Todd McFarlane made a big announcement earlier this year when he confirmed that he was expanding the world of Spawn with brand new comics, turning the ongoing solo series into "Spawn's Universe." The collection of comics will have three solo titles and one team book when they're all said and done, and McFarlane says it's an idea he's had for years and something he should have done a long time ago. Speaking in an interview that appears in the back pages of this week's Spawn #318, McFarlane says the idea of an expanded universe was something they kicked around in the first year of Image Comics but reaching Spawn #300 was the catalyst he needed to try it for real.
"I should have done something like this years ago," McFarlane said. "In 1992, the original founders (of Image) all talked about possibly sharing our characters in some bigger playground. That never came to be, but I never stopped wanting to see some kind of universe put together. But as time passed and a couple of the original founders left Image Comics, it became apparent that all of us getting together wasn’t going to happen. So, I tucked the idea away in the back of my brain talking about it off and on over the years. Then once I was nearing issue #300 of the SPAWN comic, I thought it might make a perfect catalyst to actually put something together. So, this is what I am calling the Spawn Universe (which will get a name change down the line so it will be a more encompassing of a brand not centered exclusively around Spawn-type characters)."
Spawn's Universe #1 will kick everything off in June, setting up each of the new titles and bringing a whole new roster of writers and artists into the fold. The one shot will begin the stories that will unfold in King Spawn, a new ongoing featuring the main hero; The Scorched, a team-up book of characters from the universe (with a rotating roster according to McFarlane); and Gunslinger Spawn, a spin-off of the western themed Hellspawn character.
In the same interview, Todd opened up about why Gunslinger Spawn was the right character to lead their own series in Spawn's Universe.
"First off, he just looks cool," Todd, ever the poet, said. "Comics are a visual medium (unlike novels) so the look of a character can play a huge part in why some readers respond to any hero or villain. Obviously, Gunslinger with his tall hat and bullet straps and his long trench coat, all give off a pretty tough guy vibe. Then add in that he is capable of defending himself with an assortment of guns and weapons and you have the making of a classic “loner” type character that many fans seem to be attracted to. And I think that his popularity is only going to grow bigger as readers see more pages about him and his past. And just wait until they get to see what Brett Booth and Kevin Keane are doing with him artistically. He has the potential to be a huge breakout character. That’s why he will be getting his own monthly title soon (coming in October)."
Spawn's Universe #1 launches on June 30th.