Antarctic Press Agrees to Restraining Order Over Wimpy Kid Lookalike Zombie Kid

ICv2 reports that

Antarctic Press has assented to a Temporary Restraining Order in federal court that will prohibit the company from selling its Diary of a Wimpy Kid parody books Diary of a Zombie Kid and Diary of a Zombie Kid: Rotten Rules.

Wimpy Kid, Inc. filed suit on December 20, alleging “In addition to the confusingly similar title, the jacket design of Defendant’s infringing works are substantially similar to those of Plaintiff’s series and are obviously intended to confuse the public into believing that Defendant’s books are additions to such series.” I think you can see, from the images below, that the covers are confusingly similar, especially to a younger reader.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Zombie Kid

Diary of a Zombie Kid

That isn’t the case with another parody that hasn’t been sued, Tales from the Crypt #8: Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid. That book has a different color cover, there’s another logo prominently displayed, and there’s a big “parody” tag. None of that is true of the Antarctic Press version. Plus, their proposed second book also uses the same cover color, spine treatment, and image arrangement as the second Wimpy Kid book, Rodrick Rules.

I’d also guess, although this is purely my assumption, that Antarctic’s choice to do a second volume (and presumably more, if these were successful) contributed to the lawsuit. It’s one thing to do a one-off joke, but if you look like you’re trying to ride the success of someone else’s property as a continuing effort, that might be something to stop. Even though Zombie Kid only sold about 850 copies through comic stores (bookstore figures aren’t available), while the Wimpy Kid series has sold 52 million copies so far in North America. Wimpy Kid, Inc. is seeking in court “treble damages, plus attorneys’ fees and Antarctic’s profits from Diary of a Zombie Kid.” The companies are reportedly in settlement talks; I’m betting the settlement is Antarctic saying, “We’re sorry, and we won’t do it again.”

2 Responses to “Antarctic Press Agrees to Restraining Order Over Wimpy Kid Lookalike Zombie Kid”

  1. Steve Horton Says:

    Huh. I thought parody was protected thanks to Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell. It doesn’t matter how similar it looks to the original … it’s parody.

  2. Johanna Says:

    It does matter, under trademark law, if the reader is likely to buy your book thinking it’s actually the other one. Also, many parodies are clearly not intended to serve as a replacement for the original, often having different formats. I’m not sure how far the “parody” claim will take Antarctic in terms of covering what they were trying to turn into a series.




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