Today, Image Comics’ President Todd McFarlane announced his attempt at creating his own multi-character, interconnected comic book universe. His goal is to establish a shared fictional universe over time in the vein of what Marvel and DC Comics have accomplished with their Avengers and Justice League universes. The announcement was made by McFarlane during a first look presentation at the Direct Market Retailers’ annual ComicsPRO Conference.
McFarlane’s own seminal character Spawn, will be at the forefront of the initial launch of new titles. However, his long-term goal is that Spawn will become but one of many characters that will develop in comics and other media around the world. McFarlane will capitalize on the twenty-eight year success of Spawn, the current title of which is a top 5 monthly selling comic on the Diamond Distributors Top 100 Chart.
A recent Spawn figure release on Kickstarter set a new Kickstarter record in its category, raising almost $3.5 million in 30 days. The figure was also awarded the prestigious People’s Choice 2021 Toy of The Year (TOTY) Award by The Toy Association.
As part of his announcement, McFarlane announced four new titles launching in 2021, with three of them continuing as regular monthly titles, meaning fans of the Spawn character and his new expanding world will be able to get stories on a weekly basis.
“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.”
In June, in what McFarlane is calling “2021 the Year of Spawn,” comic retailers will be able to order Spawn’s Universe #1. This book will set the stage with a story that will spill out into the other new titles, the first of which will be released in August and is called King Spawn #1.
The character Spawn will now join the rare company of stalwart characters, like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, that will have multiple monthly books for the same character. It will also mark the first time in twenty-eight years that anyone can buy a monthly issue #1 Spawn book. According to the company’s release, McFarlane hopes to reach a new generation of readers with the new titles.
October will see the second new monthly called Gunslinger Spawn.
Finally, there will be a new #1 team book titled The Scorched, which will band five characters together to fight against forces too big for any of them to take on individually. Spawn, Redeemer, Gunslinger, Medieval Spawn, and She-Spawn begins the group’s adventures. However, McFarlane promises a rotating cast of heroes over the coming months to keep the roster of heroes fresh. He also said that he would be revealing major new villains as part of the new title releases.