Court Says McFarlane Owes Tony Twist $15 Million

Last week, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that Todd McFarlane still owes former hockey player Tony Twist $15 million, rejecting McFarlane’s appeal of a 2003 verdict.

The unanimous ruling said, “The predominant purpose of the name ‘Tony Twist’ was to sell comic books and related products and not to make an expressive comment about Twist the hockey player. Therefore, the use of the name is not entitled to First Amendment protection.”

Ouch. McFarlane’s gonna have to sell a lot of toys to cover this one.

This case is still going on? I can’t even imagine what the legal fees are at this point.

I don’t know enough about the law (especially Missouri law) to forcefully state an opinion on this issue, but my gut tells me that this ruling is bad for the First Amendment and bad for artists everywhere.


  1. Best thing I ever saw was Peter David moderating the Todd McFarlane panel in San Diego a few years ago. I can’t even remember what happened, but rest assured, it was the best thing I ever saw.

    Todd’s a doofus, and a cold business man, but I think I owe my presence in comics to his Spider-Man. Often imitated, never beaten. I’m not so into it any more, but I do recognize his importance, and I loved it at one time.

  2. As a St. Louisan, this is sort of local news for me, and it’s been interesting to see McFarlane vilified for his behavior here by the same reporters who covered him so warmly when he bought Mark McGwire’s home run ball.

    I’m ambivalent about this case; I never really saw what Twist’s problem was, while at the same time sort of generally wishing McFarlane ill because of the stories I’ve heard about him.

    I liked his Amazing Spider-Man run as a kid, but my personal fave was his Hulk run with Peter David. Given the way those two interact, it’s hard to imagine there was a time when they collaborated on a monthly basis.