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Friday, December 14, 2001

Bob Kane was, by all accounts, a strange guy. He didn�t have much talent, but he had a certain amount of luck, and most people know that Bob Kane was the creator of Batman, even if they don�t know that he didn�t write or draw any Batman stuff. No-one else who did anything got any credit in Bob Kane�s head. The other people who drew Batman � even Neal Adams, or Frank Miller, in Bob�s mind, were just his �ghosts�. The only thing that was important to Bob Kane was Bob Kane...

And I keep thinking of him after a conversation a couple of nights ago with Joe Quesada, Editor in Chief of Marvel. �Todd McFarlane says to tell you that on this Miracleman stuff, he�ll take it all the way. He�ll take it to the mat,� he said. �He told me to tell you, though, that if you could sort it all out by just getting in a room with him, man to man, and hammering out an agreement. And he made me promise to say that, if Neil keeps up, Todd�s going to go public with all the dirt on Neil he can find, and Neil�s fans won�t like him any more.�

And the last lingering shreds of respect I had for McFarlane just went away, like that.

I�d been feeling almost sorry for him recently; his comics don�t sell; his toys are no longer selling, his company has been imploding, his long-time trusted employees have left or are leaving, and are polite in public but honest in private about why they left; even his baseballs are worth less and less.

And I decided to stop feeling sorry for him, at that point, too.

I�ve no desire at all to get into a room with McFarlane and sort it out �man to man�, only because I did that once already, in May 1997. We came to an agreement, then we put it in writing, over my share of the stuff I�d created for him, and within three months he�d quietly started to renege on every part of the deal (although it took me a while to discover that). Why would another �man to man� deal be any different?

But seeing that offers are being made...

Hey Todd, if you�re reading this, this is what I�d say if we did get into that room...

1) You agree to abide by the May 1997 agreement. (It�s the one where you agreed I�d have your share of Miracleman, in exchange for my future shares of everything from Cogliostro and Medieval Spawn. Remember?)

2) You pay all sums of money due under that agreement, after you pay for an independent audit, so we know all the numbers are right.

3) You pay all legal expenses I�ve incurred so far trying to get this sorted out.

4) You make a public apology (in writing is fine. Online, or in the pages of the CBG or Wizard.)

5) You make a hefty donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. (A few years ago, I�d�ve said a million, maybe half a million. These days it�s not clear that you�ve still got that kind of money, so it�s negotiable. But a serious donation nonetheless.)


....

There.

On a more interesting subject, the plans for the launch of Coraline are coming together, as are the plans for the next six months of this website.

My favourite thing about Coraline (next novel, for children although adults seem able to cope with it okay) is that it's going to be released first as an Audio Book, next June, several months before the paper version comes out. And I'll be recording the audio next month. We are hoping that incidental music, and the song the rats sing, will be done by Stephen Merritt's Gothic Archies.
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