As I so eloquently stated on Wednesday, Nick Simmons is a moron. My prowess at verbalizing my distaste in this whole plagiarism business notwithstanding let’s look at the facts, or, what we can assume are facts.
1. Nick Simmons, on the back of his father’s popularity, develops a comic book called Incarnate. Published by Radical Comics, the book’s illustration style has a lot of similarities to the generally perceived manga style.
2. Nick putzes around for a while, doing his thing, and Radical gets ready for a release of the first part of the series as a trade.
3. People start seeing similarities between Incarnate and scanlated Bleach chapters. Let’s take a look at some of Nick’s “talent”:
That looks awfully similar. Let’s have another go.
The plot thickens. Or rather, comes to a stop at the corner of Stupid Street and Now You Fucked Up Avenue. (Many thanks to the folks on livejournal compiling these images. I shamelessly borrowed them from this compilation entry by karenai.)
4. Radical responds to the accusations by putting a hold on the project and by putting out a blanket statement about making things right.
5. The INTERWEB starts to really freak out. I mean really.
6. Nick releases a statement via representative that takes no responsibility for copied work. Surprise! (Remember, Nick’s car is still parked at the corner of Stupid Street and Now You Fucked Up Avenue.)
7. The NY Times prints a story on the whole debacle.
8. Fans continue to freak out.
9. Alex writes about the issue at Manga Widget.
10. People cool off over the weekend, and generally get back to their own little lives.
My main thought about this entire business is: well, that really sucks for Radical. Nick can’t really be harmed here, because it is unlikely that Viz Media will sue over the plagiarism, and he’s already generated profit on content that wasn’t his. If the comic is canceled, well, that’s a shame on him. He probably won’t be able to do comic work again, or if he does, it will have to be drastically different, and he’ll have people breathing down his neck the entire time. Still, he’s lost something in the opportunity, but not in actual fiscal units. In short, his money is protected.
For Radical, though, the consequences are more severe. The publishing group was getting ready to release a hard copy of the first three books later this month (March 16th, to be precise). That means they’ve probably already gotten the books printed, which is no small expense, especially in hardback. Now they have content which they cannot sell, a series that cannot generate them funds, and a whole lot of cash sunk into what is now a dead project. I don’t think my fair reader needs an intricate understanding of rocket science to know that that’s an outcome that sucks big thrust engines.
Radical is a company that doesn’t necessarily get a lot of time in the sun, and especially when their main product lines compete with the Big Two (DC and Marvel), the room for error is slim. A mistake/grievous error that is not their fault could be the foot on the neck of the company. Radical’s only recourse is to sue the creator for the cost of producing a good that was supposed to be original, and was not. Let us hope that Radical can use this breach of contract to extract the cost of these books from the hide of the selfish, moronic Simmons. If you have a chance to stop by your local comic book store, take a look at some of the wares that Radical has to offer. Take a chance on a company that could use a little extra help right now. You might find something you like.
The other party that is damaged here is anyone that purchased Incarnate. These customers bought content that they expected to be original, and it was not. This is a huge breach of trust, and hopefully, Nick Simmons will no longer be able to find work in the comics industry.
According to the buzz around the internet (since I do not read Bleach, admittedly), the plagiarized content was from chapters that have not been published in English. This means that Simmons is a thief in multiple ways. And to be honest, he’s just like many anime and manga fans here in the US.
Let me say that again. The idiot thief, Nick Simmons, is just like most anime and manga fans. Entitlement-minded. Granted, he may have been a little more extreme about it than other anime and manga fans, but his outlook is the same. I deserve, he says. I deserve to read Bleach scans without paying for them, he says. I love the comic! I am its fan! I love Bleach! Soon it becomes something more. I deserve comics for free. Again, it evolves. I deserve to have my own comic book. I’m a decent artist, I can make it in the comics industry. I deserve to have some fame in the comics industry. I deserve a mark of my own! (And when he realizes he does not have the skill to make his wishes come true, he does the next best thing – he borrows someone else’s skill to make his own dream a reality.) It’s this (0r a version of this) entitlement mentality that plagues the anime/manga community.
Through my research for this post, I have become completely disheartened by the fans of manga and anime. This post especially shows the brazen arrogance and entitlement mentality of many anime and manga fans. As Matt Blind explains the basic concepts of entertainment, the author continues to claim a right to content he does not own or need. He merely wants it, and he’s going to get it. To hell with Gosho Aoyama, and the company that supports him. The adaptation isn’t good enough, so instead of refusing to buy it, he just steals it instead. YEAH DUDE! STICK IT TO THE MAN!
Dear fanboy. You do not have a right to entertainment. People have staked their lives on being able to get paid for creating original work that you enjoy. To steal from the authors and studios you love is to destroy them. By downloading this content, Aoyama-sensei and Tite Kubo don’t receive any compensation for their work, and your decision (in economic logic) tells these creators that their content cannot sell. By stealing work, you promote the destruction of the things you love the most.
And please, do not come onto my blog to justify your theft. You are a shoplifter of entertainment, and there can be no justification for that. You do not need manga scans every week. You don’t need manga. You don’t need anime. What you need is a cold hard reality check.
That goes to you too, Nick.