Todd McFarlane and several of his companies have filed suit in federal court against former McFarlane employees Al and Melanie Simmons over the publication of Al Simmons book, The Art of Being Spawn. The suit alleges that the book misappropriates confidential information and violates intellectual property rights.
Al Simmons was an employee of McFarlane, and Melanie Simmons was the company’s human resources executive. In the Art of Being Spawn, Simmons says his life was the inspiration for the Spawn character, which McFarlane disputes. McFarlane also says the book discloses confidential information which the Simmons’ had agreed not to disclose. McFarlane objects to the use of his name and the Spawn brand in marketing the book, including the tag line "with contributions by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane," which appears on the cover. And the plaintiffs allege that copyrighted material was used without permission. Damages over $75,000 are alleged, and an injunction is requested.
The book was published last April and distributed by Image, which is not named as a defendant (McFarlane is part owner of Image). The book no longer appears on the Amazon or Image Websites, but does appear on the Amazon UK site (although it’s not available).