McFarlane & Gaiman Settle Spawn Case

Neil and The Todd are done with this court case.

The short explanation goes like this. Todd McFarlane hired Neil Gaiman to write some comics for him in 1993. In doing so, Gaiman created some characters, and felt he was entitled to some ownership of those characters. Then they went to court in 2002. While they were in court, almost everyone in the world forgot what characters they were talking about, and comics moved on entirely. But they kept up the court battle. We went to war, elected a Black president, and I became a father. Yadda yadda yadda, they settled.

Here’s the longer version.

The terms of the settlement are confidential, and the attorneys are light on sharing details, but the basic settlement states that Gaiman is a 50% owner of Spawn #9 and #26, as well as the first three issues of a spin-off series featuring those characters, and the characters created within those issues. Going forward, that could be worth as much as dozens of dollars.

(I don’t really know.)

You can expect that any future appearances of Angela, Cogliostro, or Medieval Spawn will be joint ventures, as would be the Cogliostro series of feature films.

The whole Miracleman thing wasn’t mentioned, but I’m pretty sure it’s still a big mess too.


  1. Bazinga?

  2. Gaiman is 50% owner of issues 9 AND 26, not 9 THROUGH 26.

  3. I know Gaiman is held in higher esteem than McFarlane but this lawsuit always seemed greedy and shady to me. McFarlane’s mistake was that he had an oral contract instead of the industry-standard work-for-hire contract.

    • I’d agree this seems like an unnecessary lawsuit for Gaiman to pursue. I imagine for him this was mostly about the principle of the matter. He certainly has plenty of his own successes.

      But I don’t know the actual amount of money involved. However, in Supergods Grant Morrison did mention McFarlane paid quite well for the work he was having people do at the time.

    • Gaiman has said that the money from this lawsuit will go to charity 100%. This isnt about money its about principle. Gaiman makes a habit of this. Its the second time in the last few months that he said hes giving money to charity after a public conflict. This is what happens when two huge egos but heads. Neither one will give ground. So they need mediation.
      Frankly if Gaiman created cogliostro .. he pretty much created the best thing about spawn apart from the ice cream truck serial killer. Who cares about angela though. i agree.

  4. Why waste everyone’s time reporting on something and not taking it seriously? If you think the story is beneath you, don’t bother.

  5. *Mcfarlane Voice* This kid Gaiman can sure create the hell out of these characters!

    • -gaiman voice-
      thanks for paying me so well to create some characters for YOUR book!
      too bad for kirby, ditko and pretty much anyone who worked under stan lee. they get a credit but none of the money

  6. It makes you wonder the cost of litigation and what future profits can really be made from these characters. Ten years of legal crap? Like stasisbal said above, it’s probably more about the principal.

  7. good for them… to bad they settled it about 15 years after anyone would actually give a damn.

  8. Interesting… Also seems like a whole bunch of effort for only a few characters and ‘potential’ further developments… Weird

  9. Why do I feel there’s a level of snark in your article? If you’re supplying this as a news article, I’m not sure the bias is appreciated. If it’s a comment on that story, then I guess your snark is validated. Just not sure if you’re coming from a journalists point of view, or an enthusiasts point of view. Seems the biased nature is a tad unprofessional in my opinion, but that’s just it, my opinion.

    I am curious how the Mircaleman thing works out especially with Marvel’s hand in the bag now.

    And I’m not doggin’ on you Josh, I’m just looking for a certain clarification to see where you were coming from in this article, cause it seems to me you are saying it’s not big deal, but, yet, worthy enough of its own article. I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

    • This site, to my knowledge, has never declared ny journalistic type of outlook whatsoever. So, I’m not sure why it would be wrong for the article to be snarky.

    • I am not a journalist. I’m talking about what’s happening in comics and trying to be entertaining at the same time. The story has been going on for a very long time, and the resolution of it is worth bringing up. But I also think it’s silly.

      If you want the AP, go for it. That’s not what we do.

      im not sure if this is disrespectful either way and it is quite funny. gaiman sued so he could own half of spawn 9 and 26. hope he’s proud of himself cuz he owns half of nothing. ten years down the toilet if you ask me

    • however, in this economy, a quick buck sued is a quick buck saved. the money goes toward a charity service that demands a coraline sequal with shity 3-d effects.
      loved the first one

    • @Josh Personally, I wish more people described court cases the way you did. I’d get less headaches that way.

    • @Josh. Fair enough. Like I said, my OCD just needed a little clarification, and to be honest, I was in a picky mood. No harm meant.

  10. “So how much is this going to cost me?”

    “Approximately $25,000”


  11. My theory for why the settlement is sealed: Neil Gaiman settled for a Barry Bonds home run baseball and 25 CGC 10.0 copies of Spawn #8, signed by Alan Moore. Some orphans will be very unhappy when they get their donation.

  12. At least there will be a boost to the value of those issues, since we probably won’t see those characters any time soon, in the near future.

  13. Hey, at least Gaiman isn’t waking up to ‘BEFORE MEDIEVAL SPAWN: A 35 ISSUE EVENT’ this morning

  14. DC’s next big thing: Todd McFarlane writes & draws: Sandman Origins, telling why Dream was weakened prior to Sandman #1.