In the mail today, I received my copy of PRINCE OF STORIES: THE MANY WORLDS OF NEIL GAIMAN. Mr. Steve Bissette had the authors sign the book for me (which was awesome). I also have a nice mention in the book for my very small contribution in helping Steve locate some legal documentation between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane (thanks, Steve).
The chapters of the book describing Gaiman’s feud with McFarlane over the rights to Medieval Spawn, Angela, and Cogliostro, as well as the Marvelman/Miracleman mess is very detailed and quite interesting (and frustrating). Some of us debated all of this over 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.
Labels: Comics, Creator's Rights, Dave Sim, Neil Gaiman vs. Todd McFarlane