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.â€
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.