are prone to sitting around and eating pizza while bickering tediously. And it's illustrated by Stuart Immonen, whom I think is great, but whose art would not attract the attention of very many kids." The fact that comics resembling this one wouldn't catch on with kids does not even register in most fans' minds.

    Then you have "all ages" comics, which are supposed to be kids comics. But they're actually like super-nostalgia fests for older readers who feel like being children again. I mean, they honestly think that "New Frontier" or "Thor The Mighty Avenger" would attract many kids? They're retro fests. They look like something from the '60s. Sure, when I was 12 I bought a few issues of Batman Adventures. But at the same time I was buying comics by Jim Lee and Kelley Jones that were TARGETED for my age group. What does the comic industry offer now? Well, you have Tiny Titans, which might be okay for five-year-olds, even though most of its readership is actually 40-year-old men who like to feel like they were five-year-olds again for ten minutes every month. And... after the Marvel Adventures books you basically have no mainstream comics that would appeal to many people under the age of 25.

    Even the event comics. Compare something like Secret Invasion or Flashpoint with something like the Infinity Gauntlet or any of the X-Men events from 20 years ago. The old events were cool, full of action and a wealth of characters. The new events are obsessively about continuity minutiae and stringing the readers along while doing as little as possible until the end. The old events didn't hold back. The old comics didn't hold back. They were passionate, exciting, and let their passion and excitement show. But nowadays you can follow most X-Men comics for six months to a year without seeing more than a handful of the characters actually use their powers. And, I LIKE some of these contemporary comics now, but there's no way a kid would want to read them.

    People wonder why Tony Daniel's Detective Comics sells so well. It's because it's got SOME edgy passion in it that would probably appeal to most male teenagers who happened to see it. I'm not even a big fan of Daniel's work, but I can definitely sense the edgy passion in it.
    Last edited by DarkBeast; 04-28-2012 at 11:39 AM.

  3. #18
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    Excellent and profound comment Darkbeast. I agreed with everything you mentioned up there. Comics, it's definitely a world of wonder.

  4. #19
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    I agree, Darkbeast. The only "recent" mainstream comics that have scratched that itch have been Godland and Savage Dragon (which has been like that since the 90's, after all).

    You can get comics with that "cool" tone in the writing, you can find comics with that tone in the art, But very few titles achieve that sweet balance. Nowadays companies seem to be afraid of making comics more like comics and end up trying to make stuff "cinematic", "serious" or whatever fancy word is hip this month (which is funny, as sales are in the sewer even for the top Marvel titles). They dream of Hollywood and forget about comics themselves. You have "energetic" artists drawing terrible downer books and "energetic" writers working with stiff photo-real artists. When a team does work well together, they're split up after 6 issues.

    The medium is dead. Nobody cares. Last time i checked the top Marvel book was selling 92K. That in itself tells the whole story.
    Last edited by Frankfurt; 04-28-2012 at 04:33 PM.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyDee View Post
    Ok, so McFarlane is Will Carlton? He says he just is having a little fun to make a point. Sorry, but it sounds like he's making a dumb choice to mind f*** everyone so he can have a laugh. Not sure how I feel about this, but it does rub me the wrong way.

    I'll say this: I was reading the book when it was "written" by Todd. When Will came on, I dumped it and haven't read it since.
    I think it was funny. Props to him for coming up with something so hilarious.
    Thank god comic fans are such a tiny little percentage of the audience needed for a successful film because apparently we not only hate fucking everything, we're willing to even pre-hate things...

  6. #21
    Junior Member TheFallen's Avatar
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    McFarlane needs to do a line of highly articulated Spawn Classics action figures (not statues) in the vein of DCUC, Masters of the Universe Classics and Marvel Legends. Back in the day they set the standard for todays collector focused lines and they should go back to what works. I can guarantee that a line of Spawn Classics that were expertly crafted would create a buzz in the toy world that would reverberate in to increased sales for Spawn.

    Ofcourse, retail is dead so they would have to be more like MOTUC and be sold online only, but they don't only have to focus on Spawn characters only, they could use the vast Image library and bring some more recognition to the brand again

  7. #22
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Ya know, I've said a few times that "Todd really has improved since he left Spider-Man" whenever someone said that Todd was an artist who was incapable of writing good dialogue or stories. I also spoke about how great this "Will Carlton" guy was, too. I am ASTOUNDED to learn Todd was actually Carlton! While some of the naysayers are trying to say that "Carlton sucked..." but only AFTER learning it was Todd all along just proves how petty and childish some of us comic fans can be. No wonder the outside world doesn't take us seriously!
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  8. #23
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    Twenty years, huh? I remember when Spawn was the new hotness; McFarlane's art and characters liek Violator looked so awesome back then. I mean they still do look awesome, but from the point of view of an elementary school kid, it looked godlike.
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  9. #24
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    I remember seeing the adds up in the comic store for Spawn and thinking how cool it looked... except we we're kind of iffy on the name. Out of all the original Image books, it was my favorite. Ofcourse Todd was always my favorite artist, too.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxon View Post
    I have very mixed/sad feelings about the whole "going completely digital" thing. I'm all for having both print and non print formats available. But just digital only? From what I'm gathering, it sounds like McFarlane is scrambling to find ways to survive the times, just like everyone else is. It has been 20 years and reading about a guy who lives in an alley, only to fight mostly with his own emotional torment, year after year again, did get kind of dry. I haven't even bothered catching up on the new Spawn guy.

    I mean, I absolutely love Spawn. And I'm currently collecting the old Todd toys because I missed out on so many. But truth be told... I probably wont be following Spawn comics anymore, outside issue 1 - 100. I always felt the story should have ended at 50 while it was still in it's prime, and then given a chance to take a break before coming back for more awesome hell bound action. But it kept dragging instead and it did begin to feel like it was merely trying to reach a numeric goal rather than keeping the integrity of the original story, strong. There were quite a few good tales after issue 50, mind you.

    But I do recall slowly losing interest in it after #50. I love reading stories that have strong continuity. Stories that are actually going somewhere and not just starting out with a bang, only to wonder where the bullet actually went and hit the wall. When I read Sam Kieth's The Maxx, I was so in love with it and was very happy with how it ended. It was a well rounded and captivating story in my opinion. At that point, I remember hoping Sam Kieth would have taken no more than one year off before he returned with a new The Maxx series again. But..with the way Maxx ended..it probably wouldn't have made any sense and should be left well enough alone as a beautiful classic.
    I wish to some extent, Spawn had the same treatment after 50. Because at that point, I remember my buddies and I were feeling like "where is this going?". And not too long ago, I found out Al Simmons was no longer Spawn, but rather another guy. I said, what??? Then, I forgot who told me this but supposedly the real Al and Todd had a mild disagreement somewhere which encouraged Todd to drop the name and character of Al Simmons all together. OH wait! I remember now! I was actually at Todd's store in AZ, the one next to the movie theater. The clerk told me the story about the problem and why Al Simmons was dropped. I thought wow...that sucks.

    You know...honestly... and I mean honestly... I REALLY miss the early 90s. I mean like 91, 92, 93 and 94.
    I remember how confused I was to see not ONE Spawn figure in that AZ based store when I got the down low about Al and Todd. It's a Todd McFarlane store and not ONE Spawn. Not even a Spawn display. It was mostly sports figures and movie/tv related licenses. There were even some Marvel toys up on the shelves! True signs of the times. :(
    But it's understandable I guess. It's kind of hard to keep a character who came from hell in the faces of the mainstream.

    I personally don't think going digital is going to save comics even though it has shown small levels of interest already. I think it's removing the veil of delusions that will be the key to saving at least SOME companies out there.
    In the end, comic books are a product. And products are made to sell.
    But...is it really that difficult for some of these living legends to figure out how to create a product that will catch the masses attention? In this day and age..probably so.
    You know... at time's I would ask myself these "What if" questions and they would keep me in wonder.
    Like...what if Todd would draw his Spawn books, from cover to it's last page, consistently (traditionally, putting all digital toys aside)? What would happen then? Would his fans rejoice and buy every single book in possibly doubles or triples? Speaking only for myself and I say this with utmost truth, I would TOTALLY purchase every new Spawn comic if Todd got back on the reigns and drew his damn book from beginning to end on a monthly basis, but with all his passion in it (with full throttle like when he was drawing Spiderman). After all...that IS why I first got into SPAWN. It was Todd McFarlane. Not Whilce Portacio, not Philip Tan. Not even Greg Capullo (although I wont argue Greg's masterful artwork was very exciting to look at in Spawn pages). It was Todd.

    The same with Liefeld's books. I want to see HIM draw his books. Not someone else. If you're a fan of Todd or Liefeld, is it too much to ask of them to consistently draw their own books and not rely on other talents (regardless of how amazing they are).
    And I don't mean just drawing a few large panels here and there. I mean all out, full throttle, like the way he did it in New Mutants and X-Force even.
    I swear, if these guys were drawing all their books full throttle today, I'd totally sign up for a monthly subscription. The art isn't everything and believe me, I understand that argument. But for me the way the art is presented, tells just how much passion the artist has at first glance, which is a rule of thumb when creating a product you're hoping kids/teens/adults will flip over. And yes, it's a subjective matter but..let's not kid ourselves. How many kids do you know that will drool over a Mike Mignola cover vs an action packed, detailed and just high energy image by one of the Image guys?
    I've actually conducted my own small survey when I went outside the park and rounded up all the kids who were playing soccer, handing them free trading cards and comics. Non of the more "subtle" - "grown up'ish" stuff was picked. They took all my youngbloods, Xmens and Cyberforce comics. lol.. kids today still gravitate towards intense "bad ass" energy.

    Now the question is... how do we develop a product that can attract both young and old at the same time? I would say, draw bad ass art, full of passion, energy, etc. And write a great story. The child within will appreciate the passionate art while the adult would appreciate the depth of the story itself. Kind of like those frosted mini wheats commercials lol...Just my two cents i guess. lol.

    Anyhow, it's great to hear Todd is still pushing away at his creation. My wishful thinking, I'd hope he starts drawing all his books from here on out and bring back Spawn toys on the shelves (spawn TOYS, not static mini statues). But that probably will NEVER happen. Todd's a busy man now. Meetings on top of meetings and a big family to look after. I don't know how he does it. It's incredible.

    I too left SPAWN with the 50th issue but NOT because I lost interest but a personal issue that really struck home. I still won't say what it was but it DID have something to do with the toys, as beautiful as they were and still are. I am now collecting the TRDPBKs which cover #s 50-100 to catch up with what I missed concerning SPAWN's battle with Malebolgia!

    I also find your comments about wanting McFarlane and Liefeld and other cartoonists to draw their own comics. You have indirectly touched on the main reason why newspaper cartoonists never gave bylines to their assistants: they wanted to maintain the illusion that the creators of the strips were still producing all or most of them! If you look at today's comic books, some people follow writers and artists around from book-to-book, well, the great comic strip cartoonists of the past DIDN'T want their fans doing this-- but to ALWAYS follow DICK TRACY or LIL'ABNER--not Frank Frazetta! I'm not saying they were right or wrong I'm just saying I understand their rationale!
    Last edited by LEADER DESSLOK; 04-30-2012 at 06:01 PM. Reason: tweaks
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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEADER DESSLOK View Post
    I too left SPAWN with the 50th issue but NOT because I lost interest but a personal issue that really struck home. I still won't say what it was but it DID have something to do with the toys, as beautiful as they were and still are.
    Let me guess, more than half of them broke when you pulled them out of the package? LOL. Sorry, I have a lot of Spawn toys and much to my dismay, many of them broke here or there. Some straight out of the packages. I stopped buying them when I counted over half my figures were damaged vs non damaged. I agree, they are beautiful looking. Thank the Horsemen for that. I hope you're issue wasn't death related or something to that degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by LEADER DESSLOK View Post
    I am now collecting the TRDPBKs which cover #s 50-100 to catch up with what I missed concerning SPAWN's battle with Malebolgia!
    Issue 100 is what should have been on issue 50 IMHO. It just dragged too long and by the time it happened in 100, it wasn't really as bold as I thought it would be when I first imagined that last battle scenario years before. 100 is a beautifully drawn book, however. It was sad to see Angela go, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by LEADER DESSLOK View Post
    If you look at today's comic books, some people follow writers and artists around from book-to-book, well, the great comic strip cartoonists of the past DIDN'T want their fans doing this-- but to ALWAYS follow DICK TRACY or LIL'ABNER--not Frank Frazetta! I'm not saying they were right or wrong I'm just saying I understand their rationale!
    I never thought about it that way. That's very interesting. In the case of Todd or Rob, for me, it's the combination of their own creation and their own artwork supporting it, that made the package deal for me, right from the start. If Todd got back to drawing Spawn again, I'd buy every issue. I reeallly really would. I'm not just saying it. I'd buy every Youngblood comic if Rob not only drew it, but went above and beyond with it just as he did with some of his old 90s books. But I'm not dogging these guys. So don't get me wrong. I love these guys and respect them very much for managing to achieve so much coolness which is every fan boys dream.
    I understand your thoughts though.

  12. #27

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    Glad to see McFarlane drawing again. LOVE the Spawn Youngblood cover.
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