In a long expected move, Neil Gaiman filed suit Thursday against Todd McFarlane in U.S. District Court, alleging fraud, copyright violations, nonpayment of royalties and that McFarlane made wrongful claim to "MiracleMan."
Gaiman, who wrote "MiracleMan" and is named as one of the owners in a confused web of rights to the character, is claiming McFarlane is using characters he created, including Angela, Medieval Spawn and Cogliostro, without authorization. Gaiman has previously publicly stated that he would trade the rights to the popular Angela for Todd's portion of the MiracleMan rights, something McFarlane seemed reluctant to do. McFarlane has publicly toyed with bringing the character back in his line of Spawn comics, stating there is no question in his mind as to who holds the actual rights:
"If somebody feels as strong about MiracleMan as I do, then I invite them to take as hard a stance as I will. If somebody steps that way, then we'll let somebody else decide which of us is right. Maybe neither of us will be. Maybe we'll both partially will be. Who knows? Until any of that happens, then I take the position that I own MiracleMan. He was sitting there in the auction. He was a part of the auction we bought and I picked it up", McFarlane said in a 2001 CBR News interview.
In addition to Gaiman, the Wisconsin company Marvels and Miracles LLC is a plaintiff in the suit. The company owns the "MiracleMan" rights of Gaiman, fellow "MiracleMan" writer Alan Moore and illustrator Mark Buckingham.