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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 

Todd McFarlane has Spawn-ed politics into his comic

I'd like to think that he's going to be fair, or that he'd have what it takes not to take a sugarcoated approach to the Obama administration now that it's been reelected, but there's at least a few things in this interview about his turn to politics in the pages of Spawn that make that wishful thinking:
Politics and entertainment don't always mix, but Todd McFarlane thinks he's found a way to incorporate them in the pages of "Spawn." Months ago when "Spawn" #225 by McFarlane and longtime artist Szymon Kudranksi was solicited, readers noted that there were two versions of the "Watchmen" #1 homage cover, one with "Romney Wins" on the top and another with "Obama Wins." The original plan was to have two versions of the Image comic drop the day after the election, but some production issues got in the way.

Spoilers follow for "Spawn" #225. The issue, which came out this week, finds longtime Spawn adversary Jason Wynn explaining to Jim Downing, the man currently inside the ectoplasmic suit from hell that, years ago, the two of them put a plan in motion that would decide the 2012 presidential election, which took place on Tuesday, November 6. With President Obama's re-election, the final piece of their puzzle is in place and their plans will start to come to fruition, plans that will play out in the coming issues.

With the issue on stands and the idea of the President -- or more accurately his people -- involved in some supervillian-level dealings, CBR News spoke with McFarlane for details about the book's two week delay, if things would have been different if Mitt Romney had won and why it was the perfect time to tie "Spawn" into real world political events.
Granted, he may be willing to write a story that doesn't shy from depicting some of the lower ranking staff of the Obama administration as corrupt, but, it still sounds like the kind of story that otherwise won't depict a leftist president in a negative light. And if Romney had won, I get the feeling that in sharp contrast, there's every chance McFarlane would have been much more willing to depict a rightist president negatively.
How will President Obama's re-election change how "Spawn" rolls out this year into next and how would it have been different if Romney won?

I didn't want to get too into the politics in the book, per se. I'm Canadian and I don't vote, but I'm a political junkie. I feel like I'm in the middle and just watch both warriors battle each other, so I know way more about this than I should as the Canadian kid. The way it would have mattered if Romney had gone on is that both sides have agendas that are important to them in terms of moving America forward and we would have played on some of those riffs differently if the other party had done it. If I got to a line about policy, I would have made it specific to that party whether it was the GOP or the Democrats.

Moving forward it would be a lot easier for them to say, "We did this and this and gave them this on Obamacare." Now I've got something big that's more important to the Democrats and Obama. I would have substituted in something else if it had been Romney. I had to be a little flexible.

You work on these plot details months and months in advance, was it difficult planning the next few issues after #225 without knowing who the winner of the election would be?

Not really. Like I said, I don't expect people to be as involved in politics as I am in terms of caring about it. It's going to be more peripheral stuff. Just to be clear, it's not going to be Obama and/or Romney were going to be corrupt, it's more going to be the people who are climbers who work for them who are willing to corrupt themselves to keep their guy in power. It's like that movie "The Ides of March" with Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. What will you do to keep your power when keeping your power means keeping the guy you're advocating for to stay in power? In other words, if Romney is in power and he employs me, I want to keep him in power so I stay employed. This isn't about caring about the boss's agenda per se, but about personally wanting to keep my power. At the end of the day, I think a lot of people are concerned about wants and needs and you can exploit that, just ask General Petraeus. There is a moment of human weakness that someone can exploit and say, "Ha, we've got the goods on you, now what? You have to come clean or you have to quit because we've got photos." At some point you say you're doing this for the betterment of your country, but then you want it to end the best way for you personally.
He may be trying to sound fair, but after all the dopey assaults on Bush for all the wrong reasons in the past decade, I have hard time buying that he wouldn't be willing to depict Romney even remotely in a bad light. In fact, what he says about keeping somebody like Romney in power because the man or woman in the government only cares about his/her job sounds like he may have hinted where he stands, and he's implying that he thinks conservatives only care about jobs and not the electorate. Some comics writers do try to pretend they're being balanced, but in the end, they can let the mask slip and give away how they're really just cynical leftists.

Even if McFarlane's story does depict some lower ranking government workers as crooks, something tells me it won't try to argue that the Democrat leadership is in any ways bad, in contrast to a story about Republicans where it's more likely he would be willing to do that, and that's why this isn't likely to be any more interesting than much of the rest of this series ever was.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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