Todd McFarlane (born March 16, 1961) is a Canadian comic-book writer and artist, most famous for being co-creator of Spider-Mans villain Venom and being one of the co-founders of Image Comics, where he created the character of Spawn.
He started his career in the mid-80s working for both Marvel and DC. In 1988 he started doing the art for The Amazing Spider-Man, for which he gained immense popularity. The extremely dynamic way in which he drawn Spidey and the overall greater details of his artwork where a big hit with both fans and other artists, and he soon became one of the precursors of the superstar artist era of The '90s.
Of course this fact soon made McFarlane want to have more creative control over his own work. When Marvel failed to provide him with what he wanted, Todd left the company. He and six other former Marvel artists would later found Image Comics out of their desire to publish "creator-owned" content, independent from a central editor.
Outside of comics, Todd is also responsible for the creation of McFarlane Toys, a toy company that focus on producing high-end action figures that were ridiculously detailed and made of better quality materials. This pretty much changed the toy industry, inspiring a host of other companies to produce their own high quality action-figures.
He is currently writing and directing a new Spawn movie, set to be released in 2019.
Todd McFarlane provides examples of:
- '90s Anti-Hero: His company, Image Comics, helped created a lot of these characters. Spawn himself is one of the Trope Codifiers.
- Big Name Fan: Of AKIRA. In fact, it was the anime adaptation directed by Akira's own creator, Katsuhiro Otomo, that inspired Todd to venture into the world of animation and produce the Spawn animated series.
- Executive Meddling: He struggled a lot with this during his time writing for Marvel, and it was his desire to avoid it that led him and other artists to create Image Comics.
- The Merch: McFarlane Toys was created to capitalize on Spawns success by making collectables based on the characters from the comic. It eventually expanded its portfolio, though, producing toys based on other intellectual properties and even based on original designs.
- Signature Style: Some of his signatures include:
- Monsters with their eyes and jaws glowing in the dark.
- Recreating classic comic covers with his own characters.
- In his Marvel days he would often include a hidden Felix the Cat.
- He likes to give characters dynamic action poses; his renditions of Spider-Man revolutionized how the character was drawn when in motion and his influence continues to this day.
- Huge flowing capes that seem to have more layers than possible and move like they have a life of their own. This was first seen when he penciled the last issue of Batman: Year Two, and was a key feature of Spawn's design.
- Start My Own: His reason for co-founding both Image Comics and McFarlane Toys. He found himself on the other end of this trope when a group of his toy sculptors left to form their own company, Four Horsemen Studios.