Todd McFarlane Sues Al Simmons For Being 'Spawn'

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Todd McFarlane Sues Al Simmons For Being 'Spawn'

Post  Apologist Puncher on Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:07 am

Todd McFarlane Sues Al Simmons For Being Spawn
Written on October 1, 2012 by Rich Johnston in Comics

Okay, this is just surreal. Todd McFarlane is suing Al Simmons, his former friend and employee, after whom who he named the secret identity of his character Spawn.

And who he then employed to dress up as Spawn and appear at various comic conventions, and launches at his comic store.

And its all due to a book that Simmons wrote, The Art Of Being Spawn, in which McFarlane claims Simmons has stated that Simmons’ life was the inspiration for Spawn, and that Simmons has violated his employment terms and breached his duty of loyalty, as well as alleging libel for damaging his reputation, and exposing trade secrets, false endorsements, false advertising and both trademark and copyright infringement. He is claiming damages of at least $75,000. Al Simmons’ wife, and fellow ex-employee Melanie Simmons, is also named as a defendant.

Todd has had a history of this… he named Spawn’s wife and child after his own, named Spawn’s best friend Terry Fitzgerald after a senior member of his publisher, and then transformed by Dave Sim‘s Cerebus into “Ferry Titz” Gerald.

The lawsuit claims that “Al Simmons, who was flattered and eagerly gave his consent to McFarlane in 1993 for his name to be a part of ‘Spawn,’ was not the inspiration for ‘Spawn’s’ central character and no one has ever confused the character with Defendant Al Simmons… Curiously, Defendant Al Simmons has, over the years, as ‘Spawn’ enjoyed popularity, remarked on how his association with Plaintiffs has provided him with some name recognition or notoriety, where he had none before ‘Spawn.’… Defendant Simmons has, in effect, traded on Plaintiffs’ fame, brand and copyright protected creation, and now is deliberately using falsities in the Book to further attempt to improperly capitalize and infringe upon the McFarlane Companies’ property interests and McFarlane’s name, likeness and identity.”

I tell you this, I had no interest in reading the book before. As a result of reading this lawsuit, I’ve ordered a copy. Guerrilla marketing campaign anyone?

Probably not. has removed all trace, it seems, of Al Simmons from the website. Because it’s possible that articles like this, which claim Al Simmons as the inspiration for Spawn, might not go down well. Thank you Google Cache.

Let’s hear the man speak;

Does McFarlane even MAKE comics anymore, or does he spend all his time making toys and sitting in court??

BJ Routh and Bryan Singer WERE the worst thing to happen to Superman since Bepo the Super Monkey.

Apologist Puncher

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Re: Todd McFarlane Sues Al Simmons For Being 'Spawn'

Post  thecolorsblend on Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:11 am

A lot of decisions McFarlane made early on later ended up screwing him. The characters Medieval Spawn and Angela are good examples, created as they were by Neil Gaiman. A judge later ruled, if I recall, that as there was no work-for-hire agreement in place between Gaiman and McFarlane, Gaiman is the legal creator and I think owner of those characters. For a while there, they were poised to become little cottage industries for McFarlane's company. The legal decision presumably had some effect on that. And then there's Al Simmons' murderer originally being Chapel... a creation of Rob Liefeld from back when Image was trying to be a shared universe of superhero characters. Liefeld departing Image would tend to be a complication in all that.

McFarlane has done less creative stuff and more business stuff for the past several years. I think he's the Image publisher these days. I think he's even the guy Kirkman gave his Walking Dead pitch to way back when so there's something to be said for McFarlane knowing talent when he sees it.

Even so... I just never saw the guy's hype. His art style always seemed like a second wave John Byrne clone (which doesn't mean it's bad, but let's call it what it is), I was never crazy about his scripts (to the extent he ever developed writing chops) and I think he's more of a comics mogul than an out-and-out comic creator, esp these days.

Still, I would argue that he raised the bar for action figures and those types of collectibles. Say whatever you want about the guy but he's really the one who made figures that had appeal to adults. Yeah, the wind was at his back for 90% of his career but I have to respect the guy's business savvy.


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