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Trivia / Spawn

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The comics

  • Channel Hop: Angela does this twice: Neil Gaiman was awarded the full publishing rights to the character after a long legal dispute with co-creator Todd McFarlane. Gaiman eventually signed on to Marvel, and she was brought into the Marvel Universe during the finale of the "Age of Ultron" event. Following the Age of Ultron, Marvel Comics purchased the character wholesale from Gaiman, and has made her a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
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  • Exiled from Continuity: Chapel, who was responsible for Al Simmons' death and transformation into Spawn, wasn't allowed to be used in the movie, the animated series, or later comics. The reason was due to Image's creator-owned policy, where any character is owned by the person who created them. While Chapel plays heavily in Spawn's backstory, he was not considered to have been created by Todd McFarlane, but rather Rob Liefeld, because he debuted before Spawn in Youngblood #1 (keep in mind that at the time Image attempted a Shared Universe like Marvel and DC, which didn't exactly pan out). Liefeld was fired from Image in 1996, taking the rights to Chapel with him, and making the character unavailable to all.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Something of a running gag with Todd McFarlane and Spawn.
    • McFarlane was sued by NHL player Anthony Rory Twist over the mobster Tony Twist, who McFarlane had admitted was named after him. In 2004 McFarlane was found guilty of having profited on Twist's likeness and eventually settled out of court.
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    • McFarlane's habit of claiming sole ownership over the characters he co-created - dating back to his work on Venom - has gotten him into a lot of trouble with Neil Gaiman, who wrote the stories that introduced the key characters Angela, Cogliostro, and Medieval Spawn in 1993. This resulted in an arduous legal battle that lasted until 2004, where a court hearing granted them joint ownership. Gaiman later returned to court over expies of Medieval Spawn and Angela and McFarlane's use of Miracleman, and it was ultimately decided that Gaiman would get sole ownership of Angela - eventually selling her to Marvel Comics in 2013. It wasn't disclosed who would get Medieval Spawn and Cog, though the latter reappearing in Spawn indicates McFarlane at the very least shares ownership.
    • McFarlane claimed he had gotten the rights to Miracleman when he purchased Eclipse Comics''s creative assets in 1996, and introduced the character into Spawn as a cosmic entity called the "Man Of Miracles/Mother of Creation. In 2001, Gaiman — who claimed to have co-ownership of the character — launched a second lawsuit against McFarlane to get ownership of the character back, but it was found that both their claims to the character were invalid as the rights were still owned by the original creator, Mike Anglo. In 2009, Marvel purchased the character from Anglo and began republishing old stories.
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    • The character intended to be "Overkill" was given the nonsensical name of "Overtkill" in the comics and toy line because Hasbro already had an active toy trademark on that name when the comic and toys began. They later used the original "Overkill" in the HBO series.
    • Prior to all of those, he was forced to change the name of "Todd Toys" to "McFarlane Toys" because Mattel claimed that it infringed on one of their trademarks (that being the character of Todd from the Barbie line). The first two waves of Spawn figures came out under the original name (as seen below, one wonders if Mattel wasn't simply doing this out of spite for losing the tie-in merchandise rights).
  • What Could Have Been: McFarlane Toys almost didn't exist- Todd had been shopping the Spawn brand to existing toy companies and Mattel even made prototypes. If he'd gone with those instead of opting to do the job himself, the entire 90s action figure industry would've been VERY different.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Image Comics Database, and the Spawn Wiki.

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