With the winter holidays over and the accompanying arguments with friends and family surely settled, let’s capstone it with collecting the key books involved with one of the most infamous comic book feuds of all, the one between Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman. Not to oversimplify or make light of the situation, but as a read-along to history.
At the center of the conflict is the ownership stakes over characters: Angela, Count Cogliostro (aka Cain), and Medieval Spawn. All three made their 1st appearances in the same book, which happens to also be the first Spawn book that Neil Gaiman wrote for, Spawn #9. In a story that spans across two different points in time, the book introduces readers to the angel named Angela and her hobby of hunting Hellspawns, complete with a permit to do so.
Like many of the other books in the Spawn series, the newsstand edition holds a higher-market value than the direct edition, but with a much lower volume of sales. Newsstand edition’s FMVs for CGC 9.8 and 9.6 are currently $350 and $140, and direct edition’s FMVs are $80 and $35, respectively. This gap between the two editions isn’t too far off from the newsstand vs direct FMVs of Spawn #1 (1992). Outside of the difference in sales volume for the two editions of Spawn #9, the overall market trend has been flat over the past few years.
Neil Gaiman also wrote a few other Spawn issues such as Spawn #26 and Angela #1-3 (which comprises Angela’s Hunt). Without getting too deep into the legal history, it appears Neil Gaiman ended up with the rights to Angela. Angela has since found a place in the Marvel universe in the royal Asgardian family, as a daughter of Odin and so, a sister to Thor and Loki. Even with Hela having made her MCU debut, perhaps there is room for another sister?
Another key component of the conflict between the authors is Miracleman (who was formerly known as Marvelman). Neil Gaiman first worked on the character in Total Eclipse #4, a crossover series for Eclipse Comics. Things started getting muddy when Todd McFarlane bought up Eclipse Comics’ assets. As part of Image Comics, Miracleman made his first appearance in Hellspawn #6 (2001). The only sale of note for Hellspawn #6 was a CGC 9.6 that sold in Dec 2019 for $10. Raw copies of Total Eclipse #4 can be found for under $5; might as well get the whole series.
If things weren’t complicated enough already, Mick Anglo the original creator of Marvelman entered into the chat. Fast forward a few years, it would appear that Mick Anglo’s ownership claim over Marvelman has won out. He has since sold those rights to Marvel Comics. After a few more legal bumps and a canceled series, a single page story in the recently published Marvel Comics #1000 (2019) hopefully marks the start of a cool Neil Gaiman Miracleman run. On the left is the cover for the 2nd printing of Marvel Comics #1000, featuring Miracleman.
From the feud between Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman, it sure does seem that Marvel has emerged with all the spoils.
“And, of course, to Todd, for making it necessary.” – Neil Gaiman, book dedication in Marvel 1602
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