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Sony's Venom was the symbiote's second outing on the big screen following his disappointing turn in Spider-Man 3, and this version much more closely resembled the character who has been gracing comic book pages since the late '80s. Yet, while Venom in Ruben Fleischer's film looked closer to what Todd McFarlane co-created, the comics legend was totally hands off for the movie, as he explained:
It would be almost hypocritical for me to sit there and go, 'I don't understand why they're not doing Venom the way I see fit.' That shouldn't be the equation. I'm actually more curious and entertained by going 'hey there's this character named Spider-Man or this character named Venom and at some point I had something to do with them both creatively,' and just sort of watching how others take those ideas and put their touches on it.
Todd McFarlane wasn't involved in Sony's movie, but his attitude about others deciding what to do with a character he helped create is a generous one and shows that he is not overprotective or selfish about Venom. The comic creator is willing to share his toys and doesn't feel the need to throw his weight around, complain or say to the filmmakers that they should really be doing things a different way.
Of course, Todd McFarlane has his preferences and he liked Venom's depiction of the character more than in Spider-Man 3 because the character was big like he designed him, but he's still fine with sitting back and letting others have a turn. So he was happy to see a big Venom onscreen even if the character didn't have his traditional chest logo. As he told Heroic Hollywood, Todd McFarlane likes to watch other people take a character he helped create and see what they do with him.
It's a really cool way of thinking about things, because although he may not have been involved in Venom, he got to see how something he created inspired other people to do something different. Todd McFarlane actually likes seeing other creatives put their personal touches on his character and all the countless permutations that can arise from one base idea.
When Todd McFarlane came in to the Spider-Man comics, the alien suit already existed; it was McFarlane and writer David Michelinie that made Venom. So he knows what it is like to take something someone else created and run with it in new and exciting directions. It is commonplace for creative teams to come and go from different comics, and when those comics get adapted to films and other mediums, other people are having their input.
Spider-Man's Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are gone, as are Batman's Bob Kane and Bill Finger, but they each wove the first thread in what has become a massive, never to be finished tapestry, where many people have wove their own pieces that all make up the history and mythology of their respective characters.
Todd McFarlane may like to see what other people do with his characters, but he still likes do things with them himself. The comic creator is currently working to reboot his character Spawn on the big screen in a film that he would both write and direct. In that instance, Todd McFarlane will be completely hands on.