Todd McFarlane Productions, the comic book publishing arm of Todd McFarlane's business empire, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company's filing listed a $15 million claim resulting from a lawsuit by former NHL player Tony Twist as the largest single creditor. Twist sued McFarlane over the name of a brutal mafia boss in McFarlane's Spawn comics, 'Antonio Twistelli,' who was known as'Tony Twist.' Back in 2000 a jury in St. Louis, where Twist played hockey, awarded him a judgment of $24.5 million, which the trial judge overruled. The Missouri Supreme Court ordered a new trial and in July another St. Louis jury awarded Twist $15 million in damages.
McFarlane, who was also embroiled in a lengthy legal dispute with Neil Gaiman over the rights to the Miracleman comic book property and the rights to characters created by Gaiman for various Spawn-related comics (see 'The Final Verdict: Gaiman Wins'), has indicated that he will appeal the $15 million award in the 'Twist' case, but meanwhile he has put Todd McFarlane Productions, the comic book publisher entity responsible for publishing the Spawn comics containing the 'Tony Twist' character, under the protection of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the Arizona Republic, McFarlane Toys is Todd McFarlane Productions second largest creditor with an outstanding debt of $683,902. McFarlane Toys is the largest of McFarlane's seven businesses, which, according to the Republic, had aggregate sales of more than $50 million last year.