Todd McFarlane did an interview for Team Xbox and one of the things that was brought up was the rampant fleecing of comic book fans in the ’90s.
Do you feel that the recent decline of sales in the comic book industry had something to do with how “collector-centric” it became?
Todd McFarlane: Yes. I think we [the comic book industry] took advantage of the consumers. If you take advantage of your core group of collectors with short-term thinking, then you are going to turn them off of your product. You are literally financially taking advantage of them. I was never for the multiple covers of Spider-Man #1 – I was always against it. As a matter of fact, on Spawn we did our first variant cover on issue #100 and we’ve only done one other since. People in the comic book industry got greedy. The same thing happened in trading cards with overproduction. Some say the industry is cyclical and that the consumer will come back, but I don’t believe it. If you push the consumer out the door and you don’t have a system to re-grow that customer back, you’re in trouble. Since the kids aren’t jumping into comic books, so we don’t have a mechanism for creating the young version of the older, alienated collectors.
Say what you will about McFarlane, he is at least honest about things.