todd mcfarlane: c/d

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my friend: blah blah blah venom blah blah todd mcfarlane
me: i don't like todd mcfarlane, i never liked his drawing, all the cirque-du-soleil poses and the big stupid eyes
my friend: what?! i've never met anyone before who didn't like todd mcfarlane!!

so... i wanna know what ILC thinks.

todd mcfarlane...



s1ocki (slutsky), Sunday, 16 October 2005 06:07 (eighteen years ago) link

He kind of revolutionised mainstream comic art, not necessarily for the better as I think the more famous he got the worse his storytelling skills got*, but for first-time visual impact if you compare his spiderman issues to most of the rest of what Marvel was publishing there's no contest. I think it helped that he emerged at a time when there was a lot of quite pedestrian art around. Before the Image artists came along the idea of the big thrilling pin-up shot was nowhere near so strong in US comics and they definitely popularised it, the idea that the art could break away from simply being in service to the story.

He came along and got famous just when I was stopping reading comics for a while so I never really 'felt' his stuff, I liked his Hulk work before that but it seemed to me that he was like a stiffer and less gorgeous Art Adams.

*(In fact in the 1990s "storytelling" became this codeword used and emphasised by fans who didn't like Image, even though critically it's really hard to define.)

Tom (Groke), Sunday, 16 October 2005 08:53 (eighteen years ago) link

i don't think i've ever read a todd mcfarlane comic! there's an old comics journal interview with him where he comes off as almost cartoonishly nasty, shallow, calculating and money-obsessed. he was probably being facetious at least some of the time, but the part where he insisted that he never read anyone else's comics seemed all too sincere.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Sunday, 16 October 2005 08:53 (eighteen years ago) link

well i never read his spiderman stuff, but his spawn stuff was energetic but lousy.... any human character looked awful, but he was good at setting the mood

dave k, Sunday, 16 October 2005 10:47 (eighteen years ago) link

When he was on (Amazing?) Spider-Man, I was probably at just the right age to enjoy his intricate over-rendering and hilariously busy webbing. But by my mid-teens and him getting the Adjectiveless Spider-Man, the life had begun to seep out of his compositions, and his own writing was not only awkward and clunky in terms of prose, it did his art no favours in terms of giving him anything to do story-telling (ha) wise.

By Spawn, he still had a certain amount of flair in terms of cape design, but was otherwise almost entirely moribund. And of course, from that point on a massive DUD in respect of his venal hypocrisy and massive abuse of fellow cartoonists and employees. Larry Marder: whither?

kit brash (kit brash), Sunday, 16 October 2005 11:52 (eighteen years ago) link

C when you're 14, D when you grow up.

There's a rather touching portrait of the young McFarlane in the annotations of 'Latter Days' in which Sim presents him as an honest, enthuisastic, guileless kid who can't believe his luck.

chap who would dare to violate the least amount of laws of physics (chap), Sunday, 16 October 2005 14:13 (eighteen years ago) link

Someone on this board once refered to Spawn as 'cape porn'. I thought that was pretty funny.

chap who would dare to violate the least amount of laws of physics (chap), Sunday, 16 October 2005 14:35 (eighteen years ago) link

i guess probably one of the main reasons i started this topic was because for all his seeming importance in the '90s he's barely mentioned here so i was curious as to just how he stood in relation to COMIX TODAY (and how he's been viewed in hindsight)

s1ocki (slutsky), Sunday, 16 October 2005 17:05 (eighteen years ago) link

(and also cuz i rented the ultimate spiderman game last night and the spidey design seemed very mcfarlane-inspired so i got thinking of him)

s1ocki (slutsky), Sunday, 16 October 2005 17:06 (eighteen years ago) link

ooh is that game fun?
ps todd mcf = classic for spawn movie and accompanying fake me out judgement night sndtrk

adam (adam), Sunday, 16 October 2005 19:00 (eighteen years ago) link

He did one Batman cover that I really liked when it came out.
I sorta like his Infinity Inc. stuff at the time, but totally didn't understand the appeal when he became Spider-Todd, and seemingly just devolved into what felt like a parody of himself.

Huk-L (Huk-L), Sunday, 16 October 2005 19:13 (eighteen years ago) link

The Spawn movie is one of the most unpleasantly cynical films ever made.

chap who would dare to violate the least amount of laws of physics (chap), Sunday, 16 October 2005 19:20 (eighteen years ago) link

The special effects in "Hell" look straight out of a first-generation CD-ROM game.

adam (adam), Sunday, 16 October 2005 19:36 (eighteen years ago) link

i guess probably one of the main reasons i started this topic was because for all his seeming importance in the '90s he's barely mentioned here

Would I be too wrong if I rephrased that sentence and say "he's barely mentioned ANYWhere"? I mean, the last five years have seen Spawn going from being a highlight of the mainstream to something closer to a lurker.

I'd say he had great ideas for augmenting Spidey's visual impact and, graphically, the character was never the same after him. Then again, for all his great ideas in the design department, he became very limited in the plain-comic-book-artist department.

iodine (iodine), Sunday, 16 October 2005 20:45 (eighteen years ago) link

(plain-comic-book-artist = everything that's outside of design ideas, in McFarlane's case)

iodine (iodine), Sunday, 16 October 2005 20:51 (eighteen years ago) link

I've just seen the ad for that Spidey game on TV, and it looks most like Romita Jr's version to me.

chap who would dare to violate the least amount of laws of physics (chap), Sunday, 16 October 2005 21:08 (eighteen years ago) link

His company makes good action figures. I don't have much time for his comics.

William Paper Scissors (Rock Hardy), Sunday, 16 October 2005 21:10 (eighteen years ago) link

Chap OTM about C when your'e 14, D when you grow up.

For such a popular - he was THE Big Gun for a while when he hopped off Amazing and onto his own Spidey title - artist his stuff was remarkeably weird. Especially on Amazing, when he was inking himself. His characters are all caricatures, bulbous-nosed, long-chinned, either spindly or ball-like, his inking is a hideous mess of lines that somehow works and looks alright. His re-imagining of how Spiderman could look was interesting, though.
He did one great cover - that Hulk cover with the Hulk reflected in Wolverine's claws. Again, I thought that was amazing as a 14 year old.
But once he became a businessman, he seemed to stop trying and his art got worse. From interviews I've read with him, apart from seeming to be an asshole, he seems to have never really loved comics.

His writing is terrible. Those issues of Spawn written by Gaiman, Sim etc - while undoubtedly hack-work - make his stuff seem like the adolescent rubbish it is.

David N (David N.), Sunday, 16 October 2005 23:24 (eighteen years ago) link

ooh is that game fun?

it was pretty good!! my chums & i rented that, ultimate hulk and the new katamari... spidey was enjoyable and kind of interesting in that they don't really make web-swinging as easy as pie... there seemed to be a bit of a learning curve. but god the voices got annoying fast!

hulk on the other hand was pretty wild! totally destructible city--knock over skyscrapers, throw trucks at helicopters, jump on everything... HULK SMASH!

s1ocki (slutsky), Monday, 17 October 2005 01:11 (eighteen years ago) link

When was the last time McFarlane drew an entire comic? It must be over a decade now. That would explain most of it, really. He's put all his energy into the far more lucrative toy industry. The dude's always been about making money and blowing loads of it on lame baseball memorobilia.

Matthew C Perpetua (inca), Monday, 17 October 2005 10:37 (eighteen years ago) link

The Image Comics 10th Anniversary hardcover has not yet appeared, 13 years after Image started, because of having to wait for McFarlane's story.

kit brash (kit brash), Monday, 17 October 2005 10:45 (eighteen years ago) link

Hmm, the H@rl@n Ell1son of comics? A lot of flash, occasional talent, desperately interested in what everybody thinks of him, unable to get the big projects out the door?

William Paper Scissors (Rock Hardy), Monday, 17 October 2005 11:11 (eighteen years ago) link

And what would those big projects be, apart from Miracleman?

iodine (iodine), Monday, 17 October 2005 11:53 (eighteen years ago) link

Suing for the rights to Miracleman? And grapping legally w/ hockey goons? And learning how to drawr feet?

David R. (popshots75`), Monday, 17 October 2005 11:55 (eighteen years ago) link

An artist's ability to draw feet seems to have quite a correlation with how they're percieved by the ILC massive.

chap who would dare to violate the least amount of laws of physics (chap), Monday, 17 October 2005 12:10 (eighteen years ago) link


feet (Austin, Still), Monday, 17 October 2005 12:15 (eighteen years ago) link

Seriously, it's really only an issue to me as a symptom of a more general disregard for anatomy, especially the boring (ie: non-tit) parts. It's very weird and distracting for me to look at drawings where everything is deeply and meticulously rendered on the thorax, and even sometimes the legs, but the feet resemble a pair of pancakes. It's even more weird and distracting when compositions are consistently and awkwardly constructed to avoid showing feet at all.

Austin Still (Austin, Still), Monday, 17 October 2005 12:45 (eighteen years ago) link

All D, all ages, all the time. Responsible for one of the most ugly, boring, hackworthy, quick-buck grabbing phases in comics history. End.

Great on Hulk, though. Shame he had to start writing.

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Monday, 17 October 2005 21:25 (eighteen years ago) link

His character designs are amazing and I really, really liked the backstory/vision behind Spawn. There was a fifth person involved with Image, yes? (Liefeld, Lee, McFarlane, Silvestri, ???) I always thought that McFarlane was the best splash artist of the Image bunch (though with Lee and Silvestri in there, not by much).

The Ghost of Black Elegance (Dan Perry), Monday, 17 October 2005 21:33 (eighteen years ago) link

Ha, I was thinking of Jim Valentino! I forgot about Erik Larsen, oops.

The Ghost of Black Elegance (Dan Perry), Monday, 17 October 2005 21:44 (eighteen years ago) link

I just got back from my pub quiz, and one of the questions was "What comic character is former US goverment mercenary Al Simmons better known as?" We won by one question! First time my supreme geekiness has reaped actual financial reward.

chap who would dare to violate the least amount of laws of physics (chap), Monday, 17 October 2005 22:34 (eighteen years ago) link

You forgot Whilce Portacio too, Dan.

kit brash (kit brash), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 05:42 (eighteen years ago) link

Clamps obnoxious little ex-pat brother.

droid, Tuesday, 18 October 2005 09:02 (eighteen years ago) link

I think everyone's forgotten Whilce Portacio by now!

The Ghost of Black Elegance (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 11:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Tom's point abt 'storytelling' is well made and spot on. Although i've always found McFarlane's drawings to be hideously ugly, his comics are not especially difficult to follow - even if they were, what's wrong w/ a little visual overload/sensualism at the expense of narrative clarity - it never did Dario Argento any harm!

Ward Fowler (Ward Fowler), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 11:44 (eighteen years ago) link

I've never been interested in reading his Image stuff but when he was on X-Men I was kind of in love with Mark Silvestri's art.

The Ghost of Black Elegance (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 12:36 (eighteen years ago) link

fourteen years pass...
total grampa energy off todd these days

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 9 April 2020 16:12 (four years ago) link

£614,862 pledged of £80,668

what the fuck

force ghost bg (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 9 April 2020 16:21 (four years ago) link

Spawn Head Possibilities will be my new username.

(If i we’re into such things, I imagine I would find that “remastered” figure to be pretty cool)

morrisp, Thursday, 9 April 2020 17:49 (four years ago) link

now at 1.8 million after two weeks. everyone's priorities totally straight, yes?

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 22 April 2020 18:48 (four years ago) link

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