Superman vs. Lex Luthor? Batman vs. Joker? Neither compare to REAL comic book rivalry of Neil Gaiman vs. Todd MacFarlane.
It's the most epic copyright infringement clash yet, featuring two of the industry's biggest titans battling it out over the rights to specific characters.
Gaiman is the bigger star, thanks to his classic comics series Sandman. But in the 1990s, MacFarlane was no slouch: his comic series Spawn led to a 1997 film adaptation that grossed nearly $100 million worldwide, a line of action figures and an HBO series. Back when Spawn was launching, he and Gaiman collaborated on creating three supporting characters: Medieval Spawn; Angela, a red-haired angel; and Cogliostro, a one-time Spawn ally.
By 2002, Gaiman wanted his share of proceeds on the characters he helped create, so he sued MacFarlane in federal court and won. Now Gaiman's launched a new battle, reports the Associated Press, for proceeds on three additional characters deemed to be derivative of the original three he co-created.
At a federal hearing in Wisconsin on Monday, Gaiman testified that he sees no difference between Dark Ages Spawn and Medieval Spawn, a character he co-created nearly two decades ago. "It looks like the same kind of thing," said Gaiman when shown an image of Dark Ages Spawn.