It’s become a truism that one of the ways that the internet has changed the comic book industry across the past 20 years has been to make it easier for fans to tell creators and publishers what they think. According to Todd McFarlane, that might not necessarily be a good thing.
During his appearance on this week’s Enter the Popverse, the Spawn creator told host Ashley V. Robinson that, in his experience, there’s no need for a discourse between creators/publishers and fans.
“People vote with their dollars. You don’t need to read people’s comments and stuff like that,” McFarlane argued. “You just do your thing, and people are either going to endorse it or they’re not going to endorse it, right? If you get into the trap of worrying about what individuals say… you need too many individuals to make it succeed, so you’re never going to please everybody [and] just going to drive yourself into a corner. So I just do my stuff, I flash it up onscreen, and you have two choices: if you like it, you might want to go and purchase it, and if you don’t like it, don’t purchase it. Done.”
He continued, “Everything in between those two options, I am disinterested in. I’m not interested in why you didn’t buy it, and to some extent, I’m equally disinterested in why you did buy it, because I’m not looking for your approval. Like, you say you bought my last issue? Thank you! Like, I’m very thankful that you bought it, but I don’t need to know the reasons for it. Those are yours, those are personal, whatever. All’s I can can do is make a product, finish it, and offer it up for sale. And that’s it! I don’t redo it, I don’t go back and edit it dependent on the comments, you know? That’s what I’m selling, this book, with that cover. Those are the people that are working on it, and here’s the characters that are in it. Done. I’m not negotiating with the fanbase on any level.”
It might be counterintuitive to some, but there’s something to be said for the auteur approach — and Spawn’s continued sales success three decades after his debut backs up McFarlane’s argument to no small degree…
Watch the complete Enter the Popverse interview on YouTube, or clicking the embed below.
Previously on Enter the Popverse, Tom King has talked about Wonder Woman being the “hardest mainstream character I’ve ever had to write”.