Todd McFarlane is the ultimate nightmare-maker, heartbreaker and dream-taker. The 38-year-old action-figure king and creator of Spawn spends countless hours in an Arizona bunker developing twisted schemes to the delight of 20-year-old guys-with-no-girlfriends everywhere. His latest creations are the marketed toys for Tim Burton’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He recently went head-to-head with Bill Jensen:
How is this version of the Headless Horseman story going to top the classic Scooby Doo episode?
Just by the mere rating of it. The reason why they give “R’s” is for thematic reasons. We have seven or eight beheadings. Beyond all that, we will see the first believable headless horseman. When we were kids, we had to pull our shirts above our heads and rebutton them and it was like “Ohh, big torso man.”
You made a Johnny Depp figure, but no Christina Ricci. What gives?
When Tim Burton and I first talked, I go, “Here’s my thing. I don’t want to do a line of six figures or eight figures. I want to do the right figures. You tell me which ones you would buy if you were a 20-year-old kid.” Christina is a pretty young lady, but I don’t know if I can sell her next to the Headless Horseman.
Did you ever think about doing true-crime figures, like Manson?
That’s not bad. Not bad. I’d have to clear that one past my wife. When I want to do stupid stuff she’s the voice of reason.
What’s stupider than buying two baseballs—McGwire’s 70th and Sosa’s 66th—for two million bucks?
Well, she knew that it would bring attention to what we do and what we want to do. We want to give something back. [McFarlane plans charity appearances for the balls.]
What are you focusing on now?
We hand in a script in three weeks. It’s sort of a sequel to The Untouchables. Eliot Ness falls off the map after he puts Capone away. But the cooler of the stories is he’s now the head safety inspector of Cleveland, and the first documented serial killer in history—the Mad Butcher or the Torso Killer—kills a minimum of 12 people. Ness couldn’t figure out how to fix this crime spree until the end.
Any new toys for next year?
We wanted to do Sling Blade. I just wanted to see Carl with a voice chip—”‘taters and mustard.” We’re doing a cool motorcycle line of Spawn, with a Japanese, futuristic, cool sci-fi feel. We’re doing the McKenzie Brothers, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper. We’re making the Hanson Brothers from Slap Shot. We have a voice chip in them. We have one that says, “Fuckin’ machine took my quarter.” I’m trying to get the bleep in between the phrase, but it’s not working out. We’ll just sell that one through the website.