Back in 1993, Todd McFarlane was virtually the king of the comic book industry. As one of the founding creators of the creator-owned Image Comics and writer/artist on the best-selling ‘Spawn’ comic, McFarlane could not be toppled. Shortly into the run of ‘Spawn’, McFarlane had some of comics greatest writers step in for guest issues (my favorite being the appearance of Dave Sim’s Cerebus in ‘Spawn’ #10). He even called in fellow comic writer and author of the award-winning ‘Sandman’, Neil Gaiman, to guest write an issue. The story that Gaiman wrote for ‘Spawn’ #9 added to the comic’s mythology about an ex-military man who becomes a soldier for the armies of Hell.
Gaiman’s issue was intended as a one-off story for ‘Spawn’ #9 that introduced the medieval version of ‘Spawn’ as well as the popular demon-hunting angels known as ‘Angela’ and ‘Gabrielle’. After that issue, all three of these characters went on to their own fame. They were featured in some of the major storylines of ‘Spawn’ as well as many of the offshoot incarnations, video games, and the HBO animated series.
10 years ago, Gaiman thought it only right that he should be properly compensated for the creation of these popular characters. After a decade of long drawn out legalities, Gaiman announced several hours ago via his Twitter feed “Happy to have settled McFarlane/Image case, 10 years after the trial” with a link to a press release.
While Gaiman’s tweet does say that the legal stuff is all confidential, the press release that he links to says that he and McFarlane have “reached a deal that calls for declaring Gaiman a 50 percent owner of Spawn issues 9 and 26, the first three issues of a spin-off series on the angels and the issues’ contents”.
Gaiman has stated in the past that he only fought this lawsuit on the principle that creators should be entitled to their rightful dues and that he does not plan on keeping the money. Instead, Gaiman intends to give the proceeds of this lawsuit to comic book charities.
It’s nice to see Gaiman finally getting his dues… even if he doesn’t need them.