EXCLUSIVE: Todd McFarlane to Write and Draw in Spawn #301

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane will return to the drawing board for the record-breaking Spawn #301. McFarlane will write and draw a story in the issue, which ships in September. Speaking to ComicBook.com, McFarlane reveals that this will be a special return for this issue only, so fans shouldn’t miss out.

“I'm taking over 301, not necessarily coming back for 30 issues in a row,” McFarlane said over the phone. “Me drawing 301, was that part of the grand plan? Absolutely. To me, in my brain, I know if I can only draw one issue, it has to be the record setter. Maybe I'm just too close to it and emotionally attached to it, but 301 has more significance to me than 300. 300 is a great comic book number, but 301 to me is sort of the emotional moment of saying, ‘I'm still driving this car. I'm still here.’ I go, ‘Yeah who could I get that would be perfect to make 301?’ Especially now when you have people paying attention to it. I go, ‘There's only one dude,’ so I had to have a talk with, oh, ‘Todd, get your act together, it's time to do it.’”

With issue #301, Spawn will surpass Dave Sim’s Cerebus to become to longest-running creator-owned comic book series ever. As McFarlane mentioned, there are a lot of eyes on the record-setting issue, which brings a lot of pressure, especially from The Walking Dead creator and Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman.

Spawn 301 McFarlane
(Photo: Tod McFarlane, Image Comics)

“I've gotten a text already from Robert Kirkman just going, ‘You better not be late on this one, Todd,’” McFarlane reveals. “So, he sends me a text that has an image of one of my lazy pages and one of my good pages, and he goes, ‘It's gonna look like this.’ I think it's because he just winds up buying all this original artwork for the issue. So I think he's just a little self-serving. Just like he wants his fans to have a good book, I guess he wants the pages to be worth the money he might have to spend on them.”

McFarlane hints that retailers may want to order Spawn #301 in plentiful numbers. The milestone Spawn #300 -- which will also feature some of McFarlane's pencils -- will end on a cliffhanger that will be resolved in McFarlane’s own follow-up story.

“One of the things, when I did the retailer summit talking about 300, I didn’t get to touch upon if it leads into 301...I didn't get to say the one thing that mattered, which is 300 ends in a cliffhanger,” McFarlane says. “Basically, whoever reads 300, I've gotta assume, if you're a geek you want to know how it ends. You have to go into 301, which is the record setter, and get what the end of that story is...It's hard for me to imagine somebody's gonna go, ‘No, I'm good with the cliffhanger, I don't need to know what comes next. That was it.’ 300 and 301 to me were always joined at the hip, then they artistically, storywise in terms of the history — one's tying it, one's breaking it — I didn't want each one to have its own stand-alone story, I wanted them to be sort of attached.”

Spawn 301 Francesco Mattina
(Photo: Francesco Mattina, Image Comics)

Once the cliffhanger is resolved, Spawn #301 will feature a time jump that reveals a new status quo for the titular antihero. “When I say the story ends from 300, it doesn't take the entire issue,” McFarlane explains. “What we'll do is we'll put a bit of a period on it and then all of a sudden we'll advance time and we'll be moving forward, and then we'll see his new mission. We'll see some new characters, we'll see what's the cause and effect of basically that storyline, and what kind of dominoes have been tipped and are now gonna be tumbling for the next 20, 30 issues.”

Are you excited to see new Todd McFarlane artwork in Spawn #301? Let us know what you think in the comments! Solicitation text for the issue follows.

Spawn #301
WRITER: TODD McFarlane
ARTISTS: TODD McFarlane, GREG CAPULLO, JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER, CLAYTON CRAIN, JEROME OPEÑA
COVER A: TODD McFarlane
COVER B: GREG CAPULLO
COVER C: GREG CAPULLO (virgin)
COVER D: JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER
COVER E: CLAYTON CRAIN
COVER F: JEROME OPEÑA
COVER G: FRANCESCO MATTINA (virgin)
COVER H: TODD McFARLANE (#301 parody)
COVER I: TODD McFARLANE (BW COVER & INTERIORS)
COVER J: TODD McFARLANE (virgin) 1:25 Retailer Incentive

SEPT 25 / 48 PAGES / FC / T+ / $4.99

TODD McFARLANE RETURNS to pencil and ink SPAWN #301!

JOIN HISTORY!!! JOIN THE CELEBRATION!!! As SPAWN #300’s EPIC STORY CONTINUES!

New-reader friendly!

And a fresh new direction for long-time readers!

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SPAWN #301 is a record-breaking MILESTONE as McFarlane’s anti-hero becomes the longest running CREATOR-OWNED comic book in history!

Joining Todd are top comic book talent, Greg Capullo, and fan-favorites Jason Shawn Alexander, Clayton Crain, Jerome Opeña and Francesco Mattina. With more surprises to COME!!!