Gaiman v. McFarlane 2010: 333,000 Warrior Angels

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Part Seven [This is part of my running report on the 2010 hearing in the Neil Gaiman v. Todd McFarlane case. To see coverage from the beginning, click here. When last I posted, I was in the midst of Neil's discussion of the creation of Medieval Spawn and the angel huntress Angela. I do hope that any reader who has begun with this installment will stop reading here and click on the link above in order to work his or her way chronologically to this point. I understand that Everyone these days knows how to read blogs in reverse order, but ...]

Later, Gaiman wrote three pages of Spawn #26 (December 1994) and a three-issue mini-series titled Angela (#1 December 1994; #2 January 1995; #3 February 1995) about the angel. "I did Angela ... because my son was 12 and he discovered the Spawn toys and things and wanted me to do something that he'd like, because most of the stuff I wrote was for adults in comics." Asked whether he'd expanded on Angela's world in the mini-series, he responded, "Sure ... part of the fun of it was creating this sort of huge backstory. ... you discover that she's 100,000 years old ... and there's an angelic host: There's 333,000 of these beautiful warrior angels and they're arresting her. She's in trouble right at the beginning. Part of the fun for me was creating ideas. If you're writing comics, what you always want to do is leave the ground more fertile than when you were there. You want to leave more stuff for people who are going to be writing ongoing series to play with, which is why it was fun for me giving Todd, for example, the idea that there had been lots of Spawns. It was something that left him with more than had been before. So with this, I created a heavenly city called Elysium. I created 333,000 warrior angels who all look like exotic dancers and named a few of them. And they all looked different. They all have certain very specific similarities: the masky thing around the eyes, for example, the fact that they are part of this order of kick-ass lady warrior angels." Asked if any of the angels were Domina or Tiffany, Gaiman said they weren't. His angels had such names as Surielle, Kuan Yin, Anahita, Saranyu, and Gabrielle. "I basically just took names of angels or gods or goddesses specifically from different cultures and gave them to the ladies. So, in the same way that Angela was fundamentally a joke name, it was also a very serious name. It's 'angel.' It's a name with 'angel' in it."

He summarized the mini-series. "She gets arrested for being a traitor, for having hunted Spawn without a license, even though she said she did have a license. ... The angels go and get Spawn to come and be a witness at her trial. She realizes she is being set up. She and Spawn escape from Heaven to Hell and have an awful lot of shouting, fighting, hitting, and running around. And then ... she essentially gets a confession out of Gabrielle, the lady who set her up, and Gabrielle gets arrested. Angela is given a pardon or exonerated but decides that she doesn't want to be working for Heaven any more, she wants to go freelance ... not actually directly taking orders from anybody else. She was just going to be out there on her own: kick-ass angel for hire."
Arntsen asked Gaiman to discuss whether he'd been involved in writing comic-book series that were produced over a long period of time. He responded, "The most famous one would be Sandman, which was a comic that I wrote that ran 75 issues. It's now collected in 10 volumes of paperbacks." The series appeared dated from January 1989 to March 1996. "In it, I created a lot of characters and I also used some DC Comics characters, and there were also some characters who were deemed derivative by DC Comics. When they worked up my royalty on them, some merchandising or some spinoffs happened." Asked if characters evolve over the course of a series, he replied, "Oh, sure. ... Characters change and character costumes change. ... The Batman of now does not wear the costume of the Batman of 1939, ditto Superman, ditto Wonder Woman. ... Morpheus, my character in Sandman: He dresses in lots of different ways, always chiefly wearing black and having ... longish coats or cloaks. But always - It's obvious the same character, it's obviously the same person, but you get different artists and they draw things differently. You decide to try things a different way."



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