The Swipist #1: Nick Simmons — UPDATE

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kubosimmons The Swipist #1: Nick Simmons    UPDATE
UPDATE: A few places are reporting that the “Nick Simmons” who showed up at a Facebook page called Calling for legal action against Nick Simmons for plagiarism of other workswas the real deal with a lot of obviously outrageous comments, but he was not.

Word broke yesterday via Live Journal that Nick Simmons, best known as the son of musician Gene, had been found to be stealing from the art of Tite Kubo (Bleach) in his Radical comic Incarnate. We’ve filched bug one example above…there are many more. That’s Kubo on the left, Simmons on the right. While we had previously praised Simmons’ for being a rare nerdlebrity who didn’t just write his comic, but actually drew it…perhaps that was not so much the case.

Rich J. was the first on the case and upon contacting Radical, they actually pulled the book:

We at Radical Publishing, Inc. and Radical Comics, Inc. are quite concerned to hear the news surrounding Nick Simmons’s Incarnate Comic Book. We are taking this matter seriously and making efforts now to contact the publishers of the works in question in an effort to resolve this matter. We have halted further production and distribution of the “Incarnate” comic book and trade paperback until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. Rest assured that Radical is taking swift action regarding this matter and will continue in its efforts to maintain the integrity and protect the intellectual property of artists throughout the world whose creative works are the bedrock of our Company and the comic book industry.


While this would make for a very embarrassing episode of Family Jewels, the general consensus is that Radical at least acted well once Simmon’s got caught. Johanna Draper Carlson has a thorough round up of reactions, including some who point out that swiping and scanlations are not so ethically separate as some would wish.

Comments

  1. I wonder why Marvel does not do this with Greg Land work.

  2. sroman says:

    What disturbs me more is the number of people who condone Simmons’s thievery, likening it to music sampling and saying, what’s the big deal, all content should be free for everyone’s use. It’s not stealing; it’s a “reinterpretation” of existing material. (Usually a comment made by people who haven’t had something they created ripped off for someone else’s profit, and who refuse to acknowledge copyright laws.)

    Unfortunately, this mind-set isn’t exclusive to today’s comics fans:

    http://pretty-scary.net/content/helene-hegemanns-novel-axolotl-roadkill-plagiarized

  3. December says:

    “We have halted further production and distribution of the “Incarnate” comic book and trade paperback until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”

    Until the matter is resolved?? The only way this can be resolved is
    if they throw this garbage in the trash where it belongs. If the trade actually gets released, I will personally go to every bookstore within driving distance and hide and/or damage every copy I find.

  4. Synsidar says:

    Comparing swiping and tracing to plagiarism is incorrect, IMO. Swiping has gone on for decades, and has been done by reputable artists, simply because when an artist is under pressure to meet a deadline, swiping helps him do it. Tracing is much the same, which is why Marvel continues to employ Greg Land, presumably. While each practice might be used to provide the basis for a piece of artwork, the final result is not actual reproduction of the source. No court would attempt to assess damages based on the degrees of similarity between two pieces of artwork. Even minor differences are enough to separate them.

    Swiping and tracing might be compared to pure formula fiction, in which characters are put into generic situations, and the names are changed as needed for each version of a story. All of those practices can be criticized for laziness, lack of creativity, and emphasis on speed and convenience over everything else, but none of the practices is illegal.

    SRS

  5. December says:

    Brilliant rationalization there, SRS! It’s not illegal, so that makes it okay…lovely.

    I think the fact that plagiarism is accepted in the american comic industry but isn’t in the manga industry speaks a lot about the quality of the two industries and the people involved in them. Manga fans are incensed at this crap, meanwhile all the superhero fans are like “dur hur, lots of people steal art so that makes it okay, dur hur! Me is smart!”

    Newsflash: just because some shitty superhero pencillers have a history of stealing other people’s shitty superhero art doesn’t make it okay. It’s repulsive and only proves their lack of talent.

  6. Synsidar says:

    Brilliant rationalization there, SRS! It’s not illegal, so that makes it okay…lovely.

    I didn’t say it was “okay,” only that it wasn’t illegal.

    SRS

  7. That’s incorrect, SRS. Tracing *is* theft. There is no “X% difference makes it okay” rule. The real rule is: does some joe off the street (ie. a juror) looking at the copy and the original think that they’re alike enough to be a rip-off? It might seem “legal” only because it doesn’t often progress to that test. It’s either too much trouble to pursue the issue or “cease and desist” is enough. Stock illustration companies like iStock and crowd-source T-shirt companies like Threadless have terms in their user agreements for this type of thing. You can’t just auto-trace someone else’s photo in Adobe Illustrator think that makes it yours.

    If that wasn’t the case, Radical would have merrily carried on printing the book.

  8. An Artist says:

    Busted! Nick Simmons should be laughed out of the comic industry. He’s probably running around defending himself anonymously online. Serioulsy, he has ZERO talent. He should be shunned.

  9. Dennis V. says:

    December wrote:
    “If the trade actually gets released, I will personally go to every bookstore within driving distance and hide and/or damage every copy I find.”

    Yeah, and if you actually go ahead and damage the trade copies I hope you’re arrested for willful destruction of property… something a lot more serious than some kid aping an art style/copying panels.

    And really, it took this long for people to realize Nick Simmon’s ‘Incarnation’ looked like a total ‘Bleach’ rip off?!

  10. Army of Dorkness says:

    “If the trade actually gets released, I will personally go to every bookstore within driving distance and hide and/or damage every copy I find.”

    That either makes you a criminal or an asshole. I feel sorry for all those people whose already crappy jobs you’re going to make even more crappy because you’re not smart enough to come up with anything better than being a pain in the ass to people who have nothing to do with this.

  11. his sister is the hotness. wait, is she over 18…?

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