Gaiman v. McFarlane 2010: Soliciting Spawn

Monday, July 5, 2010

[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.]

Part Sixteen In the closing segment of Neil Gaiman's testimony, Todd McFarlane attorney Alex Grimsley asked whether Gaiman recalled whether the Medieval Spawn toy had been popular. "From what I remember, it must have been popular, because he did a lot more." Grimsley asked, regarding the Spawn: The Dark Ages series as it was being solicited, "If you were writing the solicitation for the issue, you wouldn't say, you know, 'Here is a new series based on this popular character'?" Gaiman said, "I'm a writer, not a marketer." "OK, but you write the solicitation, correct?" "Normally, no. ... I wrote the ones for Spawn #9 all those years ago because Todd asked me to and they had to put something out. But, no, I don't think I've written a solicitation since." Grimsley handed Gaiman a Lord Covenant toy and asked whether he recognized it. Gaiman said, "No." Grimsley asked, "That doesn't appear to be a character that you created?" Gaiman responded, "I wouldn't have thought so."

That wrapped up his testimony at the hearing. After the lunch break, the next witness would be for McFarlane: Spawn: The Dark Ages writer Brian Holguin.



Anonymous,  July 6, 2010 at 12:13 PM  
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Anonymous,  July 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM  

What I don't understand is that if McFarlane *wins* and the warrier angels and 800 year old helspawn are not derivitive of Angela and Medieval Spawn, what's to stop some other creator from making an "original" character be a 400 or 2000 year old hellspawn, or a warrior angel named "Tabitha"?

Isn't McFarlane cutting his nose to spite his face? I can't imagine why he'd want such a verdict. Or am I misunderstanding something fundamental here?

Maggie Thompson July 6, 2010 at 2:20 PM  

While I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, I don't think ANYONE is claiming that the characters in Todd's series aren't derivative of the world of Spawn. Neil and Todd were determined in 2002 to be co-owners of the copyright to the characters they co-created. This hearing was so that a judge would determine whether Neil's co-creations were such as to basically include Dark Ages Spawn and the others of the 333,000 angels in Elysium.

Anonymous,  July 6, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

Thank you for removing my duplicate post!

BUT if the other warrior angels are determined by the court to be original creations and not derivative of Angela, it would seem to me that I could create a warrier angel with a different costume and name and it would not be derivative of either Todd or Neil's creation. Which seems wrong on it's face and not the sort of ruling Todd would want in the long run. But IANAL either.

Maggie Thompson July 7, 2010 at 10:18 AM  

Well, Genesis 3.24 says, "[God] drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." So Western civilization has had warrior angels in its stories for a heck of a long time. You could clearly do almost any story you want about your own concept of a warrior angel; what you couldn't do without a potential lawsuit is do a story about angels whose story and character designs are tied up with Spawn, Elysium, and whatever else is part of the Todd McFarlane-connected mythos.

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