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Aspiring Young Artist Visits With Todd McFarlane

Will Frank the Comicazy Kewcoo be the next big thing in comics? It will if Doug Knight -- a 12-year-old aspiring artist from Uxbridge, a small town just north of Toronto -- has anything to say about it.

    Doug, who recently earned a green belt in karate and has created nearly two dozen comic book characters, actually submitted some of his work to Marvel Comics at age 7. He received a few constructive rejection letters, just like his biggest idol Todd McFarlane, and got a unique chance to hang out with Todd this week in Arizona. The meeting fulfilled a long-held wish started when a family friend shared Spawn #66 with Doug a few years ago; a comic book that he calls "wicked awesome."

    So how did a 12-year-old kid from Canada get a chance to spend time with Todd in the Arizona sun? Divine intervention, perhaps?

    Well, not exactly. But Doug is legally blind with extremely limited eyesight and a cancerous brain tumor in his optic nerve. Doug, his dad, Phil, and sisters Lucy and Jessica met Todd in a visit arranged through the nonprofit Divine Intervention Assistance Inc, an organization assisting children with critical health challenges.

    Fortunately, Doug's cancer is in remission. He has just enough eyesight to draw his art while hovering very close to his sketchbook, and to enjoy the many Spawn comic books and McFarlane Toys action figures he's collected.

    "What surprised me about Todd is that he wasn't dressed up in a suit," said Doug, whose long-term goals include working for Todd after graduating high school and earning a degree from the Ontario Collage of Art and Design. "And, he wasn't dancing around a bunch of skulls in his office, either."

    Phil, with the help of his mom and "a few angels in this world," arranged the trip, working with staffers and Todd. Many local businesses, including a hotel and several restaurants either donated services or provided them a greatly reduced cost as part of the trip.

    "I can't thank you all enough," said Phil, who runs a hockey program for mentally and physically challenged kids called Special Hockey International. He got involved with the program after he learned of Doug's health challenges, diagnosed about nine years ago.

    When asked why Todd was his idol, Doug stated emphatically - "His mind, it's so different from everybody else and Spawn is such a unique comic book that helped revolutionize and change the industry."

    Some unplanned events included a chance meeting with artist Ashley Wood, who created some custom artwork in Doug's sketchbook, and a sneak preview of 2002 McFarlane toys at Todd's house. Doug's been sworn to secrecy, and so have we.

All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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