When Spawn #9 came out in early 1993, it sported a cover price of $1.95. Right now at Mile High Comics, you can order a near mint copy for only a little bit more than that. But clearly, the contents of that installment are much more valuable than the physical comic itself.
That issue, guest written by Neil Gaiman, introduced Angela and Medieval Spawn, and induced a years-long maelstrom of legal battles between Gaiman and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane over the question of ownership. Back in 2002, a jury found that Gaiman was co-owner of Angela and Medieval Spawn — the Associated Press wrote a tidy recap of the situation, if you can get past that intro.
The latest development came late last week, as Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that McFarlane owes Gaiman for profits from Dark Ages Spawn, Tiffany and Domina — three characters ruled to be “derivative” of Gaiman’s creations. The ruling, available in PDF form over at The Beat, is surprisingly colorful, and shows that Crabb really dove into the legal back issue bin in rendering her decision:
“Tiffany and Domina are visually similar to Angela and share her same basic traits.
All three are 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.”
“If defendant really wanted to differentiate the new Hellspawn, why not make him a
Portuguese explorer in the 16th century; an officer of the Royal Navy in the 18th century, an
idealistic recruit of Simon Bolivar in the 19th century, a companion of Odysseus on his
voyages, a Roman gladiator, a younger brother of Emperor Nakamikado in the early 18th
century, a Spanish conquistador, an aristocrat in the Qing dynasty, an American Indian
warrior or a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I?”