The World vs Todd McFarlane: Part One

The World vs Todd McFarlane

Part One: Todd McFarlane's Early Years
Before delving into the many trials of Todd McFarlane, it’s worth looking at a quick overview of his early career. Much of what McFarlane would do, and how he would act, was dictated by the views he formed in the earlier part of his career. McFarlane appeared to be an overnight sensation, but the reality, like most careers, is far from the truth.
“I attended Spokane Falls Community College starting in, I think, the beginning of 1980, spent about a year and a half there and then transferred over to Eastern Washington University and stayed there until graduation in 1984. Graduation about May of '84, started working for Marvel Comics, sort of a subdivision called Epic Comics, had a short stint, probably for four or five months; and then from there jumped over to DC.” (McFarlane Deposition, 1 March 2006)
His early days, pencilling Coyote (Epic Comics, a Marvel Comics imprint) and Infinity Inc (DC Comics) allowed him ti…

The World vs Todd McFarlane


Each generation of comic books seems to throw up at least one person who manages to polarise the entire medium. Be it Stan Lee, John Byrne, Frank Miller, Jim Shooter, Alan Moore, Jim Steranko, Neal Adams or, these days, Ethan Van Sciver, creators have often been either loved or hated by the masses for any number of reasons. They’re either looked upon as credit stealing hogs (Lee and, to a lesser extent, Shooter), having controversial opinions that go against popular views (Byrne and Van Sciver) or just plain nuts (Miller). It’s rare that a creator comes along who gains the respect from the entire industry, even the seemingly untouchable greats, including Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, have their critics.
When it comes to dividing an entire industry, there’s one artist who stands above all others.
Todd Dean Mark McFarlane.
There are those who consider Todd McFarlane to be the most exciting artist to emerge from the post-Watchmen­ era. Equally there are those who con…

Stan Lee: 1922-2018

I had intended to start a new series today, detailing a certain period in recent comic book history, but the news that came in this morning came as a bolt from the blue. I always thought Stan was immortal, now he truly is. Gone, just a month a couple of weeks shy of his 96th birthday. That's an AMAZING life in anyone's books.
Stan Lee, may you rest in peace. And thanks for all the goodness over the decades.

Wally Wood's Will!

Another of those great documents that you rarely, if ever, get to see. Here we have the last will and testament of the late, great Wallace Allan 'Wally' Wood. Drafted just over a year before he shot himself in his apartment in November, 1981, the will is very simple and to the point. But then, by the time Wally drafted this, there wasn't a lot to leave behind, only debts and art really.
And the art was the source of legal action between J David Spurlock, representing Wallace Wood Properties, who sued Wood's ex-wife, Tatjana Wood, for art that had been returned to her by Marvel, DC and other companies after Wood's death. The legal fight wasn't pretty, but a suitable solution was finally negotiated. 
Still, not a good thing really, fighting over the remains of an artist. But these things happen.

Remembering Norm Breyfogle

Norm Breyfogle was more than just a comic book artist to me. He was a friend. A very close friend, and one whose friendship I cherished above others.
I first met Norm back in early 2003 when I approached him for an interview for my now defunct Adelaide Comics and Books web-site. Norm instantly agreed and the arrangements were made for a phone call. Our first call lasted for hours as we spoke about many topics, and even talked about his career. It set the tone. I remember that week very well, we spoke on the phone every night for five days, just talking about stuff. We found we loved debunking conspiracy theories and shared our favourite theories, discovering that we had one in common which involved the moon landings and the Hubble telescope. He was tickled that I’d managed to upset David Ickie (long story, but funny) who he felt was a crank anyway. We loved the same stuff, we loved the same artists, writers and books, the same concepts in life. Films, music and opinions, it was rare th…

Norm Breyfogle: 1960 - 2018

It's now common knowledge that Norm Breyfogle passed away on Monday, 24 September. His passing leaves a large void in the comic book world, and the outpouring of genuine grief and sorrow would have amazed him. But he'd have been quietly happy with it all.
Right now his funeral details haven't been locked down, but you can send a message of tribute via the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home.
On a personal level, this loss is devastating for me. Norm was like a brother to me, and I'm not saying that lightly. Right now my emotions are all over the place, but I will write down my own personal tribute Norm very soon.

From The Vaults: Roy Thomas 1965

Another gem from the vaults, this time a little article about Roy Thomas from fifty three years ago. This one comes from the St Louis Post Dispatch, which was Roy's local newspaper, and is dated Monday, May 17 1966.

The article covers Roy's involvement in the fanzine, Alter Ego, while he was teaching English Literature at Fox High School in Arnold, Missouri. Roy had just taken over the publishing of the magazine from the legendary Dr Jerry Bails, and was running with it. Of interest is that, in the last paragraph, there's mention of an offer that Roy had just received an offer to become an editor for a comic book company. That company was none other than DC Comics. One month later Roy had visited, been hired by Mort Weisinger, quit and was working for Marvel Comics.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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