Radical Comics removed it’s comic, Incarnate, from this week’s pull lists, after a Tetsuo-sized avalanche of displeasure emanated from the internet and it’s legion of Otaku. It seems penciler/writer/creator Nick Simmons (you might know his dad, Gene, from the Dr. Pepper commercials…) has paid a little bit to much homage to various Manga series. Covered extensively on Livejournal’s ‘Bleachness’, and reported on by iCv2, the New York Times, as well as Geeks of Doom and numerous others around the web, Simmons’ Incarnate has been under the microscope for a little under a week now. The series (only a 3 issue mini-series) shows uncanny similarities between it and the Manga series Bleach, as well as (to a lesser extent) Hellsing. Some fans even went as far as to note certain plot beats were appropriated from White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade. Everything from character design, to panel layouts, and even dialogue have been claimed to be copies from their respective sources.
In response Simmons released a statement Monday through his publicist:
“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.”
Now, let’s be fair, for fairness’ sake. The world of comics is rife with appropriation and homage. Those who don’t find similarities between Superman, Hyperion, The Sentry, Supreme, Samaritan, and The Plutonian might want to clean off their bifocals. Thanks largely in part to the current industry trend of gigantic crossover mega-events, homage covers are beyond trendy. Where might Arthur Suydam be today if not for his Marvel Zombies covers (Ok, he’d probably be doing just fine, but still…)? Where might DC be if a hero can’t cradle another dead hero in their arms? Heck, Kurt Busiek’s Astro City is imprinted by Homage Comics! Given the mountain of evidence collected by the fans though, Nick Simmons’ series might have been given a direct ticket to the quarter bin. Nick Simmons won’t get to collect $200 when he passes GO either. But we’re sure his father might be able to loan him a few bucks. So long as someone buys a couple extra Kiss Kaskets.
So, ComicMixers, we implore you to discuss! Did Nick go to far? How far is too far when it comes to homage? And why does Superman seem to have more analogs than changes of costume?