In the early 1990s, Todd McFarlane was the hottest artist working at Marvel Comics. He worked on the long-running Amazing Spider-Man title, catapulting it to massive success. After a while, a new Spider-Man title was created and sold on McFarlane’s name (and new status as writer/artist). That first issue sold somewhere around 2-3 million copies. Which seems ridiculous, especially by today’s standards, where the most successful Marvel Comics sell about 100k. But apparently that is the amount the title sold.
After that, he left Marvel altogether, taking 5 or 6 other “hot” artists with him to create a new company – Image Comics. Would readers go with the superstar writer/artists on new characters, or stick with the characters Spider-Man, The Hulk and X-Men at Marvel?
Well, for a time, Image was a sales phenomenon. McFarlane’s own Spawn was another million-seller, the other books were big hits too, and the DC / Marvel domination of the US industry was substantially cracked.
Personally, I never liked McFarlane’s style. Before he did Spider-Man, he drew The Hulk, and I didn’t like him on there. His rise to comics superstardom was a mystery to me.
So, why am I devoting time to the guy?
This is all a mere preamble to an interview I’d recommend you give a listen. In 1992, at the height of McFarlane’s success, Gary Groth spoke with him. They are living in different worlds, and it’s a fabulous meeting of minds.
Check it out here.