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Haunted by Comics: Todd McFarlane on Miracleman

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In the last part of our interview with comic’s legend Todd McFarlane, he discusses the highly controversial topic of Miracleman, what his goals might have been and what he hopes will finally happen for fans everywhere.

Part One: Haunted by Comics: Todd McFarlane on Haunt
Part Two: Haunted by Comics: Todd McFarlane on Spawn
Part Three: Haunted by Comics: Todd McFarlane on Image United

BROKEN FRONTIER: Finally, I'd be remiss not to bring up another topic with you.  I remember waiting with baited breath for months and months after seeing an Ashley Wood drawing of Miracleman that I'm really just curious as to what your plans were for the character…

TODD MCFARLANE: As you might imagine, that character has been a much talked about topic of conversation, even involved to some degree in the lawsuit with myself and Neil.  It's a curious topic.  I can't profess to have all the answers on it, so again I'd be sort of foolish to speak out of school. 

Obviously Marvel believes they have certain rights to it. I know that I and my lawyers believe we have certain rights.  The question is just what can we do to settle it and when can we settle it.  One way would be for someone to just give up and say it's not worth it. 

The other way would be to sit down and have a meaningful conversation like gentlemen, to find a way so that everyone can win.  Not necessarily so either party can win, but for the comic community to win. To figure out a way to get this character back out there and not be a pain in the ass to the point where people have to look over their shoulder. 

I don't know… we'll see where it all sort of ends up.  It'll either be much ado about nothing or it'll be a hell of a book someday – the behind the scenes novel of it.  "The True Story of Miracleman.  Starring Matt Damon!" [laughs]  But we'll find out how all that goes.  I'm as curious as you are.

BF: There are so many things with the lawsuit where there are questions that can't be discussed and impossible to answer.  You were able to fit in the Man of Miracles for the Image 10th Anniversary book.  Do you plan on bringing him back and using him?  Have you had to push him off to the side?

TM:
Here's what happens that makes it tough.  Every party involved has a position that they feel they are entitled to with the character.  That would include Marvel, Neil, it and myself.  I think the prudent thing would be to see if there can't be an adult conversation to be had instead of rubbing people's noses in it. 

So, for me to say I've got my Miracleman miniseries coming out the same time as yours, that would just be instigating something that might not be necessary. 

Like I said, my whole hope is to just get together and have a real conversation about it.  It might not necessarily solve everything, but just for everyone to state what they believe is their right and what they want to see and to see if there is any common ground anywhere in there and then move on from there.

BF: Well I would really hope so, because as much as I would love to see Neil finish his arc, I would love to see that Ashley Wood Miracleman that was supposed to come out back when.

TM:
I agree it would be really cool, but I think that at this point everyone simply wants to see Miracleman done by someone who has the legal rights to get it out in the marketplace.  It's always been a real curious topic amongst the fans and even amongst the lawyers because this is a complicated ball here.  I'm sure if anything dramatic happens it'll become public record or Marvel and Neil will make an announcement.

BF: There's no way you're going to divulge what that planned story was is there?

TM:
For Miracleman?  No.  Because I don't know what the final outcome is going to be, so really I'd just be teasing everyone a bit before I find out what is actually going to happen. [laughs] If it does end up going in that direction for any reason, then I've basically spoiled it.

BF: Ok. Well, in any case, you’re back onto comics now.

TM:
Absolutely. I'm enjoying my stay back and I hope to continue to do as much, if not more depending on the opportunities that are out there.  I'm not coming in to say "I'm back." Just so I can walk away from it.  That isn't to say if they said "Hey Todd, you have to start the movie tomorrow"  that it wouldn't put a crimp on the deadlines, but I would do everything to get back onto them as soon as possible. 

Or, like I said, I'm just naive enough to believe I can do both at least to some degree.  I guess we'll find out.  At least to my knowledge, no one has ever tried to direct a movie and produce comics at the same time.  Maybe I'll be the first guy: I'll have a day job and a night job if you will.

BF: Seems like your wife won't get any time from you when that happens.

TM:
Unfortunately, at that point I'll be on the road so I'll be away from home anyway.  I'll be on set making movie, isolated from my loved ones, but if I get an extra hour here or there I can sneak in some covers or something else at least.

BF: Well, all of fandom is surely excited about having you back. It was a strange time just waiting around to see if and when you'd ever show us something again.

TM:
I know the one thing that's frustrating a lot of people was the wish that I would go back to be the original Todd that they knew.  The old pencil and inking Todd, who’d just go back and do his Spider-Man or whatever book I’d might want, just for seeing me do a regular book again. 

I want to be realistic about that and not tell people I'll do it and make a promise I can't hold up my end on.  For now, it's been almost a full year of me inking over Spawn without skipping a beat and taking over the writing.  And I know they're saying, “That's all fine and dandy, but when are you gonna draw?  I want you to draw!” 

I get that and I'll see if I can't find some opportunities for that.  I know I'm doing a big chunk of Spawn #200 and even some pages leading up to #200.  I’m dipping my toes into it, getting the juices flowing again, so let’s see where that goes.

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