Todd McFarlane's Comicon Film Challenge and Autograph Signing

Grab your pens and comic collections --  Todd McFarlane will be ready to sign anything at the Phoenix Comicon while fans can view a screening of films based on his characters.

Considering the longtime Ahwatukee resident's immense body of work, he's going to be very busy.

McFarlane fans can line up to get copies of his popular Spawn comic book series signed, or issues from earlier in his career, when he was drawing for Marvel's Spider-Man franchise in the late 1980s.

They can bring any of the army of action figures manufactured by his company, McFarlane Toys, including the KISS rock stars, Homer Simpson, Freddy Krueger and Phoenix Suns star Amar'e Stoudemire.

McFarlane recently took time to fill us in on the Phoenix comic convention scene and the upcoming film challenge screenings.

What do you like about participating in Phoenix Comicon?
The diversity of it. When I started, comic cons were just comics. Now, it's a misnomer -- it's more pop culture. There's music, movie stars, toys, video games, and a wide range of stuff for sale. If you like leisure time, you'll find something to like at a comic con.

Why did you decide to settle in Phoenix?
I started doing more work in the Hollywood area. The flights from Canada and Portland were getting too long, but we couldn't find anything in Southern California that really caught our interest. My wife and I have always been smitten by Phoenix, and the maid of honor at our wedding is from here. So we settled down in Ahwatukee, and we've been here for 15 years.

How do you think the comicon scene in Phoenix compares to other cities you've visited?
It's growing as the city grows. It doesn't hurt we're a hop, skip, and jump from the geekdom of Hollywood and San Diego Comicon, which is huge. That's probably the biggest convention. The scene went dormant in New York for a while, but now they're starting to have larger cons there again. Chicago's decent, too. Depending on the programming, and if we continue to have the quality programming we've had, I think within a couple of years, Phoenix could be the fourth largest con. Definitely near the top five.

Why did you decide to hold a film contest for this year's Phoenix Comicon?
It's always nice to give a chance to the youth. Hopefully, they'll take over soon and I can retire.

"The McFarlane Phoenix Comicon Film Challenge" winners will screen at 6:40 p.m. Saturday, May 29, and Todd McFarlane will sign autographs on Saturday and Sunday, May 29 and 30, during Phoenix Comicon at the Phoenix Convention Center. Passes cost $15 to $30.

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