So as I wrote in my post last Friday, the internet has been going nuts for the past few day over the alleged plagiarism of Nick Simmons, son of rock band KISS’s Gene Simmons, over some panels he apparently lifted from the manga Bleach. Deb Aoki of About.com Manga provides a lengthy recap of all the debates going on surrounding the act and just how bad it is compered to the digital piracy of manga online.
You’re not going to find me quoted anywhere in that recap. I didn’t participate in any of the online discussions or debates for one reason:
I don’t think that this act of “plagiarism” is really that big of a problem.
Isn’t manga an industry filled with copycats already? Why are we suddenly singling out Simmons here for imitating art he saw in a comic he obviously enjoys?
Manga artists are constantly ripping off each others styles and ideas, and that’s just a normal part of the business. Look at the massive dojinshi subculture built around amateur artist selling knock-off versions of their favorite comic series. Originality is something that you rarely see in this medium.
Sure, Simmons was probably cutting it a little too close with copying over so much of the panel like that, but I felt that he made more than enough changes to make it “his own.” That’s why I completely stand by Simmons as he made his public statement today calling his work an homage to Bleach. That is exactly what it is, an homage.
And let’s not forget that Bleach artist Tite Kubo seemed to be completely dismissive of the issue as he tweets (translation by Ms. Aoki), “I’m more interested in the fact that Gene Simmons’ son is a manga-ka than whether he’s plagiarizing me or not.”
After all, what’s really the big deal? Copying is just the manga way of doing it.