Well, now we're back on familiar turf. Todd McFarlane has filed another lawsuit. The defendant is one Mr. Al Simmons.
For those who don't know who Simmons is, he was the guy McFarlane named Spawn after. Simmons was touted as the inspiration for Spawn and McFarlane hired him to make appearances in a Spawn costume at comic conventions and at McFarlane's own comic shop when McFarlane wanted a boost for a new release (Simmons' wife is also named as a defendant. She used to work for McFarlane's studio).
Simmons wrote a book, pictured here at the right. This apparently is what has McFarlane cheesed off. The charges include violating employment terms, breach of loyalty, libel for damaging McFarlane's reputation (like he needs the help. -- G), exposing trade secrets, false endorsements, false advertising, trademark infringement, and copyright infringement. “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.” McFarlane has also deleted any mention of Simmons from his web site. He's seeking a minimum $75,000 in damages.
There's an old saying that friends should not go into business together.
Ladies and gentlemen? Exhibit A.