X-POSITION: Bennett Talks "Years Of Future Past's" Teenage Mutant Savior Heroes
“I think it’s very interesting that you bring up Shia because I just brought him up to Mike [Carey] the other day. I was proposing that we introduce a character based on him, because he does crystallize a lot of what we talk about. We’ve had a lot of discussion about whether copyright is a good thing or a horrible thing. What would happen if Superman was copyright-free? And people could add onto his story? Maybe we would end up with incredibly powerful stories that add a whole dimension of life to our existence because they would be able to build in a way that they can’t build otherwise. I don’t know. On the other hand, I want to get paid for what I do. […] I think we should write to Shia and his people for permission to use him and his likeness in our story. If they said ‘No,’ it would bring up a lot of interesting issues. Wouldn’t it?”
– The Unwritten co-creator Peter Gross, commenting on Shia LaBeouf, the public domain and storytelling, in an interview with Comic Book Resources
After last week hiring a skywriter to pen an apology to Daniel Clowes, Shia LaBeouf appeared to bait the cartoonist Tuesday on Twitter with a photo of the “Storyboard for my next short ‘Daniel Boring,'” an obvious reference to both Clowes’ Eightball serial “David Boring” and the actor’s seemingly unending plagiarism controversy.
But while LaBeouf didn’t get a rise out of Clowes, he did receive a cease-and-desist letter from the cartoonist’s attorney — which the actor promptly posted on the social media platform.
After pointing out that the storyboard drawings are copied from “David Boring,” Clowes’ attorney Michael J. Kump notes that, “if the foregoing isn’t outrageous enough conduct by your client, Mr. LaBeouf in his tweet today plagiarized Mr. Clowes’ own description of ‘David Boring'” as “it’s like Fassbinder meets half-baked Nabokov on Gilligan’s Island.” (Also worth noting: The photos fanned out beneath the drawing are of actors Patton Oswalt and Seth Rogen, who recently mocked LaBeouf’s ongoing Twitter apologies.)
Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
So without further ado, let’s get to it …
If the past few days of Shia LaBeouf-related news weren’t puzzling enough, here’s more: Following the revelation that his short film HowardCantour.com was nearly wholly lifted without credit or permission from Daniel Clowes’ comic Justin M. Damiano, the subsequent discovery that his multiple apologies were copied from sources ranging from Yahoo! Answers to Kanye West, it appears the text of the “About” page of LaBeouf’s Campaign Book website was directly ripped from the description of Dan Nadel’s soon-to-close PictureBox — something noted by Nadel himself on The Comics Journal.
The Campaign Book:
The connection between actor Shia LaBeouf and the comics world predates Monday’s revelation that he appropriated — without credit, permission or the legal rights to do so — much of Daniel Clowes’ Justin M. Damiano for his short film HowardCantour.com. In 2012, he self-published a few comic books, which received mostly perplexed reviews.
It also appears that, at least at one point, LaBeouf planned to bring a release from his Campaign Book imprint to BOOM! Studios.
On Dec. 4, 2012, LaBeouf announced on his @thecampaignbook Twitter account that a book titled Hotah had picked up a “publishing partner,” BOOM! Studios. Accompanying the tweet was a piece of art (above) with the BOOM! Town logo — it’s the imprint that released Shannon Wheeler’s Eisner-winning collection I Thought You Would Be Funnier — with a version of the same image, logo intact, used as LaBeouf’s Twitter background.
Following the discovery that Shia LaBeouf’s 2012 short film HowardCantour.com is a nearly exact adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano — minus the credit or permission from the actor — the Transformers actor took to Twitter Monday night to offer an apology and respond to rapidly growing accusations of plagiarism.
In a series of tweets, LaBeouf wrote (slightly edited for format), “Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work. In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation. I’m embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration. I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew that it would make a poignant & relevant short. I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it. I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want @danielclowes to know that I have a great respect for his work.”
About an hour later, the actor wrote succinctly, “I fucked up.”
UPDATE 12/17/13 10:45 AM: CBR News reached HowardCantour.com star Jim Gaffigan’s management for comment: “Jim was an actor for hire on this project and had no creative input. We were all as surprised by this news as everybody else.”
UPDATE 11:05 PM: Shia LaBeouf has responded to reports via Twitter. Click here to read LeBouf’s response.
Actor and occasional cartoonist Shia LaBeouf has released online a short film titled HowardCantour.com, which stars comedian Jim Gaffigan as a defensive Internet film critic. Nothing wrong with that, except, as BuzzFeed noticed, the film bears a striking resemblance to Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic by Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes.
As the website points out, the film and the comic open with the same narration: “A critic is a warrior, and each of us on the battlefield have the means to glorify or demolish (whether a film, a career, or an entire philosophy) by influencing perception in ways that if heartfelt and truthful, can have far-reaching repercussions.”
It goes on from there. According to BuzzFeed and Wired, the film copies or approximates Clowes’ dialogue throughout, although LeBeouf – who, by the way, is on record as being a fan of Clowes’ work – has been quoted as saying the film came about “organically.”
Comic strips | Cartoonist Tom Batiuk, whose Funky Winkerbean has addressed such topics as teen pregnancy, land mines and capital punishment, will next turn his attention to gay rights in a storyline about a gay couple that wants to attend the prom at the comic strip’s fictional fictional Westview High School. “It struck me that whenever I sit in classes at Midview High, which I still do, my overall impression is that the younger generation’s attitudes toward gays is more open and accepting than their predecessors,” Batiuk said. “It’s not perfect, but it shows promise for an emerging generation that will bring this issue (intolerance) to an end. I wanted to take those two opposing viewpoints to reach across that divide of intolerance.” The month-long storyline begins April 30. Funky Winkerbean appears in more than 400 newspapers nationwide. [The Chronicle-Telegram]
“The comic book world is a tough business. If you’re a celebrity with a comic, it already has a residue of shit on it because so many shit celebrity slash wrestler slash race-car driver slash who-gives-a-fuck books have already tainted the possible audience for it. This is not a get-rich-quick thing, it’s not a way to prolong my career – I would like the same fans that I respect in comics to like my books, and I know the only way to get there is to earn it, and the only way to earn it is to come up the same way everybody else does, as much as I can.”
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo opened its doors for the 2012 edition at 1:00 in the afternoon on Friday the 13th. I decided to tempt fate, spit in the eye of superstition and join a trio of friends from my local comic shop to make the four-hour trek between Detroit and Chicago, take in the sights to see at C2E2 and return home, all in one day. That’s right: I was silly enough to think a whirlwind visit to Chicago would be a good idea.
We hit the road around eight o’clock and with a pair of stops on the way to coincide with the wonderfully easy traffic all the way into the great state of Illinois, we made it to McCormick place by 11:15 Chicago time. Coming in from the south side of the convention center, we mingled with Chicago White Sox traffic (oddly enough, the Detroit Tigers were in town to play the Sox) and managed to find parking at McCormick after driving through the shipping area of the parking facility.