ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.04 - JULY 2000
Spawning A Super Hero - An interview with Spawn's Todd McFarlane
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Baseballs and Millions
Although his days as a competitive athlete are gone, sports continue to occupy a fair part of McFarlane's interest not to mention his wallet. When the Edmonton Oilers were in financial difficulty, McFarlane bought in as a minority owner. To commemorate baseball's fantastic 1998 season, he bought ten historic home run balls from the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run derby, including McGwire's 70th, for which McFarlane shelled out a cool $3 million. They are now part of a road show he calls The McFarlane Collection, which tours Major League cities and raises funds for the ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) Association.
He spent $3.3 million in all, and yet McFarlane's Wall of Fame has only brought in about $60,000 in donations for ALS. Why didn't he just donate a couple million to ALS?
McFarlane isnt just buying memorabilia; he makes it with his many movie-based toy lines. © Todd McFarlane Productions.
TM: The answer is I should've. If I was really as saintly as some people would like to give me credit for, I should've just kicked out a check for three million. I could've written three one million dollar checks to three charities anonymously and walked away from it. I mean, really, the true saint does that. So, that's that.
Now given the fact that I didn't do that, there's not much fun in that. I work hard for my money. We've got lots of money, and we want to do something good. So, I wanted to create a bridge between that...and doing nothing. And the bridge was let's go and try and have some fun. Hence the word fund-raising - those are the first three letters (f-u-n). And try and do something that a) I've got a bit of a passion for, which is sports, baseball particularly, and b) do something we can interact with people and bring an awareness, which is sort of a value I have, not fund-raising, but bring an awareness to this disease. And do a bait 'n switch and give them a little bit of propaganda once they're there on the disease. Maybe if they want to donate a dollar here or a dollar there, we'll take it and turn it over.
That just may be the key to what makes Todd McFarlane tick. Whatever he does he tries to have fun doing it. And for McFarlane having fun is trying to find different ways of doing things.
TM: Basically, when I go into any project, I like to see if I can skin the cat differently. It doesn't make it better or worse, you know. If you just try to repeat what everybody else has done, why would anybody pay attention to you?
They wouldn't - unless you can lift tall buildings.
J. Paul Peszko is a freelance writer and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. He writes feature articles, interviews and reviews for regional publications. He currently has two scripts under option and is working on a feature comedy, in addition to just completing his first novel. When he isn't writing, he teaches communications courses.
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