Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane are back in court. Their previous case in 2002 was about royalty and ownership details regarding the characters Angela, Medieval Spawn, and Cogliostro from Spawn #9 and a follow-up mini-series penned by Gaiman. The decision in that case found that Gaiman was owed royalties for the characters' use. Several years later they're back in court essentially trying to figure out how much money Gaiman is owed. A new element that has emerged this time is that of characters who have appeared in the series since the original case that bear strong similarities to Angela and Medieval Spawn: Tiffany, Domina, and Dark Ages Spawn.
Those interested can follow the case closely thanks to Maggie Thompson attending the proceedings and posting daily updates on her blog. The entries are interesting to read, both as nerd legal drama and reading transcripts of Gaiman being cross-examined:
Grimsley (McFarlane's lawyer) tried to introduce a connection between Gaiman's Timothy Hunter character in Books of Magic (December 1990-March 1991) and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter character (1997-2007), but objections on grounds of relevance were sustained. Grimsley continued, 'In creating characters there are certain stock characteristics that you might apply to the endeavor, depending on the nature of the character. ... Let's take a knight in armor. You might have armor, right?' Gaiman replied, 'If he's a knight in armor, he would definitely have armor. If he didn't have armor, he would be a knight not in armor.'
Here's a picture that made the rounds during the original trial of a brilliant kid who waited outside the courtroom with a copy of Spawn #9; he cornered Gaiman and McFarlane and talked them both into signing the comic.