Is this stealing or what?

I caught wind of this article on one of the email lists I’m on. Gene Simmons’ son, Nick, has written a comic that is SO similar to the manga Bleach by Tite Kubo that it has spurned some heated Twitter conversations among people. What do you think? Should people be making money off fan-art? Although this is sort of different, because Nick claims that he’s never read “magma”, so that this is all his own devising. When you look at the art, its extremely hard to believe. Personally, I would be pretty furious if someone was using my work to make money off of, but hey, that’s just me. 🙂

Here’s the article in its entirety: I’ll just post a bit of it to give you a taste.

Nick Simmons/Bleach Manga Plagiarism Scandal Rocks Comics Twitterverse
Friday February 26, 2010

From Robot 6 and Anime News Network: The big manga news that hit the web yesterday involved Bleach , the hugely popular manga series by Tite Kubo (from Shonen Jump / VIZ Media) and Incarnate, a recently-released comic mini-series penned by Nick Simmons, the 20-year old aspiring rock star/cartoonist son of Gene Simmons of KISS fame.

Images surfaced on this LiveJournal site that provided pretty compelling comparisons between artwork and character designs in Incarnate with images from Bleach, One Piece and even a fan art image from Deviant Art, leading many fans to conclude that Simmons is guilty of plagiarism.

Radical, the publisher of Incarnate responded fairly quickly to the controversy by announcing that it halted plans to publish the graphic novel compilation of Incarnate “until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”

A VIZ Media representative also responded with this comment:
“We appreciate all our fans bringing this matter to our attention and we are currently investigating this issue.”

Even Tite Kubo got wind of this, and responded via Twitter:

“A LOT of foreign fans have contacted me overnight about a comic book plagiarizing BLEACH. I don’t really understand English, but I went and looked at the website, and apparently it was something about a comic that Gene Simmons’ son is writing.”

“I’m more interested in the fact that Gene Simmons’ son is a manga-ka than whether he’s plagiarizing me or not.”

Needless to say, the reaction from across the web was swift and largely negative, and possibly only inflamed by some Facebook posts credited to Simmons that many have concluded was written by an imposter, looking to troll for insults.

Nevertheless, the faux Simmons quotes “I’ve never read a Japanese comic book or ‘magma.'” and “Why would I name a comic after laundry detergent!” lead to the renaming of a 4chan bulletin board to “Detergents and Magma”. Heck, some folks have gone as far as to call him a “douchebag plagiarist and a moron.” But that wasn’t all that was said online — I jumped into the fray on Twitter and got a whole lot of fascinating responses from comics fans and creators.


So granted – things do not look good for Simmons. The examples posted are too numerous and too similar to be a pure coincidence, in my opinion. But the sheer feeding frenzy, where fans are rushing up to bash Simmons and defend Tite Kubo’s rights as a creator got me thinking about another related issue: copyright infringement and online piracy, which is a far more frequently committed and far more damaging violation of Kubo-sensei’s, and many other manga and anime creators’ rights.


About kitkat

I'm a teen services librarian in Chili (pronounced Chai-Lie) New York with a passion for engaging teens in the love of reading, libraries and having fun!
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