CBR Videos:

CBR TV @ CCI: Todd McFarlane on DC Comics’ Relaunch, “Spawn,” Robert Kirkman & More

Todd McFarlane stopped by CBR TV’s fabulous floating tiki lounge to discuss the comics industry in general and DC Comics’ relaunch specifically, analyzing the moves the publisher is making and his thoughts on how DC is rolling out 52 new titles.

He also discusses comics sales, digital distribution and how he looks at the increasing level of piracy and what can be done to combat it. McFarlane also lays out the reasons why digital comics should be cheaper than their printed counterparts due to cutting printing costs, physical shipping and more.

McFarlane’s experience with Robert Kirkman is also discussed, explaining how bringing on “The Walking Dead” creator as an Image partner has reinvigorated the publisher as a whole and McFarlane in specific.

Finally the writer/artist discusses the odd drop in monthly “Spawn” sales once the series’ got back on schedules and offers hints on the future of the series.

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  • dooped

    I thought I clicked on a Todd McFarlane interview, and instead I got a stammering idiot for the first 1:15. Thankfully he only went on for just over a minute

  • TomBolton

    Todd is absolutely correct about DC.

  • JoeComics

    Well at least Mcfarlane admitted he doesn’t do comics, he does “Sports toys”. I get what he’s saying. I just don’t think he’s looking at all avenues. You don’t publish comics like you would toys.nnI also think Publishing 5-6 new titles each month would be a little under whelming. Not as much attention to what’s really happening at DC. Because towards the end you’d start to get those C-D list titles being all that’s offered. I do think some of these new titles are going to not last. But some will surprise people too. It’s better to publish 52 titles and have 30-35 succeed then throw out waves and the entire wave fails at once.nnu00a0If DC would gradually phase out titles with new launches. You’d have new unvierse Batman, sitting next to old universe Batman. That or have the family titles in the New universe sitting next to other family titles in the old universe. I think that would be a little confusing to new readers. The idea of DC only publishing 5-6 new titles a month until a year form now when the entire line is introduced. that’s fallacy too.nnThe issue about unbalancing the marketplace, sure it does. In DC’s favor. Everyone knows that a number 1 onu00a0 a title means the beginning, a starting point, no further information needed, all will be explained. That’s going to hurt the other publishers, when they don’t have that. New reader walks in, they will grab a number 1 or a number 211. nnSure picking up the whole line will cost a lot. But that’s where price hunting and picking and choosing what’s interests you the most. Dozens of movies are released each year, I never see all of them. Who does? I Just seeu00a0 the ones that interest me. nnIt’s a bold move I hope it works for DC. nnP.S. McFarlane using phases: “blow their wad”, “dick block”, don’t help add credence to your argument.

    • JoeComics

      I meant, “They will grab a new 1 OVER a number 211″nCBR need an edit button.

    • JoeComics

      I meant, “They will grab a new 1 OVER a number 211″nCBR need an edit button.

    • JoeComics

      I meant, “They will grab a new 1 OVER a number 211″nCBR need an edit button.

    • Omegasaga

      Joe Comics.u00a0u00a0 McFarlane is RIGHT , doenst matter if its a toy or a comic or a line of sneakers… You just DONT overwhelm the public with product all in the same month.u00a0 What happens is people just CANNOT afford this much new product. 50% of the new 52s will fail right out of the gate because of this.nDoenst matter how much media or fan attention it gets.nnHistory has proven this in ALL mediums.u00a0 In comics DC as done major line wide special issues in a single month before.u00a0 Many times before.nZERO HOUR MONTH in 1994.n”FACES” covers in the fall of 1997nONE YR LATER in the spinrg of 2006.nnBTWu00a0 Zero hour/zero month was EXACTLY the same type of relaunch this BS is in september.u00a0

    • Omegasaga

      Joe Comics.u00a0u00a0 McFarlane is RIGHT , doenst matter if its a toy or a comic or a line of sneakers… You just DONT overwhelm the public with product all in the same month.u00a0 What happens is people just CANNOT afford this much new product. 50% of the new 52s will fail right out of the gate because of this.nDoenst matter how much media or fan attention it gets.nnHistory has proven this in ALL mediums.u00a0 In comics DC as done major line wide special issues in a single month before.u00a0 Many times before.nZERO HOUR MONTH in 1994.n”FACES” covers in the fall of 1997nONE YR LATER in the spinrg of 2006.nnBTWu00a0 Zero hour/zero month was EXACTLY the same type of relaunch this BS is in september.u00a0

  • Ptsteelers

    Every year (or at least the last two years) the guest is the one sitting beneath the host. Hey, I get the “Tiki Lounge” aspect, but how about having the star of the interview being the one ‘YOU’ are looking up to and not the other way around.

  • Ptsteelers

    Every year (or at least the last two years) the guest is the one sitting beneath the host. Hey, I get the “Tiki Lounge” aspect, but how about having the star of the interview being the one ‘YOU’ are looking up to and not the other way around.

  • Ptsteelers

    Every year (or at least the last two years) the guest is the one sitting beneath the host. Hey, I get the “Tiki Lounge” aspect, but how about having the star of the interview being the one ‘YOU’ are looking up to and not the other way around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Freddy-Nunez/1015417098 Freddy Nunez

    Todd is the man. He is a one of the very best people in comics.n

    • Gnarlk

      hahaha, right. one of the best complete tools.

      • Foaobd

        I cancelled my Spawn subscription years ago, when I noticed they were nearly a year behind, while Todd was busy making toys and buying baseballs. The only Image title I get since then is Invincible.

        • Billy Bob

          Oh yeah, I’m still waiting for a new all star batman and robin, but i guess since thats late I have to hate Jim Lee.

          • Foaobd

            I didn’t say I hated Todd McFarlane. On the contrary, I have loved some things he did, and hated some others. Don’t read into my post what you assume. And I am also still waiting for a new ASBR, as well as other projects by “All Star” creators that have never materialized. Creators, I might add, from not just DC, but Marvel, Image and Dark Horse as well.nnLessons for the day – learn to read the words without implication, and don’t be a douche on message boards!

  • Johnny D

    If McFarlane knew why it was important to get products out on time, he’d understand that six months of rolling #1s doesnt deliver the same PR lift as 52 #1s at the same time. Um…and it’s ‘roadblock’, not ‘dickwalk’. nnAnd BTW…if McFarlane want the LCS to survive, what price point is he shooting for? A buck? News flash: if you start at the same price point, not only does it help the LCS protect its profits without having to do backflips in accounting, but you have more flexibility in promotions. McFarlane should become educated on how music actually ended up at 99 cents on iTunes, if he wants to avoid becoming a historical footnote.

    • Brian from Canada

      Diamond isn’t Apple. They’re not going to demand that every major and independent publisher sell their items for a flat rate the way iTunes did. iTunes demanded 99 cents, and only Universal walked away when the first contract ended because their artists got screwed royalty-wise by the deal.

      • Omegasaga

        Digital comics should be 99 cents period.nMonthly floppies from Waner Brothers(DC) u00a0& Diseny (MARVEL)should be $1.99 period.nLocal Comic Shops are almost impossible to find even outside NYC.nThe few comic shops that are left are poorly run and focus on gaming or toys.nnThis is why i PIRATE comics from the BIG TWO.u00a0

    • Omegasaga

      Actually you are WRONG.u00a0u00a0u00a0 every retailer can tell you that massiveu00a0 hype spread out over months is better than one month of hype.nnRessurection Man and obscure titles like it -DOES NOT STAND A CHANCE in making it the full yr.nnBut any retailer will tell you that if it was part of 6 #1su00a0 spread out each month for a yr, that it would get higher sales.nnI dont see how any retailer could argue my point.u00a0 nnBTW who cares about outside media …. how many LONG TERM “new” fans will this STUNT bring in?u00a0 VERY VERY FEW.nnMcFarlane is right about creating 5 versions of a single character.u00a0 It hurts the character. This is why DC has NEVER been as stable with their characters VS Marvel who has a solid continuity since the Kirby 60s.u00a0 ( spiderman retecon in 2007 was a DC disaster).

    • thunderthief

      the term is “cockblock”u00a0 not roadblock or dickwalk.. Tod, uses the term correctlyn

  • Blade X

    HOLLY CRAP, I actually agree with Todd about DC.

  • Anonymous

    Todd McFarlane has in more than a few ways lately gotten on my nerves. Largely for the legal stuff he has been rapped up in. However, I have to admit that I 100% agree with him in a lot of what he says here. The big one was the digital download ideas he was putting forth. The idea that a comic that usually costs $2.99 at a store should cost $.99 online. That just makes sense. And it is heartening to hear someone who can actually affect the industry say this rather than just another writer, artist, and or commentator. That is mainly because (and I don’t think I am alone in this) Amazon and Barnes and Noble will sell a hard copy of a book for $14.99 and the digital version at $12.99. Or my personal favorite, when the hard copy is $4 and the digital is still $9.99. Hopefully, a lot of what he says will materialize and get the industry moving in the right direction.u00a0

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_345J7NIPFHPKG2WCF6EOBKIYYM Oleg

      I totally agree with you & Todd about the cost of Digital Comics! For example, I’d rather pay $4.95 (or $5), rather than $14.95 (or $15) for all 5 issues of Arkham City.nnNow doesn’t THAT sound like a great deal for all Batman fans!?

      • Anonymous

        What I think would work for comic book companies is to make an online reading service. You pay $15 to $20 a month for variable levels of access to an online library of comics as they become available.

  • Warcraftkev

    The creator of Spider-Man #1 hates gimmick relaunches and gimmick alt covers?u00a0 Oy.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_345J7NIPFHPKG2WCF6EOBKIYYM Oleg

      LOL!

    • Omegasaga

      That was 21 yrs ago and Marvel corporate who decided to do teh alternat covers.nnWhen SPAWN #1 came out in 1992 at the dawn of the gimmick yrs…. he did ONE cover.nnSay what you will about his arrogance over the years, but Todd has proven that he is a SMART buisness man.

    • Qquiss22

      i think thats marvel comics,he doesnt own spidey or have that much say in the marketing of spider-man.meaning if marvel wanted gimmick covers he cant do anything about it

  • Hgn

    Note to CBR: next year, please don’t have the host sitting so much higher than the guest. Never in my life have I seen such an awkward setting for an interview. What were you thinking?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hartleyholmberg Hartley Holmberg

    I spend a great deal of my income on comics, always have always will.nnI download heaps of comics as well, u00a0often issues that I will buy later that day as I can get em before my store opens that day.nBut more importantly so that I can try the books out I’m unsure of.nAnd pirated books like Crecy for instance have given me exposure opportunities that wouldn’t other wise exist. And as such have sold books that wouldn’t sell other wise.nEven a bunch of the Flashpoint books ended up getting my $$ because of file sharing.u00a0nI’mu00a0definitelyu00a0the minority I get that, but there has to be more out there like me.The biggest problem I see is price point for digital books that people don’t even own.I refuse to pay for something I can’t own, and if the comics industry would get off their ass and start using CBR as the digital format, we’d be further along in digital sales.Because as it is all people are buying is an extended rental

  • Sekaiwa

    As a person who use to pirate a lot of music, I buy all my music now because it’s cheap and easy through itunes. u00a0In college I use to download a tiny bit of comics books as a tip toe into the industry, but when I got a job I spent a year buying comics at a local store. u00a0Now for the past 2 years I’ve been buying online at DCBS because it’s just so much cheaper. u00a0If they made $1.00 digital comics I would be in there.nnSadly that will never happen. u00a0One of the things I’ve rarely seen mentioned is the fact that the print comic book is FILLED with ADS. u00a0It’s definitely true that making it a digital good strips away shipping, printing, and diamond costs but it also means all the ads are gone. u00a0nnThere is definitely a solution there somewhere for ads in digital comics. u00a0People always forget that youtube and google has ads on almost every single page. u00a0But I’ve rarely heard people mention that that is one of the huge reasons why digital comics won’t ever be that cheap. u00a0nnBut keeping them the same price as a real version is just moronic. u00a0Especially since you can’t even buy trades or collections digitally to save money. u00a0You also rarely seen sales of the main marvel and dc comics on the digital platforms. u00a0$.99 sales on iTunes sells so many apps even when they revert back to their original pricing. u00a0$5.00 sales on Steam games sells even when they revert back to their original pricing.u00a0nnJust some thoughts…

  • Anonymous

    He talks so much sense when it comes to Digital, and I can see his point of view about DC even if its too early to say.nnAnother thing people don’t seem to mention is that millions of people the world over live in towns where there simply are no direct market shops, digital would open up a whole new audience just in terms of logistics…

    • Foaobd

      I live in a town with no LCS presence, and long ago resorted to ordering my comics online. Free shipping on orders over $85.00 (cumulative, not monthly), and 35% off cover price. So even though digital is a good option in bringing in new readers, it really wouldn’t make sense for me, as it would actually increase the amount I spend monthly, unless the issues were discounted like the hard copies.

    • Foaobd

      I live in a town with no LCS presence, and long ago resorted to ordering my comics online. Free shipping on orders over $85.00 (cumulative, not monthly), and 35% off cover price. So even though digital is a good option in bringing in new readers, it really wouldn’t make sense for me, as it would actually increase the amount I spend monthly, unless the issues were discounted like the hard copies.

  • Anonymous

    He talks so much sense when it comes to Digital, and I can see his point of view about DC even if its too early to say.nnAnother thing people don’t seem to mention is that millions of people the world over live in towns where there simply are no direct market shops, digital would open up a whole new audience just in terms of logistics…

  • Anonymous

    He talks so much sense when it comes to Digital, and I can see his point of view about DC even if its too early to say.nnAnother thing people don’t seem to mention is that millions of people the world over live in towns where there simply are no direct market shops, digital would open up a whole new audience just in terms of logistics…

  • Outside_85

    Think he is absolutely correct about DC’s marketing of this whole thing, it will spike then fade down to the level it used to have (having added some new readers and lost some old readers who dont like it). nAlso, yes the greatest thing DC is doing atm is releasing the digital comic the same day its released in print and it willu00a0affectu00a0the piracy problem, because people want to jump into the debates on the internet the moment they appear, not six months after it stopped being interesting. (Like us Europeans have to wait a number of weeks for most movies and gamesu00a0to cross the Atlantic.)u00a0

  • Spawnomite

    What a has-been douche!

  • Alex

    I’ve loved stuff from way back during his Amazing days. He’s a totally unique artist. Nobody draws like him. However, I am very excited about DC’s relaunch. I’ve been wanting an excuse to buy some DC for some timeu00a0 now. Marvel’s stuff over the past half decade or so has mainly been declining in quality. I don’t think I need to cite any big examples here. DC has been more writing and character oriented. Like Marvel used to be. nnI don’t care about digital downloads. I don’t want to see yet another thing on a screen.

  • Omegasaga

    Foru00a0decades i hated Mc Farlane for his overated comic sucess and the arrogance that came with it.u00a0u00a0 BUT now that i am apporaching 40, I can understand him more as a creator & buisnessman.u00a0 He virtualy IS the ultimate sucess story in terms of comic book creators……. creat an enduring charactrer that can have multi meduim sucess for decades.nnHe is 1000% dead on about the buisness aspect of what DC is about to do.u00a0 I too hope it explodeds in DCs face.u00a0u00a0 Any retailer or nerd who has been buying comics for at least a decade can tell you this is all hype that will fade almost instantly.nnIts going to hurt comic shops the most.nBTWu00a0 Local Comic shops are on their way out.. Its literaly a countdown now before its ALL digital.u00a0u00a0 You cant fight the future.

  • Omegasaga

    Foru00a0decades i hated Mc Farlane for his overated comic sucess and the arrogance that came with it.u00a0u00a0 BUT now that i am apporaching 40, I can understand him more as a creator & buisnessman.u00a0 He virtualy IS the ultimate sucess story in terms of comic book creators……. creat an enduring charactrer that can have multi meduim sucess for decades.nnHe is 1000% dead on about the buisness aspect of what DC is about to do.u00a0 I too hope it explodeds in DCs face.u00a0u00a0 Any retailer or nerd who has been buying comics for at least a decade can tell you this is all hype that will fade almost instantly.nnIts going to hurt comic shops the most.nBTWu00a0 Local Comic shops are on their way out.. Its literaly a countdown now before its ALL digital.u00a0u00a0 You cant fight the future.

  • Lead_sharp

    I really can see his point, maybe it is too much all at once.n

  • Sadfran

    is it me or Todd looks like George W?!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QCNGWNRTB6TMKK57C2DB5N3FCY Lance Drew

    spawn! yes another comic character brings back to life. i hope it would have a tv series that i can tune in. if so i will surely watch every episode of it. as of now i will be browsing over online tv tvhod in search of a channel that has this kind of theme! i sure miss watching hero shows.

  • Kryptonite No More

    Speaking of “comics being accessible”, I bought my first comic book (Batman & The Outsiders #1, Vol. 1) at a grocery store when it first came out. u00a0In fact I had bought the first six issues from that grocery store.nnWhen is the last time you’ve seen more than 3 copies of recent issues of any comic book in a grocery store magazine rack?

  • Rags Morales

    With all due respect to Todd, he’s completely off base here. I can see why he (and others) feel like it’s a gimmick. Hell, it seems like everything in comics since the 90′s has been all about limited runs, variants, and the constant bait and switch. Yeah we’d like to make money at this, and the more the merrier. But the FACT that it all comes out at once proves it’s not the gimmick he thinks it is. This is it folks. We’re starting over and in the end, once Todd’s “gimmick” is over, the books will be from the new point of view.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T32GLZJIC2DHHOLPLSHAK3JCXA Michael M

    Everything said in this interview is spot-on.

  • Guest316

    In some ways I agree with Todd on the relaunch, and in some ways I do not. Why I dont -u00a0nnAs said, relaunching a few a month wouldnt gain the same media spotlight as doing a complete company makeover.nnAs also mentioned, it would be a logistical nightmare, either you cancel all books and release 6 for the first month, which couldnt never happen, or you phase the old verse out and basically saying ‘ok guys this is the new superman but the old batman, the old batman will be here in a month’ or other examples such as that. If theyre going to be bold to remake their whole line, it needs to be done at the same time.nnWhy I do agree with him -u00a0nnIf I walk in to my comic store the first month and have a limited amount of money, and I see Action Comics, Batman, Justice League and Batman & Robin (that would be the order I would want to purchase them in) thats used up my money, I then wont be able to get interested in other issue 1′s further down my list, Wonder Woman because I think Azzarello is an incredible writer, or Nightwing because he is my favourite character, I would then come back the next month and even if I could afford an issue of Nightwing, I might not be able to afford two.nnBasically, a more spread out plan would help prevent a backlog. Imagine if I were unable to afford comics for 2-3 months, and I walked in to a comic store, there would then be 156 issues (not counting any more no.1′s launching) staring me in the face. Whereas I could go in ‘oh Action is on issue 4, I might wait for trade on that, but Nightwing is only on issue 2′