It seems the only time we ever hear about Spawn creator Todd McFarlane in the headlines is either through something cool in his toy line or if there’s a lawsuit involved.
This time, it’s the latter, and actually involves Al Simmons.
More details after the break.
In this case, that’s Al Simmons who was a friend of McFarlane as well as a former employee, who used to make personal appearances as Spawn, not the fictional ex-soldier sent to hell Simmons we’ve come to know and love.
When creating Spawn, McFarlane came up with the anti-hero’s secret identity thanks to his friend Al Simmons. What started the lawsuit shenanigans is a book that Simmons has published titled: The Art Of Being Spawn.
In the book, it’s said that Simmons takes a lot of credit for being the inspiration for Al Simmons. McFarlane is saying that the book has violated Simmons’ employment terms, breached his duty of loyalty, caused libel, exposed trade secrets, false endorsements, false advertising, trademark and copyright infringement.
The lawsuit also claims: ”“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.”
In total, McFarlane is suing for $75,000.