Gaiman argued that three of the characters in artist Todd McFarlane’s series were derivative of characters Gaiman had previously created for McFarlane, and therefore he was owed royalties.
McFarlane, who created the Spawn series back in the early 1990s, denied in court that the characters were derivative, but U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb ruled against McFarlane, saying the characters Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany were indeed derivative of Gaiman’s creations Angela and Medieval Spawn.
In her ruling Crabb noted that, like Angela, Domina and Tiffany were “warrior angels with voluptuous physiques, long hair and mask-like eye makeup. all three wear battle uniforms consisting of thong bikinis, garters, wide weapon belts, elbow-length gloves and ill-fitting armor bras.”
This is not the first time Gaiman has taken McFarlane to court. After McFarlane hired Gaiman to write an issue of Spawn, McFarlane continued to use the characters Gaiman had created (Angela and Medieval Spawn) without making any royalties payment to Gaiman. In 2002, a Wisconsin court awarded Gaiman joint ownership of the characters, but eight years later neither side has agreed how much Gaiman is owed.