Grant Morrison Plans For Todd McFarlane's Spawn Before Dropping Them

Back in 2014, Bleeding Cool ran the story that Grant Morrison was to return to write for Todd McFarlane's Spawn comic book after a previously rather lucrative three-issue run in the book's second year, twenty years previously. We reported "We've been told by industry sources that legendary world-respected comics author Grant Morrison, as well as having a project with Boom!, will be announcing [their] return to a comic [they] once wrote three issues of, Spawn. Of late, the comic created by Todd McFarlane has had rather a creative renaissance, with McFarlane stepping up the writing chops and artist Szymon Kudranski blowing everyone away. But it has still remained rather under-the-radar. It's likely that Grant Morrison returning to the title may just change that. If it's true, that is. We find out in a few hours…"

Instead it was announced that Brian Wood would be writing the book, Spawn Resurrected and then the ongoing series, with artist Jonboy Meyers. Later, I was told by one very senior source that a number of artists had been approached to draw Spawn and sold on the idea that it would be written by Morrison. And at New York Comic Con, one of the Image partners accosted me to ask how I'd found out about Morrison, as they were aware that the phone call accepting the gig had occurred merely hours before.

Grant Morrison's Plans For Todd McFarlane's Spawn
Todd McFarlane's Spawn

And now, on their most recent Xanaduum Substack, they have confirmed much of that, saying "Todd McFarlane asked me to do an overhaul on Spawn and I did give it a go. I'd planned to have Spawn defeat both Heaven and Hell to give the book a break from what seemed to me the confining and claustrophobic background mythology of angels and devils. My basic approach was, what would Spawn do when he got exactly what he wanted? I had worked in a lot of the reading I was doing on Nihilism and Pessimist philosophy to keep the doomed, soldier of the Abyss flavour. There was a 'season arc' mission that sent Spawn around the world for a bunch of different kinds of stories designed to yield new costumes, toys and settings. I had big new villains. As I progressed, I began to realise with a capsizing heart that the basic premise held scant appeal. The churchy framework of the Spawn universe felt stuffy, depressing and limiting. I respected Todd's creation and understood the appeal of the character but felt I couldn't express that worldview with any real conviction. Perhaps more relevant, I was doing more TV work at the time and that seemed a whole lot more rewarding creatively. In the end, I didn't think I could do Spawn justice and finally had to admit that to McFarlane after a few decent attempts to crack it. So yes, I came up with a new direction and approach but couldn't get into it at all. My three-part Spawn story from 1993 pretty much says everything I think I ever had to say about the character. I quite like that one."

Only took eight years to get the full story! Less time than it took to get their Doctor Who plans!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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