Gaiman wins lawsuit vs. McFarlane

Gaiman wins on all counts in his lawsuit vs. Todd McFarlane for breach of contract regarding copyrights to several characters Gaiman created.

Just by coincidence I was checking out Neil Gaiman’s website today, and after following a couple of links found that just today a verdict was returned. I don’t have time to go into the details of the case, but I know there are quite a few Gaiman and comics fans here, so I just wanted to spread the news.

Damages portion of trial was being held tonight, and probably will wrap up tomorrow.

Way to go Neil!!!

I’m so glad to hear this, thanks for the news!

Gaiman didn’t create Miracleman (and even if you consider it a distinct and separate character from the 1950s Marvelman, creator credits for MM are a real rat’s nest) or most of its related characters, and I’m not sure Medieval Spawn makes a lot of sense out of context of regular Spawn.

I respect Gaiman immensely more as a creator than I do McFarlane, but I’m not sure this decision is going to hold up to close scrutiny.

Gaiman didn’t create Miracleman. If you read closely, he and McFarlane at one point had an agreement to transfer McFarlane’s interest in Miracleman (note: Todd McFarlane really, really didn’t create Miracleman) which he acquired somewhere in the past, for concessions from Gaiman on royalties for his creations. This would tend to acknowledge that he did in fact have rights to those characters, which in turn establishes that McFarlane’s previous use of the characters was problematic if he didn’t compensate Gaiman for them. It’s the right decision.

But this has no particular bearing on Gaiman’s creative interest in a character that he created in a story that he wrote.

Who created Miracleman is not one of the relevant questions in this lawsuit. Who has rights to the Miracleman character and series may be decided (in part) in the damages phase. But who created the character has nothing to do with it. (Think about who created Superman vs. who has rights to the character.)

As for whether medieval spawn makes sense or not, the jury found that McFarlane agreed contractually to allow Gaiman to retain rights to any character he created for the issues of Spawn which he wrote. Whether the characters make sense or are otherwise of any use outside the context of the series is immaterial. (Also, I don’t think it was the medieval Spawn that was at issue, but rather other secondary character(s).)

Since when did comics have to make sense?

Guys flying around in spandex shooting beams out of their eyes-- that makes sense?

Legally, this appears to be a contractual spat- nothing more.

As I live in Madison, this has been in local papers. I’m not up on comics at all, so can someone tell me why this was tried in Madison? Is Gaiman a local “celebrity” that I didn’t even know about.

Apparently Gaiman does live in Madison. I am unclear why the trial was there as he is the Plaintiff and the contract was negotiated in Missouri (maybe PART of it was hammered out in Wisconsin…)???

Gaiman currently lives in or near Madison. He is a fairly well known author of fantasy novels and comic books.

I thought Gaiman lived in Minnesota.

Ditto that.

IIRC, a lot of the fuss is over the Spawn character Angela, who was created by Gaiman and had, I believe, her own (mini?) series and at least one TPB.