If this was the year that publishers started taking legitimate digital comics seriously, it was also the year they started taking bootleg digital comics seriously. A group of American publishers banded together to take down HTMLComics.com, while American and Japanese publishers banded together to target bootleg manga scan sites. Six months later, HTMLComics.com is still down (and likely to stay that way, as the authorities have confiscated their servers), while the manga sites are back in business—in part, perhaps, because many are hosted overseas and thus out of the reach of American and Japanese authorities.
Kicking off a year in which piracy and creators’ rights took center stage, Colleen Doran reveals that former clients have released some of work to the Kindle and Google Books without her consent, and despite the fact that they have no right to do so.
Legal | The attorney for Christopher Handley, the manga collector sentenced Feb. 11 to six months in prison on obscenity charges, has released a statement addressing the problem with the obscenity law, why his client thought his books were legal, and why he pleaded guilty.
“I know the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and others concerned about the defense of comic books specifically, and free speech generally, are upset that the case did not go to trial,” writes Eric Chase. “They are right to be. The Miller obscenity test is vague, indecipherable, and clearly chills protected speech. Among its most frightening aspects is that its ‘community standards’ element may allow ‘moral majority’ communities to dictate to the rest of us. The extortionate tool given to prosecutors through the receipt charge, with its mandatory minimum, gives incentive to defendants to not mount appropriate ‘community standards’ or ‘serious artistic value’ challenges. In defense of Chris Handley, given his choices, I suppose all I can do is ask: What would you have done?” [Anime News Network]
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What about when those pictures are juxtaposed with words — specifically the words of Incarnate creator Nick Simmons? And what if those words are denying that the pictures, which pretty clearly show that he plagiarized Tite Kubo’s hit manga Bleach, do any such thing? That’s worth an awful lot, as far as I’m concerned. At Topless Robot, Rob Bricken mashes up Simmons’ non-apology apology with the pictorial evidence to absolutely brutal effect. In a controversy that’s generated more than its fair share of memorable online commentary, this McCloudian approach has generated my favorite yet.
Publishing | The release of a statement Monday by Nick Simmons has done little to fend off widespread accusations that he plagiarized Bleach and other manga, as well as DeviantArt members, in his Radical Publishing miniseries Incarnate. If anything, the statement — characterized as a “non-apology apology” and “oil on a grease fire” — refocuses attention, and blame, on Simmons after much of the online discussion had branched off into debates about scanlations and fan works. (It also was noticed by The New York Times.) Tom Spurgeon’s humorous headline pretty much sums up the tone of Simmons’ two-paragraph remarks: “Plagiarist Apologizes For Being Awesome.”
Simon Jones, who writes a good post title, tackles some falsehoods that keep getting repeated in the debate. Gottsu-Iiyan, meanwhile, points to near-identical panels in Frank Miller’s Elektra Lives Again and Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita, and wonders whether there are double standards at play (last link via Brigid Alverson).
Incarnate creator Nick Simmons has responded to widespread accusations that he plagiarized Bleach and other popular manga, saying that “certain similarities” were “simply meant as an homage to artists I respect.”
Radical Publishing last week stopped production on the collection of Simmons’ three-issue miniseries amid growing claims he had copied panel compositions, character designs, dialogue and plot elements from eight manga, including One Piece, Hellsing, Vampire Hunter D and Bleach.
In a statement issued by Simmons’ representative and posted on Comics Worth Reading, the 21-year-old artist said: “Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are certain similarities between some of my work and the work of others. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any Manga fans or fellow Manga artists who feel I went too far. My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium. I am a big fan of Bleach, as well as other Manga titles. And I am certainly sorry if anyone was offended or upset by what they perceive to be the similarity between my work and the work of artists that I admire and who inspire me.”
A representative for Radical Publishing verified the statement comes from Simmons, son of KISS frontman and reality-TV star Gene Simmons.
Incarnate debuted in August with heavy promotional support from Radical and A&E TV, the network that airs Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels. The comic is showcased on the show’s webpage and sold through its online store.
The plagiarism allegations emerged early last week, igniting discussions — and art comparisons — on countless blogs, message boards and fan sites, with a Facebook group going so far as to call for legal action against Simmons. However, when alerted to the accusations via Twitter, Bleach creator Tite Kubo seemed more amused than anything: “I’m more interested in the fact that Gene Simmons’ son is a mangaka than whether he’s plagiarizing me or not.”
Radical Publishing has stopped production of its comic Incarnate while it investigates growing accusations that creator Nick Simmons plagiarized Bleach and other popular manga series.
The allegations against Simmons, son of KISS frontman and reality-TV star Gene Simmons, emerged at the beginning of the week on the GameFAQ forum before gaining steam Wednesday on fan sites and LiveJournal. The latter link presents perhaps the best visual support for the Bleach claims.
The Wikipedia entry for Nick Simmons now includes a section detailing “Accusations of Plagiarism” that lists eight manga — the insanely popular Hellsing, One Piece and Vampire Hunter D, among them — and an amateur artist from DeviantART. There are assertions that, in addition to panel compositions, character designs and poses, Simmons lifted dialogue and “plot segments” from other works. A group calling for legal action against the 21-year-old Simmons has begun on Facebook, where some members have declared today “Bleach Protection Day.”