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Best known for his work on The Amazing Spider-Man in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Todd McFarlane (1961 – ) began his comics career with backup story in Coyote, one of Marvel’s lesser-known Epic Comic imprint series’. He soon provided work to both DC and Marvel, landing his first major run on DC’s JSA spinoff series, Infinity, Inc.  Picking up where Alan Davis left off, he also illustrated the the last three issues of of the “Batman: Year Two” story arc that ran in Detective Comics.

McFarlane then teamed with writer Peter David for his first long run on a major character, Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk.  First illustrating issue #330, with David beginning his legendary twelve-year run on the series with the very next issue, McFarlane penciled the series from 1987 to 1988.  Mostly illustrating the Hulk in his gray persona, McFarlane’s most popular issue from his Hulk run is the now-iconic issue #340, featuring the most sought-after Hulk/Wolverine battle after Hulk #181.

Leaving the Hulk, McFarlane then teamed with writer David Michelinie on Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man.  His first issue, #298, began the lead-up to the first full appearance of Venom (two issues later in #300), the first significant Spidy villain to be introduced in the series since the Silver Age. Venom was the alien symbiote – introduced in Secret Wars #8 in 1984 – joined with Eddie Brock.  McFarlane designed the appearance of Venom and was the first artist to draw the character professionally.  He also introduced what would eventually be called “spaghetti webbing,” changing how Spider-Man’s webbing had been illustrated for most of the characters publication history.

After expressing his growing dissatisfaction with illustrating other people’s stories, Marvel offered McFarlane his own Spider-Man title. Titled simply Spider-Man, McFarlane both wrote and illustrated the series from issue 1 through 14 and ended his association with the series after issue #16.  Issue 1 became one of the top selling comics of all time, with 2.5 million copies (including its variant editions) being sold.

While his work on Incredible Hulk produced beautiful interiors and covers, it was Spider-Man that brought out the best of McFarlane’s talent. For a time, he became the industries hottest artist and remains to this day one of its superstars. This status helped McFarlane pursue his own projects, including the founding of Image Comics, his creator-owned series Spawn (one of the top selling independent comic series’) and the founding McFarlane Toys and McFarlane Entertainment.

McFarlane has received numerous industry awards, including the 1992 National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Comic Book, the 1992 Inkpot Ward, the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video (Freak on a Leash), and The National Football League’s Artist of the Year award in 2005. He was inducted into the Canadian Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2001.

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