How Many Spawns Did Neil Gaiman Create?

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The ongoing legal action between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane over creation and ownership of characters from McFarlane’s Spawn series looks set to drag on even longer, with US District Judge Barbara Crabb giving both sides an additional ten days to submit additional arguments for their respective cases before reaching a verdict.

Having already won a case surrounding co-ownership of “Medieval Spawn” and “Angela,” the latest tussle between the two creators surrounds “Dark Ages Spawn,” “Domina” and “Tiffany,” who (Gaiman claims) are based heavily on his co-creations. At a hearing yesterday, however, McFarlane disagreed, and brought along Brian Holguin, the man who wrote the first appearance of Dark Ages Spawn, to back up his defense:

Holguin said he and another artist came up with Dark Ages Spawn on their own in 1998 and any similarities with to Gaiman had done five years earlier were not intentional.

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

Firstly: I think you’re underestimating the hunger in the audience for Italian Renaissance superheroes, Brian. Secondly, I’m not entirely sure how strong Gaiman’s case is here, because, sure, Dark Ages Spawn looks like Medieval Spawn, but both are clearly just variations on McFarlane’s original – Can Gaiman make the case that any historical variant Spawn owes something to his work?

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