Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When Titans Clash: Comic-Book Creator Edition; New York Times, 6/16/10

Dave Itzkoff, New York Times; When Titans Clash: Comic-Book Creator Edition:

"Comic-book creators are generally better known for imagining and illustrating the larger-than-life conflicts of fearsome opponents, not for engaging in them themselves. So it was somewhat unusual to find Neil Gaiman, the best-selling fiction writer and comics author (“Sandman”), in a Wisconsin court on Monday, where he is suing his onetime colleague Todd McFarlane over royalties that Mr. Gaiman says he is owed from Mr. McFarlane’s Spawn comics series.

The Associated Press reported that both Mr. Gaiman and Mr. McFarlane gave testimony in a United States District Court in Madison, in the latest round of a dispute involving characters from Spawn, a series about a murdered C.I.A. agent who becomes a warrior for hell after selling his soul to a demon.

Mr. Gaiman said that a character called Dark Ages Spawn was essentially a copy of Medieval Spawn, which he had created for Spawn issue No. 9 in 1993, and that angel characters called Domina and Tiffany were copies of Angela, who also had first appeared in that issue.

Mr. Gaiman said, ”It looks like the same kind of thing,” after being shown an image from a Dark Ages Spawn comic book. ”It’s a knight-in-armory kind of Spawn.”

Mr. McFarlane said all the Spawn characters share certain features. The writer Brian Holguin, who was also involved with the creation of the Dark Ages Spawn character, testified that the similarities were unintentional.

”We were trying to sell comic books,” Mr. Holguin said, according to The A.P. ”We could have done Italian Renaissance Spawn, but I’m not sure it would have sold as well.”

A jury found in 2002 that Mr. Gaiman was a co-copyright holder for the Medieval Spawn and Angela characters, as well as a third named Cogliostro, and was owed royalties. They have yet to come to an agreement on payment. Lawyers for Mr. Gaiman said the author will donate any money from the case to charity."

No comments: