“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.”
Hm, does anyone remember back in the day when Rob Liefeld admitted to “tributing?”
Unsurprisingly, this lawyer-vetted non-apology has ignited even more outrage at his blatant lifting — while, as we noted, an outrageous fake Nick Simmons on Facebook was widely quoted last week, the real one isn’t much better.
While a lot of manga fans are calling for the 21-year-old Simmons to be publicly shamed in more painful and scarring ways than he’s experienced thus far, some are lumping him in with other youthful appropriators, such as 17-year-old German novelist Helene Hegemann, who was caught lifting huge passages of her book from other writers, but defended the practice with a credo for the Post-Sampling Age: “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.”
An article on Hegemann and other literary swipers in the NY Times, looks at the generational phenomenon of literary sampling:
The news made waves in the United States with an almost novelistic kind of timing, just before the publication last week of a highly anticipated book by David Shields, “Reality Hunger,” a feisty literary “manifesto” built almost entirely of quotations from other writers and thinkers. The borrowed words are marshaled to make a case against what Mr. Shields sees as boring fiction and in favor of genre-bending forms like the lyric essay. Mr. Shields, a novelist who migrated to nonfiction, has called it “far and away the most personal book” he has ever written. And though publishing-house lawyers required him to include an appendix listing his sources (at least those he could remember) Mr. Shields asks the reader to honor the spirit of the book by taking a pair of scissors and giving it an appendectomy.
While Radical, publisher of Simmons’ INCARNATE, have pulled the book for now, an experienced eye can also justifiably ask: “Where was the editor?” Anyone vaguely familiar with manga should be familiar with Bleach, and the stylistic swipes were so blatant that an actual manga editor might have caught them before this all came out in the wash.
While questions of whether it’s art, homage, tributing, or just plain ripping off continue to swirl, as usual Simon Jones has a debunking of some of the common misconceptions about the matter.
Finally, Bleach creator Tite Kubo is aware of the controversy and responded on Twitter “I’m more interested in the fact that Gene Simmons’ son is a mangaka than whether he’s plagiarizing me or not.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.