Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane, two of the original “Image Seven” that changed the course of independent comics forever, are joining forces to take Spawn to a whole new level of awesomeness! I have so much respect and admiration for what the Image 7 created with independent comics in 1992. Spawn and Savage Dragon being two of the original series with Image and each breaking the #250 landmarks. It is fantastic to see these two founding fathers working together, that it brings such joy to this 80/90’s comic book fan. It was fun to see Whilce (Portacio) do his run on Spawn, so now I’m even more pumped to see the Larsen touch with his epic “George Perez” type double-page character panels. Erik promises to do what he does best and that is create an array of new characters to push Al Simmons to points unseen before. What has Spawn been missing from its repertoire as of late? A new batch of enemies to fight, along with the classic old “rogues gallery” as Erik puts it.
Todd McFarlane will also be co-piloting this run with Larsen, as not only the writer, but also doing plenty of inks for the first time over Erik’s classic style artwork in a full book. It’s a perfect marriage that works spectacularly on paper when all is put together. That is one thing we will highlight as well, is the very slick process of how both men are blending their styles together to do things with Spawn not seen since Capullo’s days on the title. Check out our slide show of Erik’s and Todd’s phenomenal work on the current run of Spawn from Image Comics starting with next issue #258! Just keep note that these are not even the final looks to these 80% done pages. You’ll see why that is.
Do not worry Savage Dragon fans. Erik Larsen is still going to be continuing his epic long-standing run on his creator owned series as well. Erik plans on still doing his on average 10 issue a year for Savage Dragon. Is the Savage Dragon going to crossover with Spawn? How long Erik will be on Spawn? I didn’t ask about a crossover because that seems inevitable and Larsen has said “This will most likely not be the last time” he and Todd would be working together. As far as duration, as long as the good time last, I’m guessing. No definitive word has been given to plans after at least this 5 issue run. BUT…..Erik did drop a hint that there is more to come after Spawn takes on Satan himself in the Spawn; Satan Saga Wars!
Enjoy our Spawn and Erik Larsen spotlight fellow comic book fans!
PopCultHQ interview with Erik Larsen:
PopCultHQ: OK. Here we go again with Erik following Todd, just kidding! Old Spider-Man reference. How excited are you to be working with Todd on his book?
Erik Larsen: “Yeah–following Todd again. This is like my fourth time doing that–first Hulk then twice with Spidey. But whatever–we’re old friends. It happens.”
PopCultHQ: I gotta know whose idea was it to have Savage Dragon in Spawn issue #52? You or Todd? It seemed, sort of, out of left field?
Erik Larsen: “I think I pushed to do a crossover with Dragon but it was something we had talked about wanting to do early on. I’m kind of surprised it didn’t happen earlier.”
PopCultHQ: I fell this is taking Spawn back to true comic book roots with both of you working on the title. How much “old school” comic book feel is coming back to Spawn or is it just going to be balls out, all new style for both of you?
Erik Larsen: “It’s not old school in any sense of how I think of the word. It’s not like we’re doing a nostalgia act or anything. The first arc is co-plotted with Todd pretty heavily but once I’m more in the driver’s seat the plan is to pick up the pace more and start introducing a lot of new villains and reestablish some old ones. I’d like Spawn to have a solid 20-25 villains which can be put into use. A hero is only as good as his rogues gallery, so that’s a priority. That, and giving Al more of an actual life. I don’t want to see him hanging out in alleys anymore. That’s been played out. I’d like to see him get an expanded group of supporting characters–bring back some favorites and add some new ones. I’m here to try and build a better book–a better Spawn. On anything I do–that’s the goal, really, to make the book stronger and add to it.”
PopCultHQ: Those are the very words Neal Adams told me how he views himself in the industry when he gets on a new book. The fact rogues is heavily centric to the new Spawn makes me so excited, you are absolutely correct about what makes a hero is his rogues!
PopCultHQ: Finally, is this a total collaboration in story, or is Todd heavy directing the plot?
Erik Larsen: “Initially, it’s Todd giving me a very bare bones “get from point A to point B” instructions. His first plot was a paragraph and I had to flesh it out. It was very vague but it gave me the starting and stopping point. Following that it was a phone conversation with Todd, followed by me shooting Todd an outline and Todd sending back notes. After the Satan Saga it’ll be more me. I’ll be giving Todd a paragraph or two which he can comment on and then I’ll write and draw the story. Todd will essentially act as editor/co-inker at that point.”
That is why most of the artwork done by Erik is only 80% finished pencils and light inks. Todd, will be adding his magic to the rest of the finishes to give it that very gnarly dark comic book feel that is not so essentially relying on grittiness. Just purely exhilarating comic book artwork!
Erik Larsen: “Todd told me, “Don’t have any finished pages yet. Everything is at about 80%.” He’s not actually finished with any of those pages yet.”
Erik Larsen posted on his social media; “What I’m delivering to Todd–are pages inked simply which he can monkey with or leave be. I imagine my level of detail and amount of blacks will vary as time goes on. The idea is to put down a decent foundation to build on–NOT to deliver fully inked and rendered pages like what I do on Savage Dragon. I’m not sure how it will inevitably look as Todd can jump in at any stage.
PopCultHQ: I sincerely appreciate this so much Mr. Larsen for taking the time out of your very busy schedule. Thank you so much Sir.
Erik Larsen: *Thumbs Up*
Be sure to jump on the Larsen and McFarlane run starting with issue #258 and Spawn; Satan Saga Wars beginning in issue #259
Story By: Todd McFarlane
Art By: Todd McFarlane
Art By: Erik Larsen
Covers By: Todd McFarlane
Covers By: Erik Larsen
Variant Covers By: Gerardo Sandoval (Pencils)
Variant Covers By: Todd Mcfarlane (Inks)
BEGINNING ”THE SATAN SAGA WARS!”—THE FOUR-PART STORY CHRONICLING THE FINAL FATE OF WANDA SIMMONS’ SOUL! THIS STORY WILL FOREVER CHANGE THE WAY SPAWN WILL LIVE HIS LIFE! In the entire run of the SPAWN comic, our hero has never had to face his greatest threat: Satan himself! Starting with this issue, Al Simmons will come face to face with Lucifer for the very first time. A battle of epic proportion will begin and the prize is… Wanda’s soul. This story will forever change the way Spawn will live his life. Join us on this historic odyssey as Spawn takes on the Evil entity that gave him his powers way back in issue #1.