It’s Day One of Spawn Week here at Newsarama.com, and as we bring forth a week of coverage centered around Todd McFarlane’s Spawn we start by focusing on the new writer of the series following the events of the monumental 200th issue.
As of Spawn #201, a new creative team will be taking on Todd McFarlane’s horror/supernatural epic. Artist Szymon Kudranski (Manhunter, Zombie Cop) and newcomer writer Will Carlton will be taking the reins, bringing the current Spawn, Jim Dowling, face-to-face with one of his predecessors’ greatest foes: Clown.
For more than what you can find in the solicitation text, we talked with the series’ new writer to find out about Spawn’s upcoming adventures and the writer’s own origin.
Newsarama: If you could sum it all up, Will – what would you say the Spawn title is at this point when you take over with issue #201?
Will Carlton: As someone who’s been a huge fan of the book since I was a kid, to be able to come in and add story lines is a daunting, but exciting task. Todd’s been very kind in letting me add new ideas that I hope readers have never seen before. I don’t want to say too much yet since #200 isn’t out yet, but I think readers will like it.
Nrama: While you may not be able to say much, the advance solicits for your first issue, Spawn #201, promise a return for Clown as well as new developments with Jim Dowling’s Spawn turning into a bit of a messianic figure. What have the conversations been like between you and Todd about the book’s direction?
Carlton: One of the biggest discussions I’ve had with Todd is that he’s had many great ideas in the book and many he’s verbalized to me, but I felt like the story was moving a little slow. Under his direction, I hope to deliver some of the bigger ideas at a faster pace than originally produced.
Nrama: And where is it going – tell us about the first storyline and ones to follow.
Carlton: When I begin work on the series, I’ll continue the same storylines Todd’s already started, but will take the focus away from the prying eyes of humans. Up until now, it seems as though everything has been somewhat out in the public. Todd stressed my main goal is to try to make the story more realistic than presented in the past.
Nrama: We’re going to be talking with Todd about that later this week, I promise you.
The original Spawn – Al Simmons – plays a big part in the Image United series as the big bad guy, Omega Spawn. Will that book affect anything going on with the Spawn title?
Carlton: Yes! Todd explained to me how he sees the relationship of Omega Spawn in relation to Al Simmons, and it’s not quite as simple as what’s being posed in Image United.
Nrama: Image United writer Robert Kirkman is doing a short in Spawn #200; will this be addressed in that?
Carlton: I know Robert Kirkman has ideas for issue #200 of Spawn, so I’ll wait to see what happens there. However, Todd has given me some very specific directions on where he sees Al Simmons in the grand scheme of things. It’s not quite as obvious as people might think it is.
Nrama: In the press release, Todd says he decided on you after several pitches. Can you tell us about these pitches and your conversations with Todd?
Carlton: Well, as I mentioned before, I was frustrated at his pacing, and the lack of focus on giving answers to key questions in the story to fans, which needed to be addressed. He challenged me to give him ideas that would work at a better pace, but still provide suspense. I gave him an Olympic size swimming pool of ideas, and he obviously liked some of them, or I wouldn’t be where I am.
Nrama: It’s listed that Todd will be helping out Szymon with the art, but as the book’s creator and in many ways editor, what will Todd’s role be with the writing of the issues?
Carlton: He had input on how to shape those ideas into better stories, which I respect. It’s a very collaborative effort. I’m not just working on this in a vacuum. I’ll still be as close to Todd as any writer can be, which should help if I ever need clarification on the mythos, or a fresh set of eyes on a plot or script.
Nrama: Pardon me for saying this, but you’re a new name to comics pages. Can you tell us your background and how you got the job writing Spawn?
Carlton: I started working for Todd a couple of years ago. A whole slew of us do side work/freelancing, whether it’s graphics, or working on the comics cleaning and prepping pages for inking. Every week we’d touch base in meetings, sit around and talk about the book. In a few of the brainstorming sessions, Todd mentioned his schedule was getting a little hectic, and he needed someone to come in to help him with some of the plotting. Luckily for me, he liked the ideas I’d been throwing his way.
Nrama: Wow. How does it feel to be dropped into this position as writer of Spawn?
Carlton: I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity now. I know it’s not the typical path, but I’m excited to become a contributor, not just a fan. I’m going to have a direct impact on the characters and universe I grew up following. I feel like Todd’s been good at giving opportunities to lesser known artists and writers, like myself. I just feel like I was at the right place at the right time.
Stay tuned all week for more SPAWN!