Oh Nick Simmons. I kind of wanted to post a spirited defense of you using scans of Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga, but I had to draw the line when you weren’t just biting BLEACH, but biting BLEACH FANART. Like… yow, lowest of the low.

Deb Aoki spent the night asking difficult questions on Twitter, about the difference between what Simmons did and what thousands of anime-convention artist alley kids do every year, when they sell their own illustrations and stories based on the work of famous manga creators like Tite Kubo. The short answer is that anime fandom sat up and said “NO! We do what we do out of love and have very strict rules about that sort of thing!” and blah blah blah, which basically ammounted to “It’s us doing it so it’s okay, but Nick Simmons is them, so he’s a pariah we’re all going to tear our garments over.”

Got news for you, champs.

When you sell illustrations, or short stories, featuring your favourite characters, you’re entering into exactly the same dirty world of “commerce” that poor Nick Simmons did. You may be, in your head, doing it in ‘tribute’ to the manga or the creator, but out in the real world? You’re ripping him off, just like Nick Simmons did. You’re more honest about your sources, but you’re less creative. You may even have a much higher degree of craft, but as soon as you violate someone’s copyright or IP in that way, making money based on (legally and artistically) derivative works? You’re all just a batch of Nick Simmons, building your careers on the backs of others creators.

Are there lots (lots) of people who do it? Yes. Is their a “community” of like minded people all telling each other that what they do is okay? Fuck yeah! Does it make a lick of difference…?

Here’s the thing: I’ve got infinitely more respect for obvious thief Nick Simmons than I do for the legions of artist-alley dwellers selling mass-produced copies of their fanart for characters. Nick Simmons is (badly) taking his influences and turning them into something (horribly derivative but at least nominally) “new”. It’s not original, it may not even be good, but every artist or writer is comprised mainly of the sum of their influences and experiences. But at least Simmons on his first shot out of the gate managed to synthesize all that shit into something other than “Here is a terribly drawn portrait of two BLEACH characters making out, in tribute to an author who clearly never wanted this to happen or he’d have done it himself. I am charging $10 for this colour photocopy.”

Paying “tribute” to an author like Kubo by selling work based on his creations is about the same as “building his popularity” by distributing illegal scans and fansubs of his work, I personally put the two in exactly the same category: complete fucking fiction.

What I’m saying is Nick Simmons’ behaviour is embarrassing and the work is getting the smackdown it deserves. But North American anime “fandom” for their legion of sins have no reason to be so comfortable in their condemnation, particularly because the behaviour they condone–and celebrate–is worse.

- Chris
P.S.: I love fan creations, I am happy that people legitimately pay tribute to artists they love on DeviantArt and in the myriad of Fanfic communities. Sell that work and you cross a line.

Edit Sat Feb27: Normally, I wouldn’t bother approving some of the stuff in the comments section, because there’s a combination of wrong-headedness and pomposity from a bunch of alias’d anime fans that’s off-putting at best, but I decided this time out to let the comments ride. Mostly because I think that the more ridiculous comments speak for themselves, but I also kind of knew that this would be a contentious one going in. As such, I don’t particularly recommend reading the comments here, but instead would recommend that the most compelling rebuttal to my ideas comes from Simon Jones at Icarus Comics, http://www.icaruscomics.com/wp_web/?p=4319, and you should check those out if you’re interested in more on the subject.

For my part, I do understand that plagiarism is bad news, but then I didn’t think that need to be stated. Instead my position was (and still is) that the culture of complacency and all of the mealy-mouthed defence for selling unauthorized work based on a creator’s IP that permeates anime fandom? Far, far worse than any individual instance of plagiarism, no matter how famous the plagiarist is. Seriously, the general attitude of North American Anime & Manga Fandom with its fansubs, it’s scanlations, it’s complete disregard for intellectual property, ethics, or fairness in the face of what they want (everything) and what they want to pay for it (nothing) is so much more utterly damaging to Tite Kubo, to manga and anime, and to Art and Artists hoping to make a living from their Art, than Nick Simmons could ever hope to be. Get your own house in order before crucifying this guy.

Thanks for reading!

- Christopher

48 Comments on “Oh, Nick Simmons”

  1. Nawid Ahrary says:

    Nailed it.

    When are you going to nail the 10 most important manga of the decade #9 and #10?

    I hate to interrupt but I really loved it and I plan check out most of what you mentioned.

  2. Simon Jones says:

    >Here’s the thing: I’ve got infinitely more respect for obvious thief Nick Simmons than I do for the legions of artist-alley dwellers selling mass-produced copies of their fanart for characters.

    I have a different perspective on that. The issue isn’t that Simmons took inspiration, but he literally traced the artwork. That’s akin to mechanical reproduction, the visual equivalent of Milli Vanilli. Even the concept of copyright law makes it clear that it is not ideas or styles that are protected, but the actual implementation, how the expression is executed. People are angry, as they should be, because this is not just a misappropriation of someone else’s *actual* work, but because it is also a clear deceit of the audience. This is greater than the artist, or the profit motive.

  3. Jay says:

    Would you also be crossing that line by selling doujinshi at your comic shop or a con?

    It may have a long tradition, but it’s still unauthorized work sold for a profit.

  4. Rachel @ Last Res0rt says:

    I’m no fan of fanart being sold at conventions either, but I still consider what Nick Simmons did to be worse.

    On the totem pole of stuff fans shouldn’t do, tracing is still pretty dang unacceptable even if you’re doing it for FREE.

  5. The Nick Simmons Internet Beatdown continues « MangaBlog says:

    [...] and tracking the controversy on Twitter, and Christopher Butcher sums some of that up with a stern admonition to fan artists at Comics212.net: Here’s the thing: I’ve got infinitely more respect for obvious [...]

  6. Elin Winkler says:

    I’m curious how you feel about the doujinshi at ComiKet. There are Japanese fan artists and authors who do make *extremely large* amounts of money on their derivative fanworks using other people’s characters- we’re not talking a couple hundred dollars, but upwards of five to ten thousand in one day. (There are even guys who derive their entire living from making doujin of copyrighted characters and doing the doujinshi event circuit.) There are some doujin circles (those made up of famous mangaka or character designers) who have pulled $30k, $40k or even $50k *in one day* selling their derivative doujinshi. And, I can tell you now, guys like Kenichi Sonoda, Tsukasa Kotobuki and Oh! Great are not getting permission before they draw pr0n of famous anime and video game characters in their extremely high-selling doujinshi.

    I think the reason so many people are outraged by Simmons is that he had the opportunity to be professionally published and not only traced artwork, but stole story concepts wholesale. You know, like how all the Image guys did in the early and mid-1990′s. The difference is that no one cared then that half those artists were stealing from Kotobuki, Bengus and Shirow.

  7. LurkerWithout says:

    You know, like how all the Image guys did in the early and mid-1990’s

    Er, what?

  8. Nawid Ahrary says:

    Thinking about it, how does this work with professional con commissions? Do you consider John Byrne doing a commission of some DC and Marvel characters fighting in the same way?

  9. Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment says:

    [...] Simmons plagiarized Bleach and other manga titles, bloggers Deb Aoki (on Twitter), Rob Bricken, Christopher Butcher, Johanna Draper Carlson and Simon Jones weigh in with commentary on plagiarism, scanlations/piracy [...]

  10. Elin says:

    Re: LurkerWithout:

    There were a ton of “miniseries” (I call them that, because they were clearly meant to be longer, but the artists wandered off or what have you) in the mid-1990′s that were published under the Image banner that blatantly ripped whole panels and pages from various famous (and some not so famous) manga. The one that readily springs to mind at the moment was Defcon4, which lightboxed whole pages out of Masamune Shirow’s Appleseed and Intron Depot books. Battlechasers appropriated character designs from Capcom characters (mostly designed by Bengus) and Saber Marionette J (designed by Tsukasa Kotobuki), Darkminds stole heavily from Ghost in the Shell, Warlands ripped all the character designs from Record of Lodoss War, etc. etc. Rob Liefeld regularly stole designs from Gundam artbooks, Bubblegum Crisis, Eat-Man, etc. Aphrodite IX was unusual in that it didn’t steal from manga, but instead from Milo Manara artbooks. If you were an anime/video game/manga fan between 1995-2000, it was really irksome seeing all these “homages” going on while manga itself was looked down on. Especially when someone like Kevin Lau was being lauded for tracing whole pages from Tsukasa Kotobuki doujinshi. (At least he picked something obscure to trace from…?)

    There used to be an excellent website that was active around 1996-1999 that tracked all the swipes going on in comics (especially Image comics), but it’s been inactive for years now. Wish I could remember what it was called now. I actually had to threaten legal action to a smaller Image studio about appropriating character designs from a manga my company was publishing the translated version of at the time (Mechanical Man Blues, by Kotobuki), which may be why I remember this stuff so well. Alas, I can’t even remember the name of the comic that swiped from us now (it’s been ten years), and it only had two issues come out.

    If you go back far enough on this site http://blog.adlo.es/ you can see lots of the early Image swipes, as well as a bunch of other egregious cases.

  11. Chris says:

    Simon: Here’s the thing though, what if Nick Simmons just happens to be a sheltered, spoiled kid with no idea of the way the world works with regards to art ethics? What if he really thought that’s how comics were made, just sampling stuff and reconfiguring it into something “new”? What if he’s just really, really ignorant, and didn’t “intend to deceive” anyone at all?

    Cuz, I’d lay money down on him being an idiot before I’d lay money down on him intentionally ripping off bleach and trying to pull a fast one on people. Because even then he’d STILL be an idiot for assuming he could get away with it.

    I see what you’re saying, but you’re getting into intent, and I’m going to defer to “never chalk up to malice what could easily be explained by stupidity”. He’s a rich kid whose daddy bought him a comic, he probably had no idea he was doing anything wrong.

    Note: He should still _absolutely_ be smacked around for it. But I don’t think there was any intent to deceive.

    Nawid: I was pretty clear to outline the difference between mechanical reproductions (photocopies, colour copies, etc.) and originals.

    But when you get into the realm of superhero comics, there are 80 years of completely atrocious and fucked up ethics to consider that I don’t really feel like working through at the moment.

    Everyone Else: I got two quick thoughts on doujin.

    1. Doujin exists as part of a larger social contract in Japan, built on 5000+ years of accumulated culture that we don’t have here. On cultural grounds I don’t feel like I have any sort of right to tell the Japanese manga/doujin industry what they should or shouldn’t do, it’s not my culture and anything else is presumptuous. They seem to have worked out how to do it there where everyone is generally happy. When someone steps over the line (google ‘doraemon ending doujin’) there are immediate apologies and financial restitution.

    We don’t have that in North America. As much as we might like to, we don’t, and using Japan’s doujin scene and attendant 5000+ years of unique culture to justify selling one’s own fan work here is arrogant cultural assimilation, frankly. “If you’ve never been to the ghetto, then don’t ever come to the ghetto, cuz you wouldn’t understand the ghetto, so stay the FUCK out of the ghetto,” to quote the good folks at Naughty By Nature.

    So, “I am glad that the doujin scene works in Japan! We are not in Japan.”

    2. Doujin satire and parody? Totally different kettle of fish. We protect that in this country too. Awesome, go for it.

    - Chris

  12. MisterSnrub says:

    How is the “Artist Alley Legion” of fans different from the “professionals” who sell sketches, commissions and prints all over the con floor, and in Artist’s Alley? Because they’ve been given a break professionally, their theft of i.p. is okay, but fans are breaking the rules? Find me ONE professional artist who has never sold any sketch/print/commission at any con ever and will be impressed. Find me two dozen and I’ll point you towards at least 20 liars. This series of “pointed” comments and observations conveniently ignores and subsequently absolves creators who sell the aforementioned products, not to mention sketchbooks, original art, and various other copyrighted material while trying to indict fans for that behavior. Bull. Shit.

  13. Chris says:

    Actually, all of that said, Simon from Icarus posted a very eloquent explanation of his position. I’m actually reconsidering mine:


    - Chris

  14. Chris says:

    Mister Snrub: Your viewpoint is flawed. Right in the second sentence, “because they’ve been given a break professionally.” That’s a pretty big chip on your shoulder there, ‘given a break’. You equate professional success with capriciousness, rather than hard work and determination.

    Everything else you say is flawed, particularly when you read into my motives and ideas, and it all flows from that point. You’re pretty fucked up actually, I kind of feel bad for you. Lay off the internet.

    - Chris

  15. Jay says:

    Honestly, unless the author or copyright holder chooses do do anything about it I’m not sure why anyone cares.

    Also, I doubt Tite Kubo cares if a person ripping him off is Japanese or not.

  16. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Incarnate controversy keeps heating up says:

    [...] artists” that Simmons had for this book — there has been a little bit of blowback on the Internet. One instance that seemed too-crazy-to-be-true was a post on Topless Robot, which [...]

  17. Simon Jones says:

    >What if he’s just really, really ignorant, and didn’t “intend to deceive” anyone at all?

    His intentions are less important than how the audience perceives it. It is a deceit.

    I want to say, though, that I really do feel sorry for Simmons. I felt so from the very beginning this story broke out. This was obviously a responsibility he was not ready for, mentally or physically. Heck, I recall an episode of the Family Jewels (1 of 2 I’ve seen) where Gene booked the poor guy’s band for a gig they didn’t ask for. There’s a pattern here.

    If he were really serious about comics, I think he should by all means lay low for a while, work on his craft, and when he’s ready, get a pseudonym and enter the industry the old-fashioned way – work your way in from bottom to top. I wouldn’t even begrudge him if he used some of his inheritance to self-publish then; one has to use every advantage available to him in life. But I kind of doubt that he was ever serious about it, though…

  18. Evan Dorkin says:

    I wouldn’t bend so far backwards to make excuses for the Bleach rip, you could postulate all the fan artists are naive rather than devious if you want to stretch the argument. I think professionally publishing such obviously swiped art (and even some dialogue) crosses several lines the fans don’t (or at least haven’t access to crossing). I understand where you’re coming from, but come on, if it was some celebrity kid ripping Scott Pilgrim we’d all be taking up arms. Some folks don’t give a shit because they feel the Bleach creator’s rich or indifferent to the situation or they don’t like manga so they don’t care (which is idiotic) — as if that has any bearing on the case. That’s like saying it’s no biggie I beat the shit out of someone’s uncle for no reason whatsoever because nobody really cares for the uncle. Crime’s a crime, and this kid’s dad sure as shit has sued anyone stepping near his intellectual property, I’m sure. Two wrongs don’t make this right or any less of a serious swipe/theft issue. And if you’re going to give Nick the benefit of the doubt, why not extend that to the possibly isolated fanboys and girls without rich parents, a TV show, a clued-in show-biz dad, lawyers doing their contracts for said show and comic (you don’t really think the kid does his own legal work, do you?), a publisher who should know better, etc? Yeah, they have the internet and fandom, so does Nick. I just think you’re making a valid point but loading up the defense on this kid’s comic to further that point. The various examples of what he’s done are pretty damning on the face of it, and the pulling of the comic doesn’t bode well at all for this kids “original work”. Just my opinion.

  19. bahamut says:

    You can’t be serious? Nick Simmons and the Artist Alley gang are completely different!

    If an Aritst Alley artist is selling a drawing of Ichigo, the artist knows he didn’t create Ichigo or Bleach, and he isn’t hiding that fact at all. He’s selling his interpretation of Ichigo. AND most importantly, the fans buying the drawing KNOW that the artist didn’t invent Ichigo. They know they’re paying for fanart. They know this isn’t the work of the original author. I probably wouldn’t by fanart myself, but to each their own. The appeal could be in seeing the characters drawn in a different artstyle (whereas Simmons just gave them a new paint job).

    The thing is Nick Simmons didn’t do what an Artist Alley artist does. He copied someone else’s characters and passed them off as if they were his own creation, the product of his imagination alone. Unlike the Artist Alley artist, he IS hiding the fact that he didn’t create these characters. That’s lying. The person buying it is tricked into thinking they’re buying something that Simmons invented. The person buying fanart KNOWS this is someone’s interpretation of someone else’s characters, while the person buying Incarnate is duped.

  20. thedirtyground says:

    Ehrm. I’m pretty sure Bruce Timm didn’t create Rorschach and yet, I saw him draw a Rorschach portrait and sell it to a fan.

    Pros or amateurs. Everyone infringes on copyright. Especially at conventions. I don’t think its necessarily fair to single out Artist Alley Kids.

  21. Chris says:

    “Thedirtyground”: I made a pretty clear distinction between original art and mechanical (and therefore infinite) reproductions.

    “bahamut”: I understand your point of view, but a pact of complicitness between the fan-artist ripping off Kubo and the buyer purchasing the work knowing that it’s ripping off Kubo…? That’s kind of a fandom-circle-jerk, and it doesn’t address the fact that both parties are still ripping off Kubo. I’d argue that the attitude that both people know what they’re doing but are doing it anyway and think it’s a good thing is far more dangerous.

    Evan: Yeah, you’re right actually. I don’t want to bend back that far to defend this kid. Just the natural internet tendency to up the ante, my bad.

    - Chris

  22. thedirtyground says:

    Just so I am clear, using my original Bruce Timm example, you are saying that its ok if he drew an original Timm-ize Rorschach at a convention and sold it, but not if he took the same original drawing, photocopied it, and sold it at the same convention for $10….?

    How is that any different from what an Artist Alley Kid does?

  23. AllBlue says:

    Dear Author,
    I can see obvious flaws in your reasoning -
    What Nick Simmons did and fan art creators did are on vastly different scales. Nick Simmons not only blatantly and literally traced off the original material, he went on to label it as his own work and creation to get PUBLISHED.

    Now the amateur artists on DA, yes they do sell commissions based on license art and even if they do so, the quantity is so numerous that I doubt the original creators care even if they find out. Most of the “commission fees” that those young fan artists asked for are nothing more than a compensation for their time and effort. That is how those potential artists prosper and hone their skills, do you find anything morally wrong and unacceptable in that?

    Please, next time you’re gonna go ahead and put forward your opinion to the public, read back and think twice.

  24. AllBlue says:

    Quoting bahamut from above:”The thing is Nick Simmons didn’t do what an Artist Alley artist does. He copied someone else’s characters and passed them off as if they were his own creation, the product of his imagination alone. Unlike the Artist Alley artist, he IS hiding the fact that he didn’t create these characters. That’s lying. The person buying it is tricked into thinking they’re buying something that Simmons invented. The person buying fanart KNOWS this is someone’s interpretation of someone else’s characters, while the person buying Incarnate is duped.”

    I can’t agree more with him, fan artists are there because most of the time the original artist himself cannot fulfill the fans’ need. I’ll struggle to name any original artist who takes commissions for his fans.

    Edit from Chris: This is exactly the sort of utterly fucked up attitude I’m talking about, btw. This asshole is toxic, but hardly unique.

  25. Jose says:

    Why am I defending anime fanartists?! Maybe you are using this news topic to talk about another aspect of anime-culture? I don’t think we can pardon Nick Simmons at all—he lied to his publisher by having them believe the artwork wasn’t copied and lied to readers who expected something new. And it pisses off cartoonists like me who would love to have a comic published (but my work isn’t Radical enough).
    As for anime fanartists, because I haven’t been to anime event, I don’t understand the amount of money that can be made at one, but I assume people aren’t making huge profits. I’m sure the money pours back into anime merchandising. Japanese fans do this as well, with doushinji, costumes, pin-ups… the fan-culture of anime is something that has kept it alive and amazing! Sure, the fanartists aren’t original, but I think they’re doing it more out of obsession, and patrons know they aren’t getting originality but a kawaii Copic-marker pantyshot. Besides, don’t all anime characters look the same anyway? Add a wing, subtract a scar…

  26. Deb Aoki says:

    Howdy — I collected the various comments (including yours!) about this whole piracy vs. plagarism vs. fan art kerfuffle here:
    Nick Simmons/Bleach Manga Plagiarism Scandal Rocks Comics Twitterverse.

  27. Lyra says:

    Yes; the anime fanarts absolutely scare me to the point of inner-distruction, but I’d like to make a point as well.

    ->ANIME artists are the only ones doing it. Look at all the unauthorized artists drawing Bart Simpson and pasting his face on a t-shirt and selling it on eBay! It is also unjustified to claim that all anime artists that sell at those conventions are selling fanart. I have always valued original art and character over copyrighted characters.

    What Nick Simmons did was inappropriate due to the fact little true effort was put into the pictures, yet he was still allowed to publish. You also have to realize despite the annoying anime artists that break copyright, I have noticed that no anime artist draws the fanart the same style the artists draws it. There are significant differences in style and method. Nick Simmons merely used simpler methods of taking the work of some else. His copies (cough-cough-fanart-tracing) had nothing of real value. At least the anime artists who draw fanart have at least made some effort in drawing the character themselves.

  28. MC_Nedelsky says:

    While I generally tend to assume you know alot more about comics than me and are therefore right, my own thoughts went along the lines of Mister Snrub and Nawid.

    Why is exactly OK for Jeff Lemire to draw Sandman or Michael Cho to draw Darkseid and get paid, where as it is not OK for manga fans (if I’m understanding what they are doing right)? Shouldn’t your criticism thus be levelled against any artist doing commissions of property they don’t themselves own (which in fact might include characters they have in fact worked on, or indeed even created).

    I single out Cho and Lemire only because a) I like their work b) I think you do too c) I’ve actually seen those commisions and love them. Personally I’m all for artist re-interpretation of beloved characters.

  29. MC_Nedelsky says:

    Oh, and related but doubtless far too weighty for a response in comment form:

    “same as “building his popularity” by distributing illegal scans and fansubs of his work, I personally put the two in exactly the same category: complete fucking fiction.”


    “But when you get into the realm of superhero comics, there are 80 years of completely atrocious and fucked up ethics to consider that I don’t really feel like working through at the moment.”

    - I would love to hear more on both these topics, given that I find the former at least moderately convincing (pro scanlation that is), and no little about the latter.

  30. Maximo V. Lorenzo says:

    I was going to argue but Simon put out the arguement just as I would have said it.

    When you work as an artist (it’s obvious Nick Simmons hasn’t AT ALL I mean look at his deviantart ) You start to learn the subtle lines between, stealing, inspiration, using help, etc. Your post really comes from a point of view that doesn’t understand these understandings most artists come to.

  31. MichaelJ says:

    Brilliant rhetoric, I understand where you are coming from.

    Though, artist alley “kids”…kids?

  32. Xenos says:

    I must say I disagree with the comparison of all the fan artists in artist alley using other characters with the plagiarism. They’re two different animals.

    Now if a fan artist traces from a manga and calls it his own, I’ll say it’s the same. Sadly I’ve seen this at times. Yet if they do their own original drawings and don’t try to hide the source of the character as their own? I don’t have the same problem with that. I do have some problems with artists relying too much on fanart and sometimes treating the characters as their own. They become creatively numb from artistically masturbating with another’s character. Yet it all depends on the artist’s mentality, personally.

    Hell, as pointed out, how many artists in the US sell Spider-man commissions or even prints? The trick is, the legal side of it, that publishers could pursue lawsuits but in order to find new artists they don’t and use fan art as a gauge for new art. It’s like that in Japan, but still a bit of a lesser degree here. You see more commissions and even prints than full out comics. Maybe sometimes an art book.

    Anyway, to me, Simmon’s crime was compounded by not only directly tracing panels and copying character designs. To me, that deceit and dishonestly seals the deal. He passes these off as original creations, which any Hellsing and Bleach fan could tell you that they’re not. You can’t just copy Captain America or Hulk and say “Original character, do not steal.” (Well, unless you’re maybe Rob Liefeld..)

    I will also say that the idiots who say all art can be copied and reinterpreted are crazy commie nutjobs who have no sense of personal property. Sure they say it now, but if they ever had anything to be copied -from- them, I’m sure they’d change their tunes.

    Well, I think Simon from Icarus Publishing said it better than I can, but I figured I’d toss in my two cents.

  33. dave merrill says:

    Others have said this better than I, but the Nick Simmons issue is that he is taking the artwork of others and promoting it as his own. AA artists are doing their own artwork, and are not claiming ownership. There are always people trying to pass off somebody else’s work as their own in the artists alley, and they usually get caught and mocked. (of course, name a rule and the fans will try to get around it.)

    There have been rumblings now and then at anime cons concerning copyright issues. There was a thing at Anime Expo where the sale of fan art of Kingdom Hearts characters in the artists alley was prohibited, and I believe the prohibition extended to costuming as well. I believe that was an Anime Expo held on Disney property, though.

    I don’t see what happens in anime convention artist alleys as being any different from what happens at the “artists row” at any comic book convention – people commission artists to draw their favorite characters and usually nobody involved in the transaction has any copyright ownership whatsoever. Is it an ethically gray area? Sure. Is it as bad as passing somebody’s work off as your own? Not even close.

  34. Dest says:

    As much as I see where you are coming from, I cannot find your argument reasonable. I am going to ignore the cheap pops at ‘anime fandom’, just going to gloss over them in terms of how they are worded.

    First off.
    ‘Paying “tribute” to an author like Kubo by selling work based on his creations is about the same as “building his popularity” by distributing illegal scans and fansubs of his work, I personally put the two in exactly the same category: complete fucking fiction.’

    When someone reads manga scans and does not purchase the manga volumes as they appear when translated, they deprive the publishing company of a monetary sale.

    When someone sells fanart of a series or even a fan comic based on the series, does that deprive the publisher of artist of a sale? No. Unless you wish to suggest that people would buy the fan comic INSTEAD of the series upon which it is based. Please do not suggest this.

    D?jinshi are important, nay vital to the Japanese manga industry.

    You know who decides that? Japanese artists and publishers.

    To quote wikipedia

    ‘Despite being in direct conflict with the Japanese copyright law as many d?jinshi are derivative works and d?jinshi artists rarely secure the permission of the original creator, Comiket is still permitted to be held twice year and holds over half-a-million people attending each time it convenes. However, the practice of doujinshi can be beneficial to the commercial manga market by creating an avenue for aspiring mangaka to practice, and talented doujinshi creators are contacted by publishers. This practice has existed since the 1980s. Many Japanese publishing companies sponsor annual manga competitions in which the winner is awarded the publication of their winning story. Salil Mehra, a law professor at Temple University, hypothesizes that because d?jinshi market actually causes the manga market to be more productive, the law does not ban d?jinshi as the industry would suffer as a result.’

    And just to clarify, that would be 30 years of Japanese cultural history that has any kind of relevance to this argument, as opposed to 5000. But America is different. And yet, as different as it apparently is, the very fact that you have such a huge beef with the artist alley crowd selling fan works shows that you are 100 percent wrong. Why do VIZ not have a team clamping down on the fanart scene? Why? Because just like comiket, these fan-works are tolerated by the companies that distribute them in America.

    You say in your original closing paragraph that ‘sell that work and you cross a line’. But it is a line which you yourself drew. Why is it you, and not the artists who created the original manga, or the Japanese distributors, or the US distributors that draws that line? That line was first drawn long ago and is redrawn in japan twice a year, by the people who have the right to decide where that line is. Comiket and D?jinshi exist because they are allowed to exist by the industry. And if fanart is allowed to continue to be sold at American conventions then whether you like it or not, the very same acceptance applies in America.

    On a side note. You blasted some guy into space for ‘reading into your motives and ideas.’

    ‘You’re pretty fucked up actually, I kind of feel bad for you. Lay off the internet.’
    Basically treated him like a piece of shit. And yet your entire argument is filled with you suggesting intent and motive of others. Like these examples.

    ‘I’d argue that the attitude that both people know what they’re doing but are doing it anyway and think it’s a good thing is far more dangerous.’

    “It’s us doing it so it’s okay, but Nick Simmons is them, so he’s a pariah we’re all going to tear our garments over.”

    ‘ he probably had no idea he was doing anything wrong.’

    ‘ He should still _absolutely_ be smacked around for it. But I don’t think there was any intent to deceive.’

    Fairly safe to say that avoiding reading intent into the motives and ideas of others is difficult, so it would be awesome if you did not nail people to the cross for what you yourself also do.

  35. L.D. says:

    I first read your opening paragraph as an expression of complete disrespect for and misunderstanding of what artists do, but reading it again, I see where you’re coming from. Your words still made me angry enough to post a comment, though.

    I don’t like people selling fanart for profit either, and haven’t done it myself, but that some amateur artists do it doesn’t excuse Nick Simmons’ plagiarism. I’d argue fanartists who do take the time and effort to interpret other people’s characters in their own style and _not_ pass it off as their original work is more honest than what Simmons does in his comic. Whatever you think about the idea of making money, I’m saying that with fanartists, the idea is not theirs, but the work is theirs, does that make sense? And that work is work. The value of that work is not contingent on a pat on the head from the original creator.

    You seem to have the notion that drawing fanart is some sort of tribute to the original artist? This is undoubtedly true for some people, maybe to everyone to some extent. It’s often true for me. But admiration and stealing can go hand in hand. An artist can respect and admire someone else’s work but that doesn’t preclude their taking whatever they want from it. I’ll give you my amateur’s two cents. And then you tell me to fuck off if you want.

    When I draw fanart I’m not “paying tribute” to my favorite artists — not in the way you mean, I think — I’m appreciating their craft and simultaneously digesting the shit out of their craft so that I can take it and then use it however I want. (I might like or respect the original artist as a person, I might not, doesn’t matter. The art has some interest/value to me regardless of what I feel about the person who made it.) imo this is what artists like Picasso and others mean when they say ‘to steal art.’ It’s time spent letting something sit in my head, combining it with stuff I’ve taken from other places, tranforming it, making it mine. But I don’t pretend that it sprang out from my head fully formed.

    It’s stealing and it’s ‘stealing.’ What I got from your jab at fanart and the post overall is that maybe you don’t recognize that as a form or work that is not _nothing_ and a form of respect, if you want to put it that way, that sometimes has nothing to do with the person who made the original art as a person.

    When does stealing become not stealing? _I_ know when it is that the art that _I’ve_ taken from the work of others becomes ‘mine.’ But the amount of work that takes depends on not just an artist’s barometer of ‘okay that’s done’ but also on the perception of other people and the fashion of the times.

    However you slice that, Nick Simmons didn’t do the kind of work I’m talking about. He did just enough work to put a comic book together from pieces he’d seen elsewhere without processing those pieces more than a bare minimum, if at all, and most of _that_ work was put to disguising where he got his pieces from and then passing it off as his own.

    Anyway I’m just an amateur artist who draws fanart sometimes who thought that the thinking behind your writing was incredibly wrongheaded. Maybe I read it wrong. I’m sorry if what I wrote is obscure but I haven’t tried articulating any of this before.

    P.S. to the thread. ‘Fanartist’ is not some lower artistic form. Simplistically classifying people who draw stuff into fanartists and non-fanartists and then doing some kind of value/status judgement based on that is missing something really fundamental about art and what it means to learn to become an artist. I am hoping you get what I mean, but if not, I guess that’s that.

  36. Mike says:

    I’ll throw in my two cents as an artist (though many years ago I shifted from illustration to 3d modeling and sculpting).

    I have nothing against fan art. I’ve never sold any, but as a kid I first started by drawing things like Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, and Star Wars characters. I can appreciate that someone could be inspired by a universe so much that they wish to contribute to it. Yes, it’s kind of sad and annoying when all they feel like adding to it are “two BLEACH characters making out, in tribute to an author who clearly never wanted this to happen or he’d have done it himself”. But to me that’s just the thing – the author didn’t do it himself. The work is using copyrighted characters, but the artist still did something with these ideas. When I look at the piece of fan art that was traced in this particular example, the character may be from Bleach, but the art itself shows some serious skill/time/effort by the artist who originally made it, and to me that should be worth something. Its a shame they can’t give royalties to Kubo if they were to sell such fan art, but they’re not exactly trying to pass off the character design as their own, just the art itself. It just feels like they’re contributing to the universe, regardless if they profit from it or not. When I see what Nick Simmons has done here though, it is more like those kids on Deviant Art that use MSPaint to color existing pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog green, except he’s acting like it isn’t Sonic, and making money from it. He’s not selling Bleach fan art, just someone else’s work as his own idea and ‘skill’.

    I can’t speak for Kubo or any other artist who had their work stolen in Incarnate or used for Fan-Art at conventions, but one of the reasons I ended up opting for a less lucrative career as an artist (I was originally gearing for Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science) was because I thought it would be rewarding to help create a world that could inspire future artists like others have inspired me growing up. This was also fueled by the unfortunate passing of a young artist (who was a big inspiration to me) to right around the time I was set to graduate and enroll (a memorial for him here http://sonsofthestorm.com/memorial_twincruiser.html). I would never be offended if people where making fan art of something I created, even if they were just making all the male characters make out (while selling it to other fans). I’d still classify that as ‘mission accomplished’. However I would not appreciate people passing off my work as their own, and would hate to see someone using my assets on their demo reels.

  37. Elin Winkler says:

    “Seriously, the general attitude of North American Anime & Manga Fandom with its fansubs, it’s scanlations, it’s complete disregard for intellectual property, ethics, or fairness in the face of what they want (everything) and what they want to pay for it (nothing) is so much more utterly damaging to Tite Kubo, to manga and anime, and to Art and Artists hoping to make a living from their Art, than Nick Simmons could ever hope to be. Get your own house in order before crucifying this guy.”

    Then, mainstream comics fandom should get their house in order as well. Pros swiping from other artists and sources has been an ongoing issue since the 1990′s. (At least when a Japanese pro is caught swiping, their manga are cancelled and they are forced to apologize. Unless you are the guy who does Ikki Tousen…) The artist alleys at mainstream comics conventions are also full of “fan artists” (and pros) doing commissions of characters they do NOT own, selling prints of characters they do NOT own, and in general profiting off someone else’s creations. If it’s extremely not cool for Random Anime Kid to sell his sketchbook full of drawings of Naruto characters, then it’s also extremely not cool for Adam Hughes or Terry Dodson to sell their sketchbooks full of drawings of Lara Croft, Black Cat and Power Girl. It’s the exact same thing. And come on, you can’t tell me there isn’t rampant scanning and stealing of mainstream superhero comics. I’ve personally experienced the entitlement and butt-hurt of mainstream comic fans who refuse to buy certain titles, though they will read them online for free and then complain about the storylines/creative teams/art/etc. They’ll give the same justifications anime fans give when confronted about the piracy aspect. (“I don’t want to pay for them unless they do stories I like”, “they’re too expensive, I’d buy them if they were cheaper”, “they don’t come out on the schedule I want”) Even video game fans have the same attitudes these days, and heck yes, they pirate the hell out of games.

    If it’s wrong for one group to behave in this manner, it’s just as wrong for other groups. It is a problem endemic of FANDOM in general, not *just* anime kids. We should hold everyone to the same standard. And, we should be looking for ways to get these people to actually BUY the things they like. Because of the internet, there will always be that percentage of people who will never pay for anything. Those people are a lost cause; the goal is to try to get the non-lost-cause types to actually buy. I think the initiatives many of the companies are doing now are great ideas- letting people try before they buy DOES work. Will it be enough? Let’s hope so.

    Also, am I the only person left alive who remembers JAILED, and the massive screaming in anime fandom when they cracked down on fansubbers and bootleggers? Did that organization work? Did bootlegging in America actually stop? I’m not trying to be flip, I actually am curious if any serious impact was made.

  38. Chris says:

    Elin- I about 80% agree with you, and I mention anime & manga fans in this instance because they’re the ones bitching the loudest at the moment. Of course scans of superhero comics and the attendent fans thereof are the same, it’s killing comics, frankly. And the swipes, the gross lack of professionalism in North American comics? Well, yes, of course. This is not a new notion to be floated on this blog. This just isn’t the subject we’re discussing today.

    But when it comes to folks like Hughes or Dodson selling sketchbook reproductions of professional work they’ve done… well, that’s where you lose me. If the copyright holders know that Adam Hughes is selling thousands of copies of wonder woman or power girl drawings, and they’re cool about it, then who the fuck am I to say otherwise? (That’s rhetorical btw). Because the folks who own that work most certainly do know about those books and prints, and they’re either giving implicit or explicit approval. So yeah, I think it’s a very different thing.

  39. DanielBT says:

    “Also, am I the only person left alive who remembers JAILED, and the massive screaming in anime fandom when they cracked down on fansubbers and bootleggers? Did that organization work? Did bootlegging in America actually stop? I’m not trying to be flip, I actually am curious if any serious impact was made.”

    Could you go into more detail about that? It sounds VERY similar to a comic story I’d been working on and off on, about a secret organization that’s devoted to capturing illegal Fansubs in the same way that authorities go after illeagal immigrants.

    It was originally going to be a faux biography on the rise of the popularity of Anime in a culture where animation was still seen as kid’s stuff. The covert organization would be devoted to hunting down and capturing these rogue Animes before they corrupted the minds of children. It would start from the early 90′s, from the appearance of Akira (the Anime Boom) to the end of the 2000 when the organization would colapse due to its irrelevance. To further drive the point of parody home, all the Anime characters that would show up would be caricatured as Pokemon animals.

    However, I’ve kind of reached writer’s block for the middle part of the story, since I have little to no knowledge of the rise of Otaku culture when it was in its infancy in the 70s – 80s. Apparently, no one was taking notes on what was going on at the time.

  40. MC_Nedelsky says:

    I don’t know whether the discussion has exhausted or bored you, particularly as it seems to have slightly shifted from the merits of the actual arguments to why the opponent is wrong (oh internet), but I’m actually interested in the argument you’re trying to make, though I think I disagree with it. In attempting to clarify whether I think you’re wrong or I just don’t understand what you said, I’ve tried to break down your argument. As I understand it (and please correct me if I am wrong), there are three central points to your argument and to the discussion herein:

    1. Nick Simmon’s behavior, while deplorable, is far less damaging to the overall health of the North American Manga industry than is the attitude of a large portion of NA Manga fanbase. Therefore, the criticism of the fandom ranks of hypocrisy.

    My initial response: fine. This seems to me the point you are most interested in making, and one I’d be least likely to disagree with. I’d still debate whether the fandom is really hurting the industry (though I have absolutely no data to back up my argument), but you could be right. I’d also suggest that their guilt doesn’t deprive them the right to point out others malpractice. To grossly misuse a biblical quote, sometimes even the sinners should cast stones, cause some motherfuckas (simmons) just need a rock upside the head.

    2. Nick Simmon’s is just as bad, perhaps worse, the manga/anime fanartists.

    Am I right in attributing this argument to you? Originally that seemed clearly to be the case, but in the comments section your agreement with Evan Dorkin suggests at least you think he is no worse than them. What is somewhat unclear is whether you are swayed by the argument of Simon Jones and the various commentators here, which in large part seems to trade on the nature of the deception involved.

    If your position remains the same, I’d personally still disagree with you, but it seems that the arguments on both sides are pretty clear. You have a stronger attachment to a creator’s right to their IP, while your critics have a more generous understanding of what constitutes fair use. Would that be a fair characterization?

    3. The North American comics practice of superhero commissions and other licensed property is regrettable. It is, however, a long standing practice, and thus one at least tacitly endorsed by the comics industry. This in contrast to the North American Manga fanartist scene.

    It’s in regards to North American mainstream comics that I’m not sure I follow. Is the suggestion that mainstream publishers know about this behavior, and think its good or inevitable, whereas the manga publishers do not? Because I think Viz, Tokyopop, etc. have a decent idea. Or is it because the creators themselves – i.e. the mangaka in japan – have no idea how their work is being used in North America? Is there some distinction you draw between company owned property and creator owned? i.e. is it less grevious a sin to commission a sketch of the Flash than say, Scott Pilgrim? (On that note, do most Manga creators own the characters they create?)

    I recognize your argument that the post was not meant to deal with the countless elements of poor practice within the North American market, but at least in terms of fan artists and convention sketches, the comparison seems like a fair one. For that matter, doesn’t the beguiling sell illustrations of iconic characters drawn by artists who do own that property? Either there is an inconsistency in your criticism, or (more likely) I really haven’t grasped this last point.

    Appreciate any expansions you care to make.

  41. DanielBT says:

    Some more clarification about my story, simply titled Defeat Otaku – it was inspired as an attempt to make a crossover between Roger Rabbit and Otaku no Video. It originally started out as a brief history of Anime in the US, and it’s general resistance until Pokemon appeared.

    What I planned was that there was this secret society funded by Disney and Warner Bros. to keep Anime from gaining popularity. This battle would already be half-won since the public had little to no knowledge or interest in said genre. That is, until Akira was unleashed in the 1990s. This would follow their struggle to stay alive until their collapse before the year 2000. During those years in between, I planned to show the Animes that were released to the US during those years. (As Pokemon caricatures, obviously, since it was the general “controversy” over the seizures that led to its increased success in 1997. Also, since it became the template for Anime, whenever anyone would think of Anime, they would think of Pokemon first)

    The Organization Defeat Otaku goes after these Otakus who’ve influenced people by getting into their hearts. After all, they’re not toons who have the power to come back from any life-threatening injury – they’re toons with the power of people. And that’s very disturbing to some higher-ups.

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit was loosly adapted from “Who Censored Roger Rabbit”, where the term, “Toons” was a derogatory term, in the same way that calling Blacks “Niggers” was. So what term could describe Anime characters that looked like toons, but weren’t? The answer seemed obvious, since Otaku is also considered a derogatoric term, but one nerds wear with pride.

    At first, I planned to end with the first part, but then in order to keep my interest involved to make the story more coherent, I started adding to the backstory, & realized there was more I wanted to say.

    So far, it’s split into three parts:

    Part 1 – Defeat Otaku – The chronicles of an Agent doing everything he can to try to keep Otakus in check, and slowly realizing it’s impossible. There’s a certain air of fatalism in it. – done in a slightly American style – at first, though it becomes more influenced by manga in subtle ways, though the Agent stylistically stays the same.

    Part 2 – Defeat Otaku Again – (Covers years 1979-2000, and shows the other side of the story – the people Defeat Otaku is fighting against) A girl sees a manga from a friend early in life, only to forget about it until high school, when she finds out she hadn’t imagined it. Hooks up with people who know about the culture, & tries hard to make it respectable. Often failing, until she finally succeeds, she finds out that the culture she tried to convey is lost among the newest generation. (Think Woman’s Lib, and how that led to empowered girls showing off more skin than ever) (I’m having the most trouble with this part, because very little information exists about the culture back then, & I have trouble with group conversations) – done in a slightly evolving Shojo style.

    Part 3 – Otaku Defeated – At the end of the 2nd Part, the Girl joins up with the Agent to try to put Otakus back into the underground. (Even knowing the folly of their ambition) The Agent & the girl are then assigned by an Otaku group (similar to the one the girl left) to stop an enthusiastic student of the Agent who left when he felt the Agent’s enthusiasm was waning. The student forces himself into the ways of the Otaku in order to beat them (something the Agent never did) and also designs a convulted plan to make Otakus detestable again. – done in a typical Shonen style. (This part I’m having the most fun with, since I don’t have to adhere to a rigid timeline)

    This is an incredibly condensed version of my story, and what I’ve planned so far. I haven’t even introduced the Otaking, who also plays a pivotal role in all three parts. It’s my attempt at a love letter to the Fansub community.

  42. MC_Nedelsky says:

    Wow, sorry, only the questions were meant to be italicized. My bad.

  43. Matt Thorn says:

    Great post, Chris, and a few great comments from others as well. As is so often the case, I’m with Simon here. Anytime some issue arises that juxtaposes “rights” and “manga” (in the Anglophone sphere, anyway), discussion invariably expands exponentially, and within hours, until it includes a whole list of topics that many of us could tick off in our sleep, and are sick to death of talking about. So I’ll focus narrowly on the “Artists Alley” comparison.

    I’ve been to just a handful of American manga/anime cons (and no comic cons, though I’ll be attending San Diego this year), and I’ve always found the grandiloquently named “Artist Alley” to be pretty sad. Sure, there are some talented people doing original work (I once actually tried to scout one amazing young woman to come study in Seika’s manga program), and some skilled people doing fan art, but mostly it’s…pretty sad. I can’t bring myself to feel any sort of umbrage to the person who says, “Here is a terribly drawn portrait of two BLEACH characters making out, in tribute to an author who clearly never wanted this to happen or he’d have done it himself. I am charging $10 for this colour photocopy.” That person doesn’t have a prayer of breaking even, let alone making a profit. And the person buying that photocopy is pretty sad, too. Either sad or inordinately charitable. But sad or not, there is a mutual understanding between seller and buyer, and no deception involved.

    And, yeah, the whole reason the transaction takes place is precisely because the characters are portrayed “making out,” and the original artist would never offer such a portrayal. Indeed, the fans wouldn’t really want him to, if they are anything like the hundreds of yaoi/boys-love fans I have known here in Japan. A big part of the thrill is the transgression, and commercial shonen manga that blatantly pander to such fans (and, yes, there have been a few) are generally received with contempt by those very fans. (The editors and artists at Shonen Jump have discovered the precise degree of pandering that allows both them and the yaoi/boys-love fans who make up a sizable chunk of Shonen Jump’s readership to deny that any pandering is intended. But here I’ve already drifted away from the specific American context.)

    In the Simmons case, Chris, I think you’re being, well, inordinately charitable when you suggest that Simmons had no intention of deceiving anyone. While people living in glass houses should think twice before throwing stones, I think it’s fair to say Simmons deserves to be tarred and feathered. But he doesn’t deserve to be summarily executed. Like Simon says, he deserves a chance to rehabilitate himself. Even Yuki Suetsugu (of Flower of Eden infamy) has managed to make a comeback after being subjected to the most thorough and public tarring-and-feathering in the history of manga plagiarism.

  44. Simon Jones says:

    Well, I’m actually not really far away from Chris’ perspective on certain types of “fan art.” (And as a retailer and convention organizer, Chris has far more intimate, first-hand experience with them than most of us.) When fan artists sell posters, T-shirts, pins, mugs… those fall a lot closer to “merchandise” than art/literature. And those do compete with legitimate products in ways that a parody comic does not.

    Again, I may not weigh that the same way as Chris, but I have long wished that N. American fans as a whole exhibited more *creative ambition* in how they chose to celebrate fandom. It would certainly make it easier for people like me to defend them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of scanlators, we had more fan artists who, through doing, gain a greater appreciation for manga?

  45. Kit says:

    I think I’m going to have to respectfully disagree on a few points here. While I am no fan of fan-art being sold at all, the production of derivative works is covered by Copyright law (no doubt it depends your country and its laws, but most nations protect parody of licensed works), just not for profit.

    Nick Simmons didn’t just produce fanart, he blatantly traced and copied artwork line for line from some the source and sold it for a profit. THAT is a violation of Copyright law. I believe that is what has most manga and anime fans most upset.

  46. radiuszero says:

    If you’re trying to argue that fanart takes away money from the creator, then you need to consider looking at it from another perspective. Sure, the fanart artist will get 20 bucks selling a few prints off of Naruto. But that’s cheap change when you realize, through the fanart, that artist is actually *promoting* the series for a cheap price. That creator may be losing 20 bucks, but he/she is also getting publicity. And since artist alley folks, unlike Nick, at least have the courtesoy to give due credit, they help spread the name.

    If fanart was really scandulous, then cons all over the country would’ve prohibited the selling of them ages ago. As it is, fanart offers people a chance to know more about the series from a fan’s perspective, as well as raise awareness of the series, AND raise revenue for more future cons (and thus, more places to sell the legit/original work through the Dealers’ Room).

    The difference between Nick and artist alley folks is that fanartists pay homage to the series and indirectly prompt people to buy original work. You could consider them the middle men. On the other hand, Nick takes credit for the traced work and gives no acknowledgment to the original creators (thus, actually NOT indirectly promoting the original creator’s work).

    Before you make assumptions, I attend conventions but I sell original work. Yet, I understand the relevance of fanart and have never had a problem having artists sell fanart of my characters. So long as they credit me, I don’t mind if they get paid because, in an indirect way, they are advertising me.

  47. Maximo V. Lorenzo says:

    “Art and Artists hoping to make a living from their Art, than Nick Simmons could ever hope to be. Get your own house in order before crucifying this guy.”

    Really? Dude you obviously have a problem with artists/artist-alley/fanart. It really makes you come across as arrogant and thick headed. You’re just not gonna get it are you?

    Whatever man enjoy this little soapbox you have for yourself.

  48. Chris says:

    Thanks, I celebrated my 11th anniversary on this little soap box in December. I’ll continue to enjoy it for years to come.

    Since you’re the only person with balls enough to sign his post with his real name, Maximo, I’ll go ahead and respond to you. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with fanartists or fanart, whatsoever. I drew plenty myself, it’s a great way to develop your skills. It’s totally natural to want to be a part of a story you enjoy. Where it crosses the line is when you sell fanart. And for me, the troubling thing isn’t the money that comes from it, though it’s illegal it’s still nickels and dimes in the big picture, it’s THE ATTITUDE that comes with selling it. It’s the attitude of all kinds of fandom fuck-ups that excuse what they’re doing. That point at another guy and say “Well he’s worse, what I do isn’t that bad,” or “I’m not making that much money so it’s okay,” or “I’M HELPING TO PROMOTE THE CREATOR! THEY SHOULD BE THANKFUL I’M MAKING COPIES OF THEIR WORK!”

    I mean, look at the comment before yours, from “radiuszero”. First paragraph. “that [fanartist] is actially *promoting* the series for a cheap price.” According to that jackass, not only is what they’re doing TOTALLY OKAY (because they say so), but that artists should be grateful that fanscum like them are out their ripping them off. The $20 that that fanartist is taking away from folks selling real, legit, licensed material is paltry but it’s still wrong. But the ATTITUDE that goes along with it, that by ripping off real manga artists the artist-alley crowd are doing that guy a favour? That’s what’s so absolutely abhorent. That’s what puts them up there with black market scanlators, black market subbers, pirates. Fandom has come up with a thousand excuses why what they do isn’t wrong, and they’ve crippled the anime industry, and they’re doing their best to cripple the manga industry, and so in the big picture one COMPLETE DOUCHEBAG like Nick Simmons isn’t worth fuck all compared to the “I’ll take what I want and tell you to thank me for it” attitude of fandom. Fuck Nick Simmons, but fuck them too. Fuck them HARDER.

    Here’s a hint: Tite Kubo doesn’t need your shitty “tributes” to promote him. He doesn’t even need your AMAZING “tributes” to promote him. He’s the motherfucking creator of BLEACH, which sells hundreds of thousands of copies of manga a year, tens of thousands of DVDs, millions in licensing. He doesn’t need you selling a shitty $20 colour photocopy to gain “publicity”.


    And that’s the note I want to go out on, with you sucking Nick Simmons’ cock.