Todd McFarlane has still never completely closed the door on the idea of Spawn crossing over with Spider-Man, Venom, or other Big Two characters.
During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Venom co-creator said that as an artist, he would love to tackle familiar franchise characters at Marvel and DC again -- but it is not always that simple since he also has responsibilities to Image Comics.
“Every time there is a new editor at Marvel they phone, 'Oh, hey Todd. We’d like to do a cover,'” McFarlane said.“And it’s like, 'Yes,' says Todd the artist. Comma. The problem is that I’m also the President of Image Comics. Which is, besides being the third biggest comic book company is also the direct competitor to Marvel and DC. So, I can’t in good conscience do that. Since we started Image in 1992 I haven’t drawn a page for either Marvel or DC. I’m the only one of the founders of Image that can say that, but I just can’t as a President of one company do it for a direct competitor. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
The way around that would be to cross over with Spawn -- something that Marvel has never done, although DC has.
“Now, if you are asking me if you could do Spawn/Venom, okay,” McFarlane said. “That’s a different story now. That’s different than saying 'Could we do a Venom cover?' So could I do Spawn/Batman? We did. So could I do Spawn/Spider-Man? Of course. Could we do Spawn/Venom? It’d be cool. But to just do those characters singular and me give them the artwork, I can’t. I can’t cross that road.”
Besides not having drawn for the Big Two in the years since Image was founded, McFarlane has, generally, drawn significantly less than some of his Image Comics co-founders. While Erik Larsen has drawn almost 250 issues of Savage Dragon during that time, and Jim Lee spent much of the last 25 years drawing ongoing books at DC and WildStorm, McFarlane began outsourcing the ongoing pencilling of Spawn pretty early, serving as an inker, cover artist, and company executive.
In the event of a Spawn/Venom crossover, or something like it, both publishers would likely benefit greatly from having a high-profile project drawn entirely by McFarlane.
The hangup? Marvel seems philosophically opposed to crossovers at this stage.
Senior editors at Marvel have said, in response to fan questions about potential DC crossovers in the recent past, that the math just does not seem to work these days the way it did in the '90s when the audience was significantly bigger for monthly superhero comics. So while fans might want to see Spawn/Spider-Man, and Spider-editors might be dying to work with McFarlane, there are some logistical barriers that would have to be overcome to make any of it a reality.