Todd McFarlane has apparently run out of ideas when it comes to comic books. That’s surprising, since he’s really only had one or two ideas throughout his career thus far.
Image Comics announced a few months ago that McFarlane was going to return to comics storytelling with a new title, penned by Image partner/savior Robert Kirkman. McFarlane’s return to comic art is a significant development. After his meteoric rise at Marvel in the late 1908s/early 1990s, his style and popularity influenced comic art (and especially art on Spider-Man comics) for years to come, and he became the first of a new breed of rock-star-like comic-book creator. He and his fellow Image Comics founders brought creator ownership and profitability together in a way that no others have.
McFarlane’s actual involvement in comics storytelling — especially when it comes to artwork — has waned over the years, and these days, he’s really more of a toy tycoon than a comics creator. As such, McFarlane’s decision to illustrate a comic book again after so many years merits attention and presents Image with a legitimate marketing opportunity. McFarlane fans were no doubt eagerly anticipating what he had in store for them this summer. Unfortunately, it seems they’re getting this:
The above image was released through Comic Book Resources this week, and the site promises more preview art in the coming weeks. Best known for his work on Spider-Man and Spawn, it seems McFarlane’s out to prove he’s a two-trick pony, and now he’s just mashed those two tricks together.
Haunt will no doubt pull in some strong sales numbers, certainly by Image Comics standards, but not like McFarlane’s past efforts, I would imagine. The industry’s a different beast now, and I’m guessing his fans are going to see the limited nature of the artist repertoire.
Todd McFarlane is about to relaunch himself as a comic artist, but it’s really time for him to reinvent himself instead.