Image Comics has announced that Wiip, the production studio behind the recent critically-acclaimed HBO drama Mare of Easttown, is partnering with Todd McFarlane to develop a new “premium drama” TV series centered on Sam & Twitch, the human detectives of McFarlane’s popular Spawn universe. Writers Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg will handle the adaptation and act as executive producers for the project along with McFarlane, Sean Canino of McFarlane Films, and Paul Lee & Mark Roybal of Wiip.
Detectives Sam Burke and “Twitch” Williams have been staples of the Spawn series since its debut in 1991. In addition to being supporting characters in Spawn, the pair have also headlined several series of their own. Their first title ran for 26 issues over the course of five years, from 1999 until 2004, with the first nineteen issues written by Brian Michael Bendis, his final arc featuring an early collaboration with artist Alex Maleev. The pair’s second ongoing series, Case Files: Sam & Twitch, ran for 25 issues and was written by Marc Andreyko, with artists including Scott Morse, Paul Lee, and Greg Scott.
The in-development TV series will not be the first time that Sam & Twitch have made the leap from page to screen. The characters appeared in the late ’90s Spawn animated series, and in 2017 it was announced that Kevin Smith and BBC America were partnering to bring the characters to the small screen, though that project never got out of the development stage (McFarlane’s announcement video for that project is still viewable on YouTube). In 2018 it was also announced that Jeremy Renner would be playing Twitch in the rebooted Spawn movie universe; that film is still reportedly in development.
Check out the full text of the announcement below, and keep an eye out for more news on the Sam & Twitch TV series as it’s revealed.
PORTLAND, Ore. 06/10/2021 — wiip, the independent studio behind HBO’s hit Mare of Easttown, has partnered with Emmy-winning Spawn creator and director/producer Todd McFarlane to develop Sam and Twitch as a premium television drama series. The project will be based on two of the most prominent characters in the Spawn comic franchise, which recently broke the Guinness World Record for the longest-running creator-owned comic and has sold hundreds of millions of copies in more than 120 countries worldwide. This announcement follows the news that McFarlane’s newest comic project, Spawn’s Universe #1 is officially the biggest new title launch from Image Comics in the 21st century.
Sam and Twitch focuses on Spawn‘s two most popular human characters, detectives Sam Burke and “Twitch” Williams.
Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg will adapt the project and serve as executive producers. Smilovic & Katzberg are the creators and showrunners behind the drama series Condor, an adaptation of the 1975 feature Three Days of the Condor, which airs its second season on Epix in the fall. McFarlane and Sean Canino for McFarlane Films also executive produce with wiip’s Paul Lee and Mark Roybal.
wiip’s Lee and Roybal are executive producers of the hit HBO limited series Mare of Easttown. The finale, which recently aired two weeks ago, set the record as the most-watched episode of an Original Series on HBO Max.
“My two detective characters Sam Burke and ‘Twitch’ Williams appeared in the very first issue of Spawn #1 back in 1992. Since then, they’ve become fan favorites and have branched out into their own comic series throughout the years,” said McFarlane, creator of Spawn. “Their stories, blending traditional crime noir and the supernatural, is a combination that I’ve always thought would make for an entertaining television drama. The addition of wiip and the creative writing skills of Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg make for a very compelling team that we all hope leads to the entertaining show we know this can be. If you like cool, moody, creepy, odd crime stories, this will be your cup of tea!”
In addition to creating Spawn, McFarlane is also the co-founder and President of Image Comics, the third largest comics publisher.
McFarlane is also best known for his work as the artist on The Amazing Spider-Man. He co-created the character “Venom,” which the feature film of the same name has accumulated a worldwide box office total of more than $850 million to date.
The industry and fans have recognized McFarlane’s award-winning projects in entertainment, comics, publishing, and toys with two Grammy nominations, one Grammy win, two Emmy Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, one Canadian MuchMusic Award, the 2021 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award, a People’s Choice Award, and more than 150 International awards.
In addition to showrunning Condor, Smilovic & Katzberg are attached to pen a feature adaptation of Isabella Maldonado’s novel, The Cipher, starring Jennifer Lopez for Netflix. Most recently, Smilovic & Katzberg adapted Robert Littell’s Cold War Era Novel The Sisters for Pioneer Pictures and Thunder Road with Smilovic set to direct. Previous feature credits for Smilovic include Lucky Number Slevin and the Todd Phillips summer feature War Dogs, which earned Jonah Hill a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actor–Comedy/Musical category.
Smilovic & Katzberg are repped by CAA, Lit Entertainment Group, and attorney Amy Nickin for Smilovic and Bruce Gellman for Katzberg. Todd McFarlane and McFarlane Films are repped by CAA.