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Sunday, February 26, 2006

NEW YORK COMIC-CON: SPAWN PANEL

NEW YORK -- Spawn and Batman will meet again.

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane announced at his panel at New York Comic-Con on Saturday that he had just signed a contract that day for a Spawn/Batman one-shot.

McFarlane and Greg Capullo will be the creative team on the book, with DC Comics' Dan DiDio editing.

In conjunction with the book, McFarlane Toys and DC Direct will team up for a Spawn/Batman statue, based on the story.

"Batman is really my most favorite character after Spawn," said McFarlane, who worked with Frank Miller as part of two Batman/Spawn projects several years ago. "I always thought Spawn is Batman unbridled by corporate America. I find the juxtaposition between the two to be interesting.

"I've always had a soft spot for Batman. Two guys with two big giant capes is too cool."

McFarlane said he has an idea for a story "that's been swimming around in my head" and that he plans on working with DiDio almost immediately.

"It's about how these guys are opposites and opposites attract," McFarlane said.

McFarlane's announcement was prompted by DC's DiDio, who stood in line patiently with other audience members before asking McFarlane about his DC works. Ironically, just a few question before DiDio, a fan asked McFarlane about crossing Spawn over, perhaps with Spider-Man.

McFarlane, who expected DiDio at the panel but wasn't in on the gag of DiDio being in line, pretended not to know him before unveiling the Batman and Spawn logos and making the announcement.

"Speaking for DC this is a real coup," DiDio said told the crowd. "We can't wait to see what Todd does with Batman."

Previously at the panel, McFarlane gave a lengthy rundown for his upcoming movie, animation, toy and television projects.

Here's a recap:

FILM

* McFarlane said he is hoping for a second Spawn movie, which he really doesn't see as a sequel, to be in theaters in 2007.

"I'm in the middle of the script and will have to do some rewriter, but I'm hoping by the end of the year, I'll be behind the camera," he said.

McFarlane said he looks at Crash as an example of how a first-time director -- which he will be -- can succeed on a low-budget film.

"You can do wonderful movies for under $10 million," he said. "I've got the money, so I'm going to write it, produce it and direct it. There are already three of four (studios) that want it, but I'll wait until I'm done with it."

McFarlane said that the film really will be Twitch's story.

"Spawn doesn't utter a word in this film," McFarlane said. "The guy will all the speaking parts is Twitch."

He described the film as "What if you put the Bogeyman in L.A. Confidential or the movie Seven?"

"I can't do a Spider-Man," McFarlane said. "I don't have the money. But I can do a gritty, dark, scary, creepy movie."

* McFarlane is producing Torso, based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko and set up at New Line. Ehren Kruger, who wrote The Skeleton Key, is working on the script, with David Fincher attached to direct.

The story is based on Eliot Ness' pursuit of the Cleveland Torso Killer. "I always thought the follow-up to Eliot Ness is way more intriguing than him bringing down Al Capone," McFarlane said.

Fincher is currently working on a film called Zodiac. McFarlane said he will follow-up that up with a Brad Pitt project and then Torso could be his next film.

ANIMATION

* Providing an update on Spawn: The Animation, McFarlane said, "Everything is done, we now need to find a studio to do the animation."

Like the HBO series, McFarlane said the 82-minute film -- which serves as a backdoor pilot to another possible series -- will be a "hard" R.

McFarlane said he hopes to get the movie on television first, but "if worse comes to worst, it will be on DVD this year."

* McFarlane said he will be directing a music video for Disturbed.

COMIC BOOKS

* Brian Holguin and Jay Anacleto are teaming on Spawn: Godslayer. Anacleto's art will just be his pencils.

"This is a different take on it in terms of artistic rendering," McFarlane said.

* McFarlane said he draws a lot more than people think, but it's usually for the development of his variout projects and the average comics reader doesn't see his raw art.

* McFarline said he likes to keep his comics universe tight, but that editor-in-chief Brian Haberlin wants to broaded it with new characters and that might happen. Haberlin said he would like to tap into the the toy lines for comics.

* Brian Michael Bendis' Sam & Twitch stories will be collected into a trade paperback.

* The Hellspawn trade paperback will feature additional artwork by Ashley Wood, as well as a new wraparound cover.

* McFarlane said he wants to keep his Spawn trade paperbacks "nice and thick," collecting 20-25 issues.

* Spawn Manga Vol. 3: Shadows of Spawn is at the printer.

TOYS

* McFarlane said that upcoming lines featuring robots and dragons have "universal appeal" and that his sports figures are good sellers.

* A 3D album cover from Led Zeppelin is the company's latest foray into music, and McFarlane said he hopes it's the type of product that leads to further licensing.

* McFarlane said he hopes to exploit the Itchy & Scratchy part of The Simpsons license. "Nobody has touched that stuff, and I think there's a marketplace for that stuff," he said.



E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com



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