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‘Gold Digger’s’ Fred Perry turns to Kickstarter for ‘LVL UP!’

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Fan comics might have a stigma in the United States, but in Japan they reach an audience that exceeds the entire American comics market. And now longtime American manga artist Fred Perry is looking to create his own.

Based on the popular MMORPG Final Fantasy 11, Fred Perry’s LVL UP! is a webcomic that follows the adventures of the cartoonist’s character Calcula Mihgo as she explores the video game world of Vana’diel. Perry has been producing LVL UP! since 2005, and is turning to Kickstarter this month to finance a print collection of the long-running series. As of this posting, Perry has raised roughly $6,500 of his $13,000 goal, and has until Oct. 2 to generate the rest.

Although Perry might be new to Kickstarter, he;s comics veteran who works in a subset of the industry many people overlook. Perry got his start in 1989 with a pin-up for the series Ninja High School and later worked on several manga imports before making a name for himself in 1993 with the launch of Gold Digger. Although Perry has done some moonlighting into the “mainstream” American comics world, Perry’s remained entrenched with Gold Digger and various other side projects, mostly through Antarctic Press.

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Wimpy Kid author sues Antarctic Press over Diary of a Zombie Kid

Jeff Kinney, the author behind the $500 million Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, has sued Antarctic Press, accusing the comic publisher of violating trademark laws with its Diary of a Zombie Kid series.

TheWrap reports the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boston by Wimpy Kid Inc., accuses the San Antonio-based publisher of using a title and cover design “confusingly similar” to those of the Wimpy Kid books in an obvious attempt “to confuse the public into believing that defendant’s books are additions to such series.” Read the lawsuit here.

Created by Fred Perry and David Hutchison, the August-debuting Diary of a Zombie Kid follows Bill Dookes, a fifth-grader whose mother volunteers for medical research only to bring home a mysterious zombie virus that leaves her son with “skin problems and body chemistry changes that make puberty look like a walk in the park” — not to mention a growing appetite for brains. A sequel, Diary of a Zombie Kid: Rotten Rules — an apparent nod to Kinney’s second book Rodrick Rules — is set for release in January.

Kinney’s six-book Wimpy Kid series, presented as the journal of middle-school student Greg Heffley, has sold more than 52 million copies in North America alone since its 2007 debut and spawned two movies and numerous merchandising tie-ins, including clothes, toys and games.

The complaint accuses Antarctic of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, false designation of origin, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution and deceptive trade practices, and asks the court to permanently enjoin the publisher from further infringement. Wimpy Kid Inc. also seeks triple damages, in addition to attorney’s fees and Antarctic’s profits from Diary of a Zombie Kid.

Antarctic Press Publisher Joe Dunn declined comment to the Boston Herald, saying, “Obviously, I would love to talk about it and give my side of it. However I’ve been advised not to say anything.” His attorney said the publisher will be answering the complaint “promptly.”


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