June 9, 2023
A BITESIZE CHAT WITH
Todd McFarlane created Venom, so who better to talk to about the character's evolution to the big screen? He also gives an update on his much awaited Spawn project.
BB: First off, I just want to say I really love the work that you've done. Venom is one of my favorite villains…well, anti-heroes now…and Spawn is pretty awesome as well. You have a really cool art style.
TM: Well, I appreciate it. I appreciate you being around for all those years. It’s been a long time.
BB: What’s it been like just seeing Venom kind of evolve from a villain to an anti-hero, with it seeming like he's going to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
TM: I think any character worth, sort of their salt, has to evolve over time because, otherwise, you’re just getting into repetition. I don’t think that’s a recipe that works other than Sunday comic book strips.The Venom that David [Michelinie] and I created in, you know, 30 years ago or more, isn’t quite the same Venom today. That, actually to me, is a good sign that people have been adding and subtracting to the mythology of him. Good, bad, or indifferent, everybody can have their point of view of all those pieces. But if you stagnate in anything, that’s not going to work. The magic that Marvel and Sony have accomplished is having a character last 30+ years and make him relevant 30 years later, and even more so, make him relevant to people across an entire planet. That, like what I just said, is very simple…the ABC that I just gave you. But now you start trying to count the number of people that have accomplished that in the creation of humanity, it’s not an easy task. Venom is working on a global level, and however they got there, to me, it was the right recipe because they got there. I don’t look at Venom, and when I'm looking at him go “Hey, how much McFarlane did they keep in there?” That’s not relevant to me. If you’re asking me personally “did you like this, did you like that?”, I’ll give you my personal opinion, but in terms of just looking at Venom, seeing he’s now a global character…shoot, that’s the Holy Grail from a creator’s point of view, to get to that point with any character.
BB: Makes total sense. He’s now just as recognizable as Spider-Man.
BB: Now, I’ve seen several articles and a lot of movement on the internet where people are considering these Venom movies almost as romantic comedies. How does that sit with you?
TM: I think that, what’s interesting about there being so many superhero movies, is that…it’s sort of like saying I play video games, right? Once you say it, it’s just a category now. Within the category of video games and movies, you now have this wide range of stories you can tell, literally from G movies to … heavy R-rated movies. So there’s no reason why the stories for superheroes can’t be the same, and I think we’ve seen that. Every superhero movie moving forward should not have to necessarily fall into PG-13. Some can be PG, some can be R, and some can be somewhere in between all that. And I think we’re going to see those. So I think Venom is a good example of that. He’s far from being a boy scout, right?
TM: No one’s going to argue with that. He’s not Superman. Superman always does the right thing, all the time. He’s always sort of perfect, almost. Now you’ve got this super flawed character, and still we can root for him and, at times, maybe even root for him because he isn’t so perfect. So Venom’s here and he's different than Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man himself. I think it’s a good thing because it gives options to people who like superhero movies. “Oh, I like romantic, you know, humorous sort of movies. Maybe Venom, Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy are more to my liking.” If I want more serious stuff, then maybe I’ll go watch Joker, Batman, and [Logan], right? So, there's now a range of stories that are there, and I don’t think that they all have to be the same. So, if you think that Venom should be more serious… okay, then it might not be your cup of tea. But there are other superhero movies that are way more serious, so go to those.
BB: Totally fair. Now, I know you’ve been working on trying to bring Spawn to life again with another film adaptation. I was just wondering if you can give any update on the status of that. I know you wrote a script and hired someone to kind of punch it up. Are you still moving forward with that?
TM: Yeah, we’re full steam ahead on that right now. Just had two calls last week on it. Everyone in the Spawn orb is all pushing on in the same direction. Something’s gonna break in the first half of next year for sure. One way or the other, something’s gonna happen. There’s just too much pressure coming from one side for us not to try and at least do our best.
BB: Awesome! Will that still be your directorial debut?
TM: That’s part of the conversation. We’re having some pretty big, meaningful conversations and that’s part of it, sadly. That’s still yet to be determined.
BB: Thank you very much for giving me your time and I can’t wait to see what you come out with in the future. Hopefully, everything works out for the live-action Spawn adaption, and I can't wait to see what more we get to see of Venom.
TM: Well, I appreciate it. I’ve still got four more decades in me, so I'm sure I’ll have a few more surprises!
BB: I can’t wait to see them!
Make sure to check out Venom: Let There Be Carnage on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD.
Interview conducted on December 6th, 2021 by Joseph Ruiz.
Photo Credits: Banner - McFarlane; Photo 1 - Sony Pictures; Photo 2 - Gabe Ginsberg/Getty