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Thursday, August 08, 2013 

Image's early output wouldn't make a goldmine for Hollywood

Not all of it, anyway. Todd McFarlane told a PBS panel where he was guesting with Len Wein and Gerry Conway that Hollywood should consider Image's products:
“Spawn” creator and Image Comics president Todd McFarlane had a not-so-subtle message for studios and filmmakers on Wednesday: If you’re seeking comic-book-based source material to turn into movies, hey, take a look at us.

With Warner Bros. controlling DC Comics and Disney now owning Marvel and Lucasfilm, McFarlane noted during a panel promoting “Superheroes: The Never-Ending Battle,” a three-part documentary that PBS will air later this year, “there’s a big vacuum for all the other studios” that an independent entity like Image might help fill.

McFarlane and six other comic creators formed Image in the early 1990s — bolting from Marvel — specifically to provide artists and writers greater control and a larger share of profits from their work. [...]
Not a word in this article about how pathetic most of their early output was in terms of storytelling, and, in Rob Liefeld's case, artwork. And any books they published then that were worth the price of admission were obscured by too much attention lavished on the books that didn't need it. A pity McFarlane left Marvel and DC just to create wretchedly written comics like Spawn, because I did think his early art was pretty good, and certainly a lot more competent than the bulk of Liefeld's work. Hollywood already did make a movie (and animated TV program) out of Spawn, but obviously, any interest since then has long been lost to the winds.

Liefeld might even be embarrassed if anybody adapted his Youngblood into a movie, because there'd always be someone who'd research it, and find out just how bad both the rock bottom artwork and the limp stories are. But I've seen enough of Hollywood's MO to know they can dig up even the poorest comics for the sake of soulless moneymaking, and it's always possible they'd do it just to make a quick buck, even as it does no favors for the comics, and there are people who'd be repelled by Liefeld's worst art.

There are some books from Image that could be worth a try, but they'd have to look carefully, and not fall for Liefeld's junk, or McFarlane's.

The panel also focused on the following:
In a sense, the panel itself highlighted some of the challenges superheroes have faced in their leap to the screen. Some of the questions exhibited scant knowledge of the art form, while others were highly specific and trafficked in easy-to-lampoon minutia — indicative of Wein’s observations that comic-book fans come to movie depictions of beloved heroes with fixed, bordering-on-rigid ideas of what they expect, without allowing for the nuance of shifting to another medium.

“You have to be flexible, and a lot of fans lack that capacity,” he said.
Oh, it's perfectly okay with me. I'm just bothered when the comics publishers start working some of the movie elements back into the comics even if it doesn't work, like when Grant Morrison was writing the X-Men for nearly 3 years, and the costumes were changed to look more like the black leather jackets in the movies. It may not have been as bad as the grossness lurking around, but it was still pretty pointless and unappealing, draining a lot of the color from the book.

Which brings us to a depressing flaw: neither Wein nor Conway seemed to have anything to say about how many famous comics have lost their edge thanks to the worst editors in charge. All so they won't fall out of their favor, obviously, but still very weak and doesn't do the comics fans any favors. Wein even said, “The geeks have inherited the Earth. We’ve won.” That's not really true. They may have won in the movie industry, but back in comics medium, they're losing. Nobody cares about the comics, as evidenced by low sales nobody has the courage to acknowledge, because the publishers don't care about them, won't adapt to different formats that could make it happen.

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They already made a Spawn movie, in 1997. It was a failure. I don't think that would change if they remade the movie. Plus Spawn is lame.


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