Nick Simmons Releases Statement, Takes No Responsibility

Nick Simmons, artist of Incarnate, which contains panels copied from Bleach and other manga, has released the following statement via a representative:

“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.”

Note that he doesn’t acknowledge he went beyond “homage” to flat-out copies. He also doesn’t apologize for what he did — he’s sorry if other people “feel” he went too far or “perceived” similarities (that are obvious to anyone). In other words, it’s our fault that we’re upset because he didn’t mean anything bad by it.

“Certain fundamental imagery” appears to be code for “I couldn’t find a different way to show a guy screaming / girl crying / etc. so I just copied them.” That’s not honoring his “inspirations”. Is he really blaming the medium for making him a plagiarist?

This is oil on a grease fire. Better if he’d said nothing than tried to calm people down without taking any responsibility on himself for his actions.

Update: (3/2/10) My response has been quoted at the New York Times Arts Beat blog.

140 Comments

  1. Wow, that makes me SO MAD. Does he think that this kind of thing will absolve him of his “homage”? This pathetic little statement (probably written by the family PR person) will only serve to tarnish his name. Does he think that manga fans don’t have any clout in this world or that his daddy will buy him his next publishing deal? The kid’s just created himself a social media nightmare in the making.

  2. Didn’t he claim he never read BLEACH last week?

    Here’s a thought: Are we sure Simmons is the creator of the material? Maybe he “outsourced” the book and doesn’t want to admit it. Either that or the guy is borderline divorced from reality.

  3. Then again, I can’t even spell my own name, so what do I know.

  4. I was under the impression that it was a troll under a fake Nick Simmons account spreading the whole “I’m not a manga fan” rumor. Considering the extent of the plagiarism in Simmons’ work, he must have read those manga through to use both the poses and the dialogue in his work.

    Lol at the outsourcing idea though.

  5. Yes, that Facebook stuff was a fake. Others have speculated on the number of artists “assisting” Simmons, but I don’t know anything definite about that.

  6. I can’t really muster any feelings about this since Simmons will get away with this without any penalty. I can’t see either Tite Kubo or Viz suing him over this. Now that Simmons knows people are looking, he will be more careful with his ‘homages’ to manga artists. It’s depressing how easily people can take advantage of manga artists since they know neither the artist nor the publisher will do anything.

  7. I don’t know about “no penalty” — we’ll have to see if the Incarnate collection comes out on the 23rd as planned or not. If it does, then you’re right.

  8. […] a statement issued by Simmons' representative and posted on Comics Worth Reading, the 21-year-old artist said: “Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are […]

  9. So whatever he says or does you’re blasting him for? He should have just stayed silent? C’mon!

    I’ve been saying for days that Radical shares a good deal of the responsibility for what’s happened here. Seriously, how could they have let this happen? Dark Horse, D,C. or Marvel would’ve never been caught with their pants down like this. Radical loved having daddy Gene and Nick on their yacht at comic cons and photo ops. They were milking the celebrity cash cow for everything it was worth. And now they get to play the victim card…

    Either Radical is extremely stupid or extremely sloppy. Either way, it doesn’t say a lot about their business methods. Nick produced the book, but Radical certainly failed in their responsibility to protect the industry and those who protect work for it from plagiarism. I won’t be buying any of their product in the near future until explainations from the company are forthcoming…

  10. HMGiggleFairy

    His ‘art’ looks like a badly done webcomic anyway. Shit, I’ve seen webcomics better than the junk he’s selling.

  11. “So whatever he says or does you’re blasting him for? He should have just stayed silent?”

    If he can’t say anything sensible, yes. As a wise man once said, it’s better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    Honestly, the statement sounds like a stupid, arrogant moron. Is there really anywhere outside of his head where ‘homage’ and ‘trace’ mean the same thing? Poor show.

  12. He STOLE from DeviantArt Artists. That’s not homage. He took other people’s fanart or original art and effectively retraced it back into his story.

    If we can take a panel from original manga and overlay directly onto his work and it’s a match, that’s called tracing- not inspiration.

    I can’t take Picasso, trace over it, add a flower in the upper right, change the colors and call it my own work.

    Look at what happened to Flower of Eden when they copied some of Slam Dunk.

    What Nick Simmons did is wrong. He should do what that manga-ka of Flower of Eden did, admit they copied, apologize and step out of that career. That is the price you pay for cheating.

  13. […] a 01-03-2010: Según lo publicado en el blog Comics Worth Reading, Nick Simmons ha emitido un comunicado a través de su representante, en el cual no hace más que […]

  14. Johanna:
    “Others have speculated on the number of artists “assisting” Simmons, but I don’t know anything definite about that.”

    The book’s credits list 3 credited art assistants: Nam Kin, Ben Harvet & Shi Hua Wong.

  15. The credits on the first issue of Incarnate mentions the following “assistant artists:” Nam Kim, Ben Harvey & Shi Hua Wang.

    Re: DirkStar’s comment about Radical playing the “victim card:”

    Thus far, Radical has conducted itself responsibly. One could argue that since Incarnate has the celebrity connection, the publisher might have been tempted to look the other way. Instead, it’s done exactly what a publisher should do in such situations.

    Let me share an example: a few years ago, a local city councillor submitted a guest column to run in the newspaper for which I work (I personally wasn’t involved in the situation). After its publication, it was discovered that the entire column was plagiarized from a newspaper in another province. There was no way for the editors to have been aware of it.

    The paper ran an apology to the other newspaper and the original columnist, and an explanation as to what happened. The city councillor in question issued a statement noting it was “an accident.” His so-called apology lacked any credibility.

    My point is this: a publisher and its editors do have a duty to avoid such situations, but they also have to rely on the integrity of the writers and artists with which they work.

  16. I still think it interesting that so many critics thought his book was pretty good for a first effort and now everyone is saying how bad it was when they first read it. Hindsight…

    Nobody ever had anything to say about the writing. In fact, most of the reviews I’ve dug up were pretty complimentary about the effort.

    I think Nick will rebound from this. I think he’ll come back humbler and wiser from the experience and I hope to see more of the Revenant story.

    We all make mistakes…

    I think Tito is grateful for the publicity and I think Manga has received some real P.R. from this whole brouhaha. All in all, the universe has not been shaken from its foundations and our heroes honor has been defended. And in the end, isn’t that the whole whole Manga storyline?

  17. Superbot400

    “Jason Green
    03/01/2010 at 4:31 pm

    Johanna:
    “Others have speculated on the number of artists “assisting” Simmons, but I don’t know anything definite about that.”

    The book’s credits list 3 credited art assistants: Nam Kin, Ben Harvet & Shi Hua Wong.”

    Addition to that, it’s refering to this.
    http://www.studioil.com/blog/?p=20

  18. It’s Tite, DirkStar. I don’t see why he would be “grateful” for the publicity as neither he nor manga in general need it. To date Bleach has sold more than 50 million copies in Japan and 1.2 million in North America — significantly more than Incarnate.

  19. Wow…what a pathetic kid. He talks so much about people in hollywood are fake and how he is so different and can’t stand it. I guess he doesn’t realize what a slimy little creature he is.

    It’s even more laughable that he actually thinks himself an artist! He simply can’t draw (the REAL comic that he drew looks like crap, no wonder he needed to trace people with skill).

    Heh what a failure… I doubt he has ever known what it is like to actually work for or towards a goal.

  20. are you serious??? Thats not a damn “homage” thats a blatant traced!

    Nick needs to fucking man up.

    I have more balls than him

  21. […] Ir a los comentarios En un comunicado transmitido por el representante de nick en el blog  Comics Worth Reading se publico basicamente que Nick se inspiro en bleach para su manga y tambien que muchos mangas […]

  22. “Nobody ever had anything to say about the writing. In fact, most of the reviews I’ve dug up were pretty complimentary about the effort.”

    He also took complete sentences from Bleach and inserted into his comic. I wish he would tell us how he feels for doing that.

    And what about the one picture the artist from dA, ChaosVoid, who drew S T A L K E R? It looks like he didn’t even bother to change any details on that character.

  23. wow, “And I am certainly sorry if anyone was offended or upset” bull crap, the people on dA put watermarks on their art for a REASON. To keep ass holes like you from using them.
    this is what im talking about

    http://siguredo.deviantart.com/art/Bleach-grimmjow-by-RAE-70142578
    the panel is in your comic book, sir and i dont think you had the right to draw the pose or even use it without paying for it first.

    Oh well, i hope a proper punishment comes from all this…

  24. @DirkStar – actually, Marvel artists HAVE been caught tracing (or in their words, “making homages”). There’s just a general carelessness in a lot of the US publishing. It’s unfortunate that they also let these things slip by with just an apology and no real punishment. If Nick Simmons have been a Japanese artist, getting caught like this would probably end his career no matter how famous/rich he was.

  25. Firefury Amahira

    Wow. As if his career wasn’t already in ruins, a statement like that just destroyed what dregs of a chance he had.

  26. @Kevin Melrose
    AMEN.
    that is true and i support that. Since those statistics are true i know Bleach wouldnt be hurt at all by this.

    but i think it would make the common comic reader much happyier if he told the truth and not some bull carp like this.

    i think you would agree.

  27. Some Guy who HATES copycats

    FAIL

  28. Wow. Didn’t he just say a few days ago he’s never heard of Bleach or read any ‘Magma’? what’s with the sudden change of heart? Keep your lies straight moron.

  29. Since this whole thing came up, someone on a forum I frequent who works in a comic shop has been redirecting anyone who asks about incarnate….to Bleach. Apparently he’s sold quite a few copies that way

  30. @A chick

    That was a fake Nick Simmons facebook account. Done by some troll trying to make matters even worse.

  31. Annoyed By Art Thieves

    Homage?? Seriously, he considers this a homage??!

    Does he care to explain how it’s considered as a homage to Tite Kubo when he traced other people’s fan art on deviantart to put in his travesty of a comic as well??

    That’s not a homage, that’s plagiarism plain and simple!

  32. Ally-Sama-Chan

    this makes me very angry. this guy is still like “oh, i didn’t do anything wrong… i was merely respecting and tributing all the people I STOLE FROM”
    he needs to ADMIT WHAT HE DID. and tite, viz and sheuisha, as well as the 15 OTHER MANGAKAS HE STOLE FROM should sue him for every penny he has until he ends up out of a job and his daddy disowns him out of shame.
    not to mention he stole FROM FAN ARTISTS ON DEVIANTART.
    not sure if he can get busted for that, too. but he definetly should. i’ve told a few of them to point out that their work was stolen and to sue him.

  33. @AkiraKuchiki
    Hon, there’s no such thing as a copyright on a pose. If you can do it in real life with your body, it can’t be copyrighted.

    Granted, it’s not a common pose to draw and most pictures in that pose would be linked back to that picture more often then not, it still is a pose, and poses can’t be copyrighted. If they were, every model would either be sued or suing.

    Now, to TRACE the picture the pose is of, that’s a copyright infringement. Which is what he did. A long with the majority of the Bleach manga.

    Silly little truffle.

  34. Everyone who is claiming that he said he never read manga…..that was a troll…..

    And really dude! Really?! There is a huge difference between being inspired by work, and flat out copying.

  35. […] Vampire Hunter D and Bleach. In a statement issued by Simmons' representative and posted on Comics Worth Reading, the 21-year-old artist said: “Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are […]

  36. Hey, that looks like something that Gene’s lawyers would have said. But oh sorry, it’s because Nick meant that as a homage to the lawyers.

  37. hey i agree with everything seriously,just because he’s the son of the great gene simmons he thinks he can do what ever the hell he wants.Well i’ve got new for him he’s COMPLITLEY (excuse the french)FUCKING RETARDED IF HE THINKS HE CAN GET AWAY WITH IT!! honesetly what a fucking idiot he’s nothing but a plagiarising nim-rod who needs to seriously man up and come clean for what he did not to mention the whole thing about him stealing art work from DEVIANTART artists thats just seriously FUCKING LOW, and anyway sorry for the swearing its just hearing stuff like this pisses me right off.oh and yeah i know my spelling and grammer sucks i’m really sorry about that. BUT like i said what nick simmons did was dis-honest and very ignorant and i really hope he gets sued out the ass for this.

  38. @ pharaoh
    thats what i mean. ^^’ still, this is still very upsetting (and more) to the bleach community.

  39. sasuke_baka

    we should throw him in jail or a volcano whatever works

  40. Folks, please keep it civil. Calling Nick Simmons names doesn’t help anyone. You can condemn his actions without profanity or abuse.

  41. HinataUzUmaki

    @Johanna what for i mean if that guy was stealing your hard earned work i’m sure you’d be pretty upset and i’m pretty sure these people are just sticking up for Tite Kubo but you do have a point some people are just being really rude but hey you can’t tell them what to say and not to say

  42. Sure I can! This is my site, you be nice or I ban you. :)

    I’ve had people steal my writing before. Where I could shut them down easily, I did. Where I couldn’t (different country or language), I shrugged and wrote more. People who have to copy because of a lack of creativity or skill on their part won’t last.

  43. This is absolutely deplorable. Any human being who isn’t legally blind can see that he blatantly copied the art, and it still looks awful. It takes real class to be able to tell yourself that you’re ‘paying homage’ to ‘artist who inspire you’ when in reality, you’re tracing their work and not having the balls to own up to it.

    Way to go Nicky boy, you’re a genuine class act. I’m sure your father is swelling with pride right about now, in addition to probably trying to worm you out of impending lawsuits.

  44. …Didn’t he say before that he had never even heard of Bleach? XD Nice. Classy.

    Stupido.

  45. Wow, looks like he avoided incriminating himself a whole lot, while also never saying he stole anything or apologizing for his actual actions. Just apologizing that we were somehow upset at him. Pretty questionable.
    Of course, it’s pretty much the same thing people who steal manga online always do.

  46. This is kinda sad! Such injustice!!!

  47. He doesn’t seem smart enough to have written this, probably one of his lawyer’s composed it. Paying homage to an inspiration does not mean tracing 50% of your own panels (its not perceived similarities, the overlays make it clearly obvious). I hope he gets sued now, and ruins his chance of having a future in comics with an excuse like this.

  48. So if I pay homage to Kiss by doing a recording of some of their songs and give no credit to them at all and say that I created “God Gave Rock & Roll to Me” myself, Nick’s dad won’t mind? I mean it’s just a homage.

  49. Oh and I never bought the Kiss album, just downloaded it on a torrent and then sampled it into my own version of the song.

    Also if you download my stuff and steal my songs I expect you to pay. In cash. Spank you very much.

  50. Orange Phantom

    Wow. Epic fucking fail. On the list of people I have no respect for, people who plagiarize are pretty high up.
    He didn’t take responsibility for his stupidity OR acknowledge that what he did is DEAD WRONG, he’s just apologizing like that would somehow make it all better and pulling the “I’m a manga fan toooo” card. He’s probably going to get away with it too.
    Bastard.

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