Since McFarlane is all about the covers let’s talk about his first 10 covers and compare them with later versions.  Maybe bringing up all of his old work will make Todd feel a little awkward but this is like when your mom pulls out old pictures of you and shows them around.  This was created out of love for you my little Toddster.  Before someone argues that this list is incorrect, the first Todd McFarlane published artwork was in Coyote 11 in March 1985.  Since that did not include the cover it’s not in this list. 

Note: This post should appear as two columns to fully understand the comparison.  If yours doesn’t please change the size of the window.

Infinity Inc. 14

Infinity, Inc. #14

Published in May 1985 on sale two months after Coyote 11.  This is Todd McFarlane’s first published cover art.  This colorful cover is a great start for his long-lasting career.  

Infinity Inc. 15

Infinity, Inc. #15

Published in June 1985 – Todd’s 2nd published cover.  Most of this cover is portrait-like with stationary figures but notice Obsidian’s cape action in the foreground.

All-Star Squadron 47

All-Star Squadron #47

Published in July 1985, shipped April 2, 1985.  One central figure with others filling in the empty space.

Infinity Inc. 16

Infinity, Inc. #16

Published in July 1985, shipped April 2, 1985.  This is the first appearance of Mr. Bones who has some similarities to Spawn.  Compare this with the cover to the right.

Coyote 13

Coyote #13

Published in July 1985 – This is the fifth cover because Epic shipped about a month later than DC.  It’s possible that this issue is after Infinity 17.   Todd only drew Scorpio Rose in the bottom right corner.   

Infinity Inc. 17

Infinity, Inc. #17

Published in August 1985 – Most of these early Todd McFarlane covers showed characters standing around.  He would develop the action piece later.

Infinity Inc. 18

Infinity, Inc. #18

Published in September 1985.  Compare this cover with Todd McFarlane’s first Amazing Spider-man cover to the right.  Notice the similarities in the smoke, flash, and webbing. 

Infinity Inc. 19

Infinity, Inc. #19

This book was published in October 1985. This isn’t the usual Todd McFarlane cover. 

Infinity Inc. 21

Infinity, Inc. #21

This book was published in December 1985.  This cover shows two heroes back to back with a subtle background.

Infinity Inc. 22

Infinity, Inc. #22

This book was published in January 1986 – The reptilian creature to the right with two large canine teeth and claws coming from behind our hero.

Marvel Tales 232

Marvel Tales #232

Published in December 1989 – Immediately you can see the similarities with the bright colors emanating around a central figure.  This one has more variety in color, shapes, and extra bling.

Spawn 3

Spawn #3

Published in August 1992  – Compare Obsidian’s cape and the bottom of Spawn’s cape.  Obviously, Todd grew as an artist and perfected the cape.

Marvel Tales 229

Marvel Tales #229

Published in November 1989.  Four years after the cover to the left and he’s added so much more detail.

Spawn 24

Spawn #24

Published in September 1994.  Notice the high collar of doom with the cape wrapping around his right shoulder.  The detail on the muscular structure and cape is incredibly improved.

Amazing Spider-man 309

Amazing Spider-man #309

Published in November 1988 – Notice that both ladies are colored in purple and pink.  On this cover, he drew the shadows instead of relying on a colorist and added more details to the hair.

Spider-man 9

Spider-man #9

Published in April 1991 – This type of stationary cover became much less prevalent with McFarlane.  Notice how he spiced it up with the background image of Wendigo.  

Amazing Spider-man 298

Amazing Spider-man #298

Published in March 1988  This is the first new webbing drawn by Todd McFarlane.  It’s apparent that Infinity Inc. 18 was the building block for this great cover.

Todd McFarlane

  After looking through several hundred covers I couldn’t find a similar cover to Infinity 19, so here’s a picture of Todd.

Spawn 14

Spawn #14

This book was published in September 1993 – Looking at Infinity 21 and Spawn 14 it’s difficult to imagine that the same artist drew these covers.

Spider-man 4

Spider-man #4

This book was published in November 1990 – This cover is very similar in layout but the execution is stellar.  Todd got so much better as an artist in 4 years.

It’s interesting to look at the early McFarlane art and view his development as a creator.  It’s wildly apparent that he worked on his craft, trying to improve, add details, and dynamic action.  There’s no doubt that he was always a gifted artist but with time he became epic.

by Ron Cloer

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