Doug: Dark Age, Copper Age, Best-Forgotten Age... Whatever you call the 1990s, there is no doubt some noise was made. Thomas F. is along today to shepherd us through a conversation on one of the decade's (and beyond) iconic artists -- Todd McFarlane.
Thomas F.: This entry assumes that the reader is a fan, or at least to some degree appreciative, of Todd McFarlane’s undeniably unique and extremely detailed artwork. That being said, I fully recognize that the criticism of Nineties artwork—McFarlane’s included—is valid. The countless complaints of human anatomy grossly out of proportion, ridiculously exaggerated muscles, and the gimmicky covers that were so obviously a cash-grab—all this is undeniably true.
In retrospect, no doubt we’ve all had our fill of hologram covers, embossed covers, glow-in-the-dark covers, foil covers, chromium covers, die-cut image covers, polybag issues, slide motion covers, thermal ink covers, multiple interlocking covers, etc. At least I’ve had enough of them to last a lifetime.
Nevertheless, I believe that there was at least some late Eighties/early Nineties artwork that had its appeal—with plenty of iconic covers—and like many fans at the time of McFarlane’s tenure at Marvel, I felt that McFarlane drew the “spideriest” Spider-Man my preteen eyes had ever seen. Caught up in the craze of McFarlanemania, I snapped up nearly everything and anything he’d penciled.
By the way, for a few dollars I recently picked up a copy of All-Star Squadron #47, from July 1985, “The Secret Origin of Dr. Fate.” The cover and interiors were drawn by a 24 year-old McFarlane early on in his career, just shortly after he’d broken into the comic book industry.