UPDATE: Just to be clearer about this, the money in question is in an escrow account and there is really no discussion over its exact disposition. As noted it would go to legal fees, or Neil Gaiman or other things. In addition, the profits from the characters Gaiman created—the actual subject of the lawsuit—have yet to be audited.
For his part, on Twitter, Gaiman has announced:
@Comixace Oh good. In other news, am setting up a Charitable Foundation.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 5, 2012
Although when a final settlement was reached in the epic Gaiman/McFarlane legal battle a few weeks ago, most people thought it was all over. But now there is The Accounting. Daniel Best dug up the settlement papers which mentioned just how much money Todd McFarlane might owe Neil Gaiman.
In 2008, as part of his bankruptcy case, McFarlane was ordered to play $382,000 into Escrow to offset any possible losses that might arise in the Gaiman suit. Now that McFarlane has lost, the entire amount, with interest, has been released. The upside of this is that, based on a reasonable average interest of 5% after four years and a bit, Gaiman can expect to see about $464,000, give or take a few thousand (hey – I'm no good at maths, so if you can do better by all means do so) – and that'd be the start. There's still an accounting of Angela and Co to happen yet. The flip-side to this is that both sides have to pay their own attorney fees and costs, and when you realise that this case has been going on since February 2002, you can imagine what those costs would be. You can only hope that the settlement between the pair included an extra sum to cover those very sizable fees. It probably won't hurt to give McFarlane's store a bit of a plug – he might need the extra cash.
HOWEVER, it is still not that simple.
Gaiman was asked about this money, and responded on his Tumblr:
So I just read that you got $382,000 from McFarlane. What are you gonna do with all that money?
I read that too. It was a particularly stupid piece of jumping-to-conclusions journalism. All they actually knew was that the judge had ordered that amount of money (which had been placed into escrow for the court case when Todd came out of bankruptcy the last time, as a condition of him getting out of bankruptcy) released from escrow. When the final agreements and accountings were done I could be getting none of it or ten times it.
And I stated when I filed the court case against Todd that I was giving any and all money I made from the legal case to to comics-related charities. Stated it again, every time we won another round.
And it’s still true. I said I was doing it for the principle of the thing, and I was.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.