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.


  1. Does this loser seriously think he can bullshit he way out of this with these PAINFULLY OBVIOUS lies?
    I mean seriously… Keep your stories staight.
    ..Or better yet, Admit you suck and gtfo.

    At this rate, he couldnt be a decent manga (“MAGMA”) artist even IF he had the skill.

  2. I linked this back in the bleachness post. Thanks.

    … Though I’ll say here I almost wish he hadn’t said anything at all.

  3. I really think the only way that Nick Simmons will comprehend his wrongdoing and learn his lesson will be when his father is screaming it into his ear in a rage after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from fending off all sorts of copyright lawsuits.

    C’mon manga companies, get out those legal hounds and set them loose! Set a precedent!

  4. Nick is just making the situation worse. Not only should he apologize without someone fronting for him, but he should of flat out said he was sorry for tracing over original work. The internet will only follow him till they get what they want and thats a proper apology to not only the hard working artist who play by the rules but to Tite Kubo and Kouta Hirano because he stole from them.

    I also don’t care what any person says about the web community taking this ‘too far’ because if the web community didn’t say anything about the situation, this kid would be getting away from the with stealing scot free.

  5. heh, homage huh?

    there are influences but there are never copies. That is a true homage.

    suck on that.

  6. […] Nick Simmons Releases Statement, Takes No Responsibility Manga Worth Reading *facepalm* __________________ You horrid evil Kyon. […]

  7. […] quiet. In a statement released via a representative and posted on comics reviews and news blog Comics Worth Reading, the embattled comics artist said: Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are […]

  8. Oh. My. Gosh.
    At first I thought ‘Finally, he makes a statement!’. And then I read it.

    Certain similarities? Must I post all the comparison photos up here for you, Nick? It’s one thing to be inspired, it’s another thing to copy. Sheesh. >.<

  9. where’s my fucking apology?! what about everyone else on Deviantart?! –>

  10. animegurlfreak

    he… already spoil the good name of anime/manga and dare to say such stupid dumb@$$ stuff…. please….. get a life!!!

  11. What an idiot “I am a fan of Bleach”… surely if you were a fan, you wouldn’t RIP THEM OFF!!!

  12. Annoyed By Art Thieves

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned about these guys yet on any articles:

    Here’s a blog about their participation in the Incarnate project as well:

    They’re the stupid studio team that helped this art thief plagiarized the work, and they’re apparently familiar with manga as well. So why haven’t they even once raised any flags about art theft when there were so many signs?

  13. All anime and manga are the same, anyway. No difference and NO STYLE OR TALENT. It all just looks like a copy from something else which is a copy of something else etc. Even art professors will not accept anime and manga as an artistic style. No detail, no valid proportions, meth-inspired plot…

  14. @D-C

    Is that really necessary? Attack the art style because Nick Simmons can’t find his own?

    Who sent you? Nick or the publishing company? Maybe a lawyer?

  15. Cookie Monster


  16. “what they PERCEIVE to be the similarity”

    Dude, they perceive it to be “similar” is because you traced them. Stop digging your own grave and just give an honest apology.

    @D-C: How many manga you’ve seen, three? Four?

  17. he broke the copyright laws.

  18. He says “If you steal my artwork you will pay. In cash.” in his DA page, yet he can’t even take responsibility for plagiarizing? He is beyond shameless.

    I hope HE pays Kubo Tite. In cash. Lots and lots of it. Has he even apologized to Kubo yet?

  19. @ D-C
    Just because some people are pathetic, doesn’t mean that the style as a whole lacks artistry. Personally, I think comics/cartoons/manga/anime in general are similar. Take a look at the (older) Disney style. Their style is very similar from movie to movie and Disney is considered by some to be masterpieces; classics. Besides, there are only so many ways to draw something. I don’t know about your art professors, but mine wouldn’t take anything not realistic or surrealism for just that reason. At least if it’s realistic you can get a 1:1 on how good a person is technically as opposed to stylized works. And manga have beautiful details. you’re probably just loking at the wrong ones.

    @ the topic
    I can’t believe the nerve of this guy. When all’s said and done he’ll be lucky to be allowed to slink out of the comic book industry with his credibility in ruins and not laughed out of it.

  20. All anime and manga are the same, anyway. No difference and NO STYLE OR TALENT

    Your ass. Your elbow. You know not the difference between them.

  21. Isn’t this just a case of the pot calling the kettle black considering all Manga looks alike anyway (big eyes, big mouths, streaky lines to fill in backgrounds, skinny girls with tiny boobs, and big fawkin robots with guns)?

    yeah, plagiarism is a b!tch

  22. […] Simmons has made a statement, saying that he only intended to pay “homage” to Bleach, not to copy it. This did not go […]

  23. western comics suck
    with people like Quesada and events after events

  24. @neoklaus

    He has not apologize to “ANY” of the “MANY” Mangas he ripped off…

  25. Seems like Nick said this on Facebook not too long ago: “Okay.. now looking at some of these photo comparisons, I can see why a few people are up-in-arms. I can tell you right now these are all purely coincidences. I never even heard of Bleach! Who would name a comic after laundry detergent? When I channel my energy when drawing my book sometimes I can pull stuff in that I never seen before. It’s like i’m possessed when I start thinking and drawing. Perhaps I just got on the same wave length that all artists share. My dad just called and said I have a real case against all this slander. If Facebook doesn’t give into my demands soon there’s going to be hell to pay. Now, I have to damage control on another site – more people being mislead. Now I have to deal with this and my book’s deadline. I’m not sure how I can think and draw under all this pressure.”

  26. That Facebook stuff, that was a fake.

  27. Thank you om for posting that, so then it seems that the statement Nick said, and I quote, “I am a big fan of Bleach” does not coincide with his statement “I never even heard of Bleach! Who would name a comic after laundry detergent?”

    This yet again just proves his idiocy and shows how he’s trying to play two sides of the same coin. In one statement, he’s saying how much of a big fan he is, and on the other he claims complete ignorance to the manga. I hope he gets sued by Tite Kubo’s legal hounds and whoever else he’s ripped off. -cough-Hellsing-cough-

  28. @MurrayC
    Yes, a lot of manga share the same basic stylistic cues. That doesn’t necessarily make them all look the same by default, and the artists can use those ‘building blocks’ to create things that vary dramatically in appearance.
    There are also a lot of manga which deviate entirely from those cues.
    Also, lots of skinny manga girls have large boobs ;)

    I thought people had all accepted the facebook account as trolling now, are people really still quoting it seriously? :|

  29. It’s more fun to believe he’s a hypocrite as well. Not as much fun to realize people can lie to you over the internet.

  30. Y’know, being a non-fan of manga, I expected this to be no big deal. And then I clicked through to the LJ page… holy crap! If that’s considered “homage”, then I’m about to take the western comics world by storm by tracing over old Neal Adams and Mike Grell panels and calling my work a tribute to the early ’70s.

    Who knew breaking into the business was so easy?

  31. […] miniseries Incarnate. If anything, the statement — characterized as a "non-apology apology" and "oil on a grease fire" — refocuses attention, and blame, on Simmons after much of the online discussion had branched off […]

  32. He has to say stuff like that in case it DOES go to court. If he admits he’s wrong now, they have a sure-fire case against him because even he says he’s in the wrong. That’s why he’s “apologizing” for what we think we saw, and not what he knows we saw.

  33. Roger, yes, it’s particularly blatant in this case, and the scope of the tracings has infuriated people. There’s not a lot of room for argument about this being an acceptable “inspiration”.

  34. […] and a little manga you may have heard of called Bleach.Further reading on the subject can be found here. If you’re looking for some side-by-side comparisons of the shots he swiped, which are mostly […]

  35. Is this apart of your homage too , Nick?
    That must be fundamental imagery….right?

  36. […] di queste ore una dichiarazione di Simmons, che si sente in dovere di scusarsi con i fan e gli autori emulati sebbene definisca le […]

  37. @ D-C

    Manga art is a recognised form of art to both professors and universities of art, though uptake has been slower in the west due to the dominance of classical and modern art from these parts since long ago. Hence even incredibly famous art pieces from Africa to India and beyond have only relatively recently been given the recognition they deserve. Manga and it’s consequent art work have even been showcased at the British Museum. Why not try having a go at putting together atleast one page before making such a low level criticism.

  38. […] drama ensued, until yesterday Mister Simmons ended it with an apology on Comics Worth Reading. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any […]

  39. This idea of ownership is so 90’s. I’ve got some real bad news for everyone. People are cannibals, and they rip stuff off, all the time. In fact, I will go further and say, “If you enjoy Family Guy & Star Wars, any Parliament song & rap music, or Dances with Wolves & Avatar, you should just do yourself an enormous favor and scoop out your brain with an ice cream scooper. It makes dealing with the hypocrisy so much simpler.”

  40. “…fellow Manga artists…”

    Riiiiight. The ability to TRACE line-for-line does not a manga artist make, Nick.

    You’re a thief, plain and simple. And you can’t even apologize honestly, for what everyone who’s looked at the evidence knows you’ve done. Pathetic.

  41. Annoyed By Art Thieves

    Nick Simmons has started removing all the deviantart artworks he has traced in his favourites gallery now, that way he can pretend as if he has never seen any of those stolen images ever in his life. Seems more like a guilty conscience rather than a “homage” if you ask me.

  42. @D-C
    Just wanted to say, art professors DO take manga-style art as art. Idiot. c:

  43. […] tried to calm people down without taking any responsibility on himself for his actions. Source: Manga Worth Reading __________________ . . […]

  44. He also riped off some deviantart artist, it is not only about Bleach; looks like Bleach wasn’t enough for him, but he actually did stole original art from deviantart artist. I hope they sue him!!
    He doesn’t even have the balls to say sorry to everyone he stole from!!

  45. …. dude…. just friggen admit it already.

  46. As an educator, I am disappointed to say that it is a bad example to our art students. Although we discourage plagiarizing in our art school, it is outrageous to know that people in the industry do get away with it. So can we still continue to penalize students who plagiarized other people’s work and get credit for it? With the artist denying the act and refused to admit his wrong doing, it just reflects his moral upbringing and sending wrong message to all inspiring artists. Sad.

  47. Completely shameless.

  48. Eva, he didn’t “get away with it” — his comic got canceled, and this behavior is tagged to his name all over the internet. Someone suggested that, if he wanted to keep working in comics, he lay low for a bit, practice to improve his skills, and then come back under another name with his own work. That would be the best strategy, if he was serious about the field. He may not be.

  49. well this has been interesting. been all over the net reading and seeing peoples reactions to this. the guy is in it now, and no mistake.
    i used to be a fan of bleach, though the story put me off for a bit. but as much as i dislike it as a series, this artwork thing is totally crazy. even i was willing to let it go till i saw the sheer extent of what he has done.
    the funny thing is that now, people will look at his work and wonder where he stole it from. no one will ever give anything he does or has done credit becos now we all will expect that he stole it from somewhere else.
    i hope he does get sued for it so that it will really make him go back and think about what he want’s to do with the rest of his life now that he has presumably mucked up this part of it.

  50. Want to know what the funniest thing is?

    Its says in the article updates that Tite Kubo “[…]is more concerned (retranslated as “interested”) with the fact that Gene Simmons’ son is a comic creator, as opposed to whether there was actual copying or not[…]”

    Its really the fans and the Japanese publishing company that’s all fired up about this case. The author? He doesn’t seem offended that much.

    My conclusion on this? Yes, there was plagiarism. But this isn’t what this case is about. The ones who are going to court over this are the ones who’s income are, according to them, in jeopardy. This is really just a company cashing in on an opportunity left by someone who made a big mistake.

    This isn’t the “golden age” of anime/manga anymore. Mangas aren’t made to tell stories anymore. They exist only to make money. Money is what this case is really about.

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