Twitching for a Return
Posted by Todd McFarlane on Feb 26, 2010
Todd drops by again to talk about bringing Sam & Twitch back to comics, but first takes a little razzing about his choices of Olympic Action figures.
McFarlane’s Mark is produced by Sam Moyerman and Frederik Hautain.
BROKEN FRONTIER: First things first, I do have to do a little razzing of you, as I see that you recently released Olympic Hockey action figures in Canada of the Team Canada hockey team. You’ve been in the States long enough; didn’t you want to support the winning team (Team USA)?
TODD MCFARLANE: Awww. You had to go there. [Laughs]
BF: Well, I have to get that in now because by the next time we speak you might be able to throw it back in my face since that was just the opening round.
MCFARLANE: [Laughs] I heard that the ratings in Canada were the highest rated of any television show ever broadcast in Canada. THAT’S how fanatical we are; a non-medal game with our arch rival set a record just like the Super Bowl did. That’s how addicted we are to the sport, our Super Bowl was a non-medal game of Olympic hockey.
BF: Well, we’ll both have to get into the Gold Medal match and set all-new records.
MCFARLANE: What are you talking about? They said that 2/3rds of Canada watched the opening round game; EVERYONE in Canada would be watching that Gold Medal game.
BF: And they screwed us here in the States, I’m not sure if you got to watch it in Arizona, but they didn’t even put it on NBC. I turned on the TV and it was showing Ice Dancing!
MCFARLANE: I found it on MSNBC.
BF: I know, we had to go searching around for the game!
MCFARLANE: They were killing me with that. It wasn’t even in High-Def.
BF: Agreed, I hate watching anything that’s not in High-Def.
MCFARLANE: And this is hockey! Hockey is built for High-Def! But we will see what happens. It’s going to be a harder draw for us now because of that loss and we now have to go through the Russians who people were talking about us playing in the Finals. And now we’re playing them in the first round so we’ve got our work cut out for us.
[editor’s note – after this interview took place Team Canada defeated Team Russia 7-3 in the Olympic quarterfinals]
BF: I wouldn’t put it past your guys to get there. And speaking of comebacks of a sort, that brings us to our next comic topic, that of the recently announced new Sam & Twitch mini-series.
Is that something where you were trying to build the Spawn cast back up into their own books with the landmark issue #200 coming up? Was it something that came about through them in the current storyline? Or was it a situation where someone presented an idea to you about doing a Sam & Twitch book?
MCFARLANE: We’ve actually been working on this one for a long time but didn’t want to announce it until we were pretty far ahead on the schedule and had a few issues in the can. This is an artist-writing tandem from Italy, so it was a few European dudes who came in and wanted to do their take on the characters. So it has more of a European flair in terms of the look and color of the book, if you’ve seen some of the graphic novels that come out of Europe. Sometimes it’s nice to get some new perspectives on the characters.
And with these characters we recently ran Sam & Twitch around Hollywood for a tv series. NBC took a look at the pilot idea we put forth and showed some interest under the banner of me producing. But unlike Robert with his Walking Dead series we didn’t make the final cut. When you deal with the big studies sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and hope someone likes it. I still believe we can take it to one of the cable networks and see if someone jumps on board there, but I always thought they were viable characters on their own without the Spawn mythos.
BF: One of the things about the original Sam & Twitch series was that it was set in the Spawn universe but never really interacted with Spawn right?
MCFARLANE: There was always a little bit of a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” to it at the beginning. I think in one of the early Bendis issues, there was a silhouette of Spawn up on one of the buildings somewhere to show that we weren’t going to completely ignore it, but tonally, the later storylines by Marc Andreyko was a little more fantastic.
The original run was more urban and told stories that were as close to real as possible given the fact that these two intellectual characters still come from a fantastical background. Basically the stories were, “What do Sam & Twitch do when they’re not out there chasing Spawn?” That obviously wasn’t their whole occupation; these guys are cops. So I wanted to show that cop side of them.
BF: And is that what this new series is going to be about? Focusing on their urban cop setting without getting into the fantastical?
MCFARLANE: Yup, way more of that than anything else. So if you’re in love with Spawn and you can’t get enough of Spawn you might read this and think “Where’s all the cool stuff?” But if you’re more into the Spawn Universe as a whole and like the characters you’ll think this is cool because it’s Sam & Twitch in their element. Or if you’re a little bit older and have gotten out of superhero comics and are looking for something different, then this is something that you will enjoy. It’s more that than anything else.
I’m always asking the question, “Where do comic book readers go when they get tired of spandex?” I felt they leave us for another medium and buy other products. This is an attempt to get them into different kinds of comics with storylines that work and appeal to them. Robert Kirkman has really tapped into this vein with his Walking Dead series. My guess is that there are a lot of people out there who read Walking Dead and don’t read any superhero books.
BF: I know a lot of those from my store that are like that.
MCFARLANE: Exactly, because that’s what appeals to them. Some of those people, if they were to pick up another book it would be along the lines of something semi-realistic; they certainly wouldn’t be picking up any superhero book. They’re looking for that side product. And a Sam & Twitch comic is something that is viable that falls right into that type of book.
BF: You mentioned Brian Bendis being involved with the original Sam & Twitch, and you ended up launching a pretty prolific creative team with him and Alex Maleev. Any thought that this new creative team will become something special like them? That they’ll stick around for more work and become something that American readers will get to know and can identify with?
MCFARLANE: Well, we are just starting them off on a mini-series to see how things go and gauge what people want. I don’t know that this group is capable of going through a monthly comic book grind, which is why it took so long to get it out. I told them to take their time and get it done right and that we’d put it out when they get there.
But, would I like to have 50 new issues of Sam & Twitch? Absolutely. If you look at what Bendis and I did on the first run then what Andreyko did with his second run and put it all together, we’re getting close to 50 issues already. At some point someone might come around and see that we’ve got almost 100 issues of these characters called Sam & Twitch that are kind of special.
Part of it, in wanting to keep these characters alive, and we’ve spoken about this before, is that when we get around to doing the Spawn movie and Spawn animation, Sam & Twitch are a part of that. Or at least this very urban setting and real characters are a part of the idea I have in my head. So this is just an extension of that. This way, if people like the book, I can point out that when I ever get the movie and/or animation going again, it will be a lot closer to Sam & Twitch than a bunch of spandex guys.
See, I always get the standard question of who will be the villain in this Spawn movie if I ever get to do it and it seems to really throw people for a loop when I tell them there isn’t one. There’s only 1 thing out of the ordinary in the movies that I loved growing up: there's only one Dracula, only one werewolf, everything else was real.
There was no real arch enemy there, no super villain – that’s all comic book stuff we add in. We convert the comic book vernacular to these other media and force it in there. When they started adding more monsters to those movies and having them fight each other that’s when they lost me. I didn’t need two of them since it made them not unique anymore.
Sam & Twitch: The Writer hits bi-weekly starting on May 12. The four-issue mini is written by Luca Blengino, with art by Luca Erbetta and Fabio Bono.
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