Comics are one of the most preferred materials that most children and teenagers love to read and have fun. The attractive colors and overall presentation of the book makes them pleasant and entertaining to read. Though the first ever comic was published in 1933, it grew in popularity only in 1938. By the year 1940, everyone was introduced to comics, and the next decade saw about 1.5 million copies of comics sold every month. This period was known in history as the golden age of comics.
With the evolution of technology, hard-printed comic books slowly started evolving into digital copies, and a lot of websites and software were introduced to showcase both new and old comics. The innovation attracted budding comic artists who were seeking a platform to display their talent, but the opportunity also resulted in the increasing threats of plagiarism in comics.
How Can One Commit Plagiarism in Comics?
Most people are familiar with plagiarizing content in blogs, articles or even novels. However, the threat of plagiarism is quite common in comics too, but these cases are mostly overshadowed by their popularity or confined to the Internet. With the emergence of the World Wide Web, more and more people had the opportunity to publish their creative work in social media, websites dedicated to comics and other places.
This is great for the most part, but problem arises when there are comics with similar art, concept, or characters. There are quite a few cases of comics containing plagiarized content from other copyrighted works, but before we get into that, we need to have a clear picture about the various types of plagiarisms in comics.
- Plagiarized Art Work: It is quite common to have a reference image while drawing; however, some artists may take too much inspiration from the reference image. If this happens, there is a good chance that the end result will turn out to be similar to the reference image. Copying artwork from another comic is a serious case of copyright infringement, and the person responsible for it can be sued by the copyright owners.
- Plagiarizing Story or Concept: Writing a story with the same concept or recreating a story with different characters are all violations of copyright law. If you have any intention of recreating an already existing comic or story, you must obtain permission from the owner of the original work. This is known as the exclusive right to reproduce. If you failed to obtain the right, then you will be liable to pay for the statutory damages.
In order to prevent these types of plagiarism, one can use anti-plagiarism software. There are a lot of online plagiarism checkers that let the user scan for duplicate content in their comic and give them a report of the plagiarism detected. Today, a lot of students started developing an interest in creating and publishing their own comics. Being beginners, they try to replicate certain plots or characters in their comics, which is okay as long as they do not publish them. Publishing comics with copied content from famous comics or other student’s works are considered academic dishonesty.
Notable Cases of Comic Plagiarisms
Though most copyright cases regarding comics have gone unnoticed, there are a few that are quite famous and noticed by the public.
- Aquaman is Plagiarized
Aquaman is a famous DC comic super hero who was known to be a part human and a part Atlantean. Though this seems to be an original and a cool idea, it is often forgotten or ignored that there exists a similar character with a similar origin but created by an entirely different comic publisher (Marvell). Considering the fact that both the comics are copyrighted, it is a violation of copyright protectionact. However, neither of the companies have blamed each other for it.
- Green Arrow’s Striking Similarities to Robin Hood
Green Arrow is another famous comic that exists because of plagiarism. From the very beginning Green Arrow’s design and the character as a whole had a lot of similarities to the Robin Hood, a character in English folklore who is known for being a skillful marksman, and his soft spot for the poor. And what’s more, even the creators of the comic confessed that their character was in fact inspired by Robin Hood.
- Green Arrow and Batman
Robin Hood was not the only character that the creators of Green Arrow took an inspiration from. They also copied certain aspects from the famous crime fighting vigilant, Batman. Though both characters belong to different universes, their back stories and the way they operate are almost the same. For example, both Batman and Green Arrow have their own assortment of high-tech vehicles such as the batmobile and arrow-car. With this, it is safe to say that Green Arrow has allegedly infringedthe copyrights of Batman.
- Wonder Woman’s Back Story is Copied from a Novel Published in 1915
If you know about Wonder Woman’s story, and how she hailed from a land inhabited by solely women, you may find the story of Herland shockingly similar to it. Herland is a novel authored by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the main plot revolves around the three men who arrive at land, where its entire population is women. This is another famous case of concept plagiarism, where a part of the concept is copied.
How to Deal with Comic Plagiarism?
Now that we have explored various cases of plagiarism, it is time to tackle the elephant in the room which is how to avoid plagiarism in comics. Dealing with copied content in comics is not as easy as dealing with the copied content in articles or novels. We cannot just put the comic into a plagiarism scanner, and find out the plagiarized content as they are a bunch of pictures consisting of words in them.
In order to tackle this, we need advanced plagiarism detectors that use artificial intelligence (AI). With the help of artificial intelligence these tools can read even texts that are embedded in images, thus reporting any plagiarism in comics and helping you create and publish original work.