Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bad artists copy

Animax has re-scheduled its prime time line-up. Jake and I are severely disappointed. No Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Bleach tonight (We-ell, the second part is not so true. We ended up watching Bleach on DVD).

I was trying to get to the bottom of the re-scheduling, so I went to the Animax Asia website. The new schedule is still a mystery to me, but I stumbled on a Jasmine tweet with a link to an article on Bleachness about an American artist Nick Simmons allegedly plagiarizing Tite Kubo's Bleach. The folks at the LiveJournal group have compiled very convincing evidence. Panels from Simmons' comic Incarnate were compared to drawings from the Bleach manga. The similarities are indeed striking (More images on the original Bleachness post):

The tweet also included a link to an article on Comics Worth Reading about Nick Simmons not quite addressing the allegations. This is what he has to say:
“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.”
It's incredible how he seems to think he hasn't done anything wrong. My Communications professor would flay him alive. He evades the issue of his copying, and calls it an "homage." The bloody cheek! In another article on Comic Attack, I read that fans have also accused Simmons of taking from other manga like Hellsing and One-Piece, and from an artist on deviantArt.

Radical, the publishers of Incarnate, have suspended publication and distribution of the comic while "making efforts...to contact the publishers of the works in question in an effort to resolve this matter." Meanwhile, through Twitter, Tite Kubo remarks:
"Last night until this morning, I got a ton of "an American comic is copying Bleach!" messages from overseas fans! Looking at the site I don't speak English, but I saw something like "Gene Simmons' son Nick Simmons who draws manga-style comics."

Honestly, more than whether they re[se]mble each other or not, I wonder that Gene Simmons' son is a mangaka..."
Kubo's comments seem to exude a very Zen attitude to the whole thing. Hail, Sensei.

Legally, though, I would like to see Simmons face the allegations head-on. If found guilty, he should be made to answer for his transgressions. Plagiarism is no small crime. It is an act of disrespect to all artists who actually work hard so that their creations are original. It undermines creative integrity. Plagiarism is just being plain lazy. And it's painfully embarrassing when you're caught.

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