And here was me thinking the Image Comics universe was a shared universe. Humph, shows what I know as we get news that Image Comics’ President Todd McFarlane announced his attempt at creating his own shared comic book universe. And with over 300 issues of Spawn and a countless cast of supporting characters to dig into, I’m surprised he’s left it this long.
McFarlane made this announcement during a first look presentation at the Direct Market Retailers at the Annual ComicsPRO Conference.
What that means in practice is an expansion of the Spawn line, similar to what DC Comics and Marvel have done with their big hitters like Batman or the X-Men over the past few decades. Why expand with variety, who you can create the illusion of choice, right? Although, Image Comics sis still the place to be for variety, I must add.
For McFarlane, one imagines, it’s a no-brainer with Spawn having seen sales increase between 150 to 600% from pre-pandemic orders.
“The Spawn title currently is a top five monthly selling title on the Diamond Distributors Top 100 Chart. Recently, a new release of a Spawn figure on Kickstarter set a new Kickstarter record, in its category, for raising just under $3.5 million in 30 days. That figure was also recently awarded the prestigious People’s Choice 2021 Toy Of The Year (TOTY) by The Toy Association, Inc”.
On the comic book front McFarlane announced four new titles coming out in 2021, with three of them aimed as ongoing monthly titles, giving Spawn fans a weekly dose of the “Spawniverse.”
Here’s more form the man himself, Todd McFarlane:
“The simple question is this: DC Comics started a shared universe in the late 1930s. Marvel Comics began theirs in the early 1960s… so, can lightning strike a third time beginning in 2021? I personally do not have the answer to that question right now, but the only way to get an answer to that question is to make the attempt in the first place.
“This is a long-intended plan that will need the help of dozens and dozens of creators to help create hundreds and hundreds of characters. And then to reward those creators if any of their ideas pay off in a big way outside of the comic industry. The quest isn’t to have our ideas exclusively live in the comic book industry but to have merit and value outside of that industry as well. My character Spawn has been an example of what can happen with creation… so, what are the possibilities if hundreds of creations are brought together? Marvel and DC Comics have shown us that a collective group of characters, together, in a shared universe can resonate globally. I think it is time for David to attempt to join the same arena as the Goliaths of the world.”
The big roll out will start in June with Spawn’s Universe #1 which will act as a launch pad for the four new titles. Titles such as King Spawn #1 coming in August.
Following that will be October’s Gunslinger Spawn #1. This title character has been a huge hit among the fanbase the past year and each of his appearances has garnered enthusiasm at the stores and online.
Finally, there will be The Scorched#1. A team book featuring Spawn, Redeemer, Gunslinger, Medieval Spawn and She-Spawn. But McFarlane promises a rotating cast of heroes over the coming months to keep the roster of heroes fresh. He also said that he will be bringing in new major villains into the fold, too.
To lend a creative hand on some of this expanding list of titles, McFarlane has recruited. An all-star list of comic book creators such as Art Adams, Jason Shawn Alexander, Carlo Barberi, Brett Booth, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Capullo, Donny Cates, Jim Cheung, Mike del Mundo, Javier Fernandez, David Finch, Jonathan Glapion, Kevin Keane, Aleš Kot, Puppeteer Lee, Sean Lewis, Sean Gordon Murphy, Ben Oliver, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqueira, Marc Silvestri, Marcio Takara, and Frank Quitely, as well as others he will be announcing in the coming months.
Now THAT’s how you launch an all-new line of titles all tied to the same universe. It’s certainly a statement fo intent by on elf comicdom’s greatest showmen.
All that and a new movie of Spawn (currently in development with BlumHouse Studios) and McFarlane’s must be grinning from ear to ear. With so much talent, and a clearly thought out set of new titles, it’s looking like a very exciting year for Spawn, McFarlane and fans alike!