Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old news: Neil Gaiman versus Todd McFarlane...

My buddy, Steve Bissette, is co-writing a companion book on writer Neil Gaiman. Steve asked me to search for material on the Neil Gaiman versus Todd McFarlane lawsuit. Specifically, Steve was looking for the court’s verdict in the case. I found the court’s decision here. I also came across this interesting article on the Gaiman versus McFarlane battle over the rights to Mircleman titled "WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MIRACLEMAN?".

This whole feud between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane concerning Medieval Spawn, Angela, and Miracleman is such a mess. Although, I am quite interested in how this will affect the comic book community in regards to (comic book) Creator’s Rights.

We have a couple of threads on all of this at the Creator’s Rights forum:

"Sim, Larsen, and the Neil Gaiman vs. Todd McFarlane feud"

"Sim on Todd's ‘Man of Miracles’"

Erik Larsen: "The whole Neil Gaiman situation I found to be particularly annoying, mostly because the characters Neil "created" were variations on Spawn himself. A female "angel" instead of a male "devil," medieval versions of existing characters, etc. It bothered me that Todd was stupid enough to let somebody "create" these characters and it bothered me that Neil would insist on owning something that he didn’t legitimately create."

Dave Sim: "The Neil Gaiman situation isn’t as cut-and-dried as you’re making it out to be. Neil knew what he was getting into at DC. Sandman is their character and Neil, as a novice scripter, decided he was going to do some interesting things with it and see what happened. Well, what happened turned out to be huge and, from what I understand, DC did the noblesse oblige "right thing" and magnanimously granted Neil greater—and entirely unprecedented—participation in Sandman and other ‘considerations’ in acknowledgement of what had happened. Whatever he got—and, again, none of us knows because it all took place behind closed doors—all he could do was to count himself lucky because he didn’t have a legal leg to stand on and, presumably, he knew it."

Steve Bissette: "That Todd presumed he could retroactively, claim every conceptual property in the respective issue as his and his alone "boggles my mind," Erik. That you and so many others, including Dave, continue to make insinuations about Neil's character and integrity while defending Todd's "boggles my mind." Neil wasn't short-changed -- the deal, as it was represented to Neil, was broken as soon as characters and concepts Neil introduced in his work for Todd began to surface in other comics and media (of course, once Todd dragged Miracleman into the fray as some aspect of the proposed legal settlement, he only further complicated matters, using a character that was never his, that he never had any claim to or creatively contributed a damned thing to, as a bargaining chip). That was NOT the deal, apparently, was it?"

Above: Todd McFarlane’s "Man of Miracles" statue.

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