Today is comic book legend and influential pop culture icon Todd McFarlane's 57th birthday and it's astonishing to look back over the past three decades and not see his fingerprints on some corner of our geek universe.
The enterprising Canadian artist first stormed the industry back in 1984 when he was hired by Marvel to do a back-up story on Steve Engleharts' Coyote. From there he moved into DC Comics' Infinity Inc. and the Batman: Year Two mini-series, in which he exhibited his trademark dynamic art style. In 1988 he elevated himself into an incredibly productive phase on Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man with Dave Michelinie and a rebooted Spider-Man in 1990 fueled by the insane speculators' boom of the '90s.
Come 1992, McFarlane staged a revolution of epic proportions when he and Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Valentino defected from Marvel Comics to form Image Comics and blew the doors off the medium with striking creator-owned titles like Spawn, Youngblood, WildC.A.T.S, Wetworks, Cyberforce, Gen13, and Witchblade.
Not content to dabble in funny books exclusively, McFarlane extended his empire in 1994 by founding McFarlane Toys and licensing properties like The Wizard of Oz, The Simpsons, KISS, Lost, and The X-Files for an exclusive line of toys, games, action figures, and assorted horror collectibles, all given a special McFarlane twist.
Dipping into Hollywood's golden well, the prolific businessman started Todd McFarlane Entertainment in 1996 and was instrumental in the production of the 1997 Spawn feature film, an award-winning Spawn animated series on HBO, and many key music videos, including the stunning animation for alt-metal rockers Korn and Disturbed.
His fantastic work for Korn's "Freak on a Leash" video earned McFarlane a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Short Music Video, while the brief dystopian saga concocted for Disturbed's cover of Genesis' "Land of Confusion" was hailed as a brilliant piece of animation artistry.
More recently, McFarlane participated in the 25th anniversary of Image Comics in 2017 and is currently working on the screenplay for a Spawn reboot feature film with Blumhouse Productions.
On this festive occasion, let's help McFarlane blow out the candles on his birthday cake with an assortment of creations, collaborations, and acquisitions he was instrumental in over the years, from comics and superhero characters, to video games, baseballs, music videos, and NHL hockey jerseys.
Check out these 22 treasures in the gallery below and tell us what you think is McFarlane's greatest accomplishment so far.