“I’ve been plagiarising my whole life. It’s called learning.”
Akira The Don, 2008, paraphrasing Hunter S Thompson
So, I was taking a break from the rent-earning task I was doing today that I kinda hoped I’d have got out of the way by this point what with having loads of really important stuff to do like songs and comic strips and whathaveyou, riiiight, and I had a look at Tweetdeck, and at the top of my mentions column, which is essentially an inbox, I had the following, from fellow Death’s Head fan @jaykayell_ :
@AkiratheDon Sorry to beg of your services good sirrah but could you let your followers know about this http://bit.ly/a5Frv9
And I thought, sheee-it, who am I, Neil Gaiman? Then I clicked on it, cos I am totally into helping people out. I figured it might be a song that needed some promo, or a charity, or something. But it was not! It was a link to a message-board, seething with outrage over this indie comic that’s full of art that rips off other comics, that’d I read about already earlier on Robot 6 while I was eating my hot buttered toast.
So I was like,
@jaykayell_ The thing about Gene Simmons’ son? I saw that earlier. Silly boy. Why’d you want everyone to know?
And he was like,
@akirathedon Art theft really pee’s me off. Speshly when it’s so blatant, just thought you’d be the man to report them
And I was like, HMMMMMM. I suppose I AM that man.
I am, after all, an authority on comic books – well, the comic books I’ve read at any rate. Or the one’s I’ve read that I can remember. Like, I read a lot of Justice League comics at one point, but I’m buggered if I can tell you what happened in any of them, apart from that one where everybody fell alseep. Actually, that’s all I can remember about that one. Batman probably figured it out. He usually does.
ANYWAY! I know stuff. And you know what stuff I probably know most about? Ripping stuff off. Shee-it, I even called my second album – well, my first album-mixtape, my Hatfull of Hollow, shall we say – Thieving. That’s something I do. I steal stuff, bubba. And make new stuff with it. And that’s what this kid Nick Simmons did, right? He ripped off some stuff and made some new stuff with it. For example, a panel from Tite Kubo’s famous Manga Bleach, and a panel from Simmons’ Incarnate:
OK, that’s pretty similar. I’m not quite sure what he’s added there. Other than laughter. Laughter’s good, right?
“AH AHA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!”
Oh no, I just noticed the other guy’s laughing too, just with a uniform typeface. Oops. Well, Simmons got rid of the drooly blood stuff! That changed it, right?
Further investigation reveals that much of Incarnate is copied from Bleach, from fight sequences to character designs right down to personality types. Simmons is obviously a big Bleach fan.
Now, as I mentioned, I am an authority in the field of creative theft. I have sampled the crap out of most of my favourite artists, and have always been as brazen as possible about it. Like, when I ripped off a gang of Jack Kirby art for my second album-mixtape, The Omega Sanction‘s sleeve. I said I’d ripped off a load of Jack Kirby art. I’d changed it a bit, I’d made it look like me, and arranged it in a big Omega Symbol, so it was something new – it looked like something else now, and, more importantly, it said something else.
Not that saying something new with your stolen art is necessary. The message I put across in CLONES was pretty much the same as Alice Cooper’s in his Clones (We’re All). I just went into more detail – my detail. And I went crazy with the drums and bass.
I also credited Alice Cooper on the record. Maybe if Nick Simmons has put a nice “inspired by Tite Kubo’s Bleach” at the start of his comic people wouldn’t be calling for his immediate DEATH by ANGRY BLOGGING. Then again, maybe if he was someone other than Gene Simmons’ son, and people weren’t already suspicious that he’s got his own comic book because of that monied parental bonus, rather than any of his own talents, maybe there would less of a giant shit being given. I mean, it’s not like this sort of thing is rare in comics. They have a word for it: “Swipe”. Some of the industry’s biggest names have been doing it for years. People like Levi’s Ad star Rob “Crosshatched Groinal Area” Liefeld, for example:
But so what, right? Doesn’t Alan Moore steal all his characters from out of copyright Victorian books? Wasn’t X-Men a rip off of Doom Patrol (super powered outcasts lead by bloke in wheel chair)? Wasn’t Batman created by drawing on top of a picture of Superman? Wasn’t Superman himself a big rip off of Doc Savage, Man of Bronze?
The Stones Stole. Led Zepplin stole. Kool Herc stole.
If we dismissed all stolen works from popular culture we wouldn’t have any popular culture.
So Sayeth The Don.
As for Nick Simmons, he’s only 22, give him time to learn. You gotta copy a whole gang of pictures before you get good at making your own. He obviously loves what he’s doing, so let him get on with it. He will learn from this. Either way, I’m not salty about any jump-starts he might be getting. I don’t imagine having Gene Simmons as a dad is all that fun in real life.
Well, that’s my 5pence worth anyway. What do you think?