27 March 2010

Todd McFarlane's Haunt

I was a McFarlane fan since his Amazing Spider-Man days.

Back in the day, I hunted down all the individual issues of his Amazing Spider-Man run, including the then hard to find Amazing Spider-Man #298, #299 and #300.

I was more than elated to discover that he did Incredible Hulk before Amazing Spider-Man and hunted down a number of his Incredible Hulk issues, key among them Incredible Hulk #340.

 
Left: Amazing Spider-Man #298
Right: Incredible Hulk #340

When he co-founded Image Comics and launched Spawn, I was there in line and grabbed 6 copies of Spawn #1, helping it in a 6/1,000,000 kind of way propel Spawn #1 sales to in excess of 1 million copies.

I have since the mid 90s, departed from the world of comics. I returned to it, with some force around 2008. From 2008 to the present, I found that:

  • Marvel titles have become cliché and mediocre, all flash and no bang (except for brief moments when Neil Gaiman graced Marvel with his magic pen);
  • DC titles were increasingly captivating; for me this began with Superman/Batman: Supergirl and just continued expanding from there (Identity Crisis, Green Lantern saga: Rebirth, Secret Origin, etc, Batman: Hush, Superman: For Tomorrow, the entire Jeph Loeb Superman/Batman run, Justice League of America, All-Star Superman, All-Star Batman, Blackest Night and more...);
  • Vertigo continued to deliver, as they did with Sandman in the 90s; and
  • I've been reading far too little Image Comics since I returned to comics.
Keen on fixing the final point up there, I purchased a large number of Witchblade TPBs and also the Darkness Origins TPB. I'm up to Witchblade Origins volume 3 and am still waiting to see what the fuss is all about. Much as I adore his later year cover art for DC and his art for Superman/Batman: Supergirl, Michael Turner's early art in Witchblade just does not seem to have the same x factor.

The Darkness Origins volume 1 was a good read (and in that I mean that I couldn't put it down until I finished it). That was good.

Today, I saw the Haunt TPB (containing issues #1 to #5) and thought, "gosh, this is (only) McFarlane's second comic book title since he co-founded Image Comics and since Spawn #1 in the early '90s!". Purely on the strength of that and nothing else, I have to pick this up and give it a go.

Started reading it. Could not put it down. Read it from start to finish in one go.

 
Left: Spawn #1
Right: Haunt #4

Haunt was a good read. It is great stuff. I think there is potential. 

For me, it was a little troubling to see and feel how similar the character design is with McFarlane's Spider-Man. It was unsettling (and also because Spider-Man, like many Marvel characters today, is way over-used and over-exposed and has very little depth), but I'm confident that given time, Kirkman and McFarlane will sufficiently differential Haunt from Spider-Man.

Now, I'm going to read the Haunt TPB again.

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