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Borrowing other people's comic ideas and making it your own

Can you accept that? And if I or someone else promises that it'll be much better than the "original" product, would you believe it?

Say like Megatokyo. Fred Gallagher's comic's basic gist is that two Americans got stuck in Japan and have adventures. If I would to take that same plot, I would move the story into a different direction, and oversee my characters doing stuff like challenging a tsunami, barfighting with expatriates not unlike William Beckerson, having an ex-girlfriend stalking them, put rampaging flamethrower-wielding Scottish-accented chickens & so on.

No problem. However, how do you deal with people who complains about the "similiarities" between two or more comics, and how would I convince them that that's where those "similiarities" end?

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

There is a huge difference between using the same "idea" as someone else and using the same expressive elements of a comic. Kind of a scale between working in the same genre on one end to blatant copying on the other end.

What you're describing seems pretty fair game to me unless you'r suggesting to actually say you're using the actual two characters from MegaToyko in which case I'd say don't do it (unless it's a parody or something which doesn't sound like something you're asking about.)

The gist of the plot of most webcomics isn't that unique for the most past. It's how that gets crafted into the final product that makes them unique. There's a heck of a lot more to MegaToyko's "megatoyko-ness" than the basic premise of two guys stuck in a foreign land.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

I'd say if you're trying to convince them that they're more different than they are alike, make sure you admit whatever similarities exist (after all, that's the point they are trying to make).

And along with the similarities, you could describe a wide array of works that share those same similarities. Ghastly had a great example of the the "road buddies" premise with the Hope/Crosby films. Cowboy Bebop, The Blues Brothers, Don Quixote and even Timon and Pumbaa use a similar premise. I doubt you could accuse them of ripping each other off, so if Megatokyo's mere premise is the basis of your opponent's argument, it's no longer a valid basis.

andrael's picture

Nutcracker Barbie? Rapunzel Barbie? Barbie Swan Lake? At any rate, anything that's written in the spirit of revulsion for those crappy Barbie CG flicks sounds good in my book.

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Actually, I like the idea of seeing an idea someone else has and taking it and making it your own and BETTER, according to your tastes. I'm currently writing a script for a comic that is TOTALLY a reaction to a Barbie bad CG movie. Keep in mind I've been nannying for a living and you won't want to shoot me for my own good. But this movie, awful as it was, made me think about why it was so awful (to keep me sane as the girls and I watched it over and over again) and therefore what *I* would have done with the same story. After a lot of polishing, the two are so far removed so that no one in their right mind would think of this Barbie movie if they saw my script, despite the basic story being really similar (but that's also because it's an old story and people would think of the old story before the Barbie movie).. but I think that's the goal. To get people to think more about your work than what you may be ripping off. Unless it's a parody.

-Meaghan

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Hell, wern't most of Bob Hope's and Bing Crosby's (not to be confused with Chris Crosby) movies all about two guys stuck in a foreign land and then madcapped whackiness ensued?

If anything MegaTokyo is just an otaku take on the road movie... albeit one that has been going on for years and has yet to really establish anything in the way of plot apart from the fact that Largo loves destruction like Piro loves schoolgirls.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Ow. Too much /337.

Dear sweet mother of god, please let that be ironic.

Naw, it'll only be derivative and boring if he wants it to be.

Incidentally, I was browsing through the Kspace submissions and just found what it seems to be the anti-Megatokyo.

http://www.keenspace.com/signup_samples/?mode=VIEW&name=ph4rphr0mh0m3

No I can't accept that. I think it's derivative and boring.

~Liriel

There's a fine line between stealing material and merely paying homage.

I, for example, worship Penny-Arcade.
A comic I was going to do prior to White Hydra was Douche o Rama, and it had a sort of Penny-Arcade feel to it. It was in homage because I simply fucking love that strip.

Borrowing other people's comic ideas and making it your own

Can you accept that? And if I or someone else promises that it'll be much better than the "original" product, would you believe it?

Say like Megatokyo. Fred Gallagher's comic's basic gist is that two Americans got stuck in Japan and have adventures. If I would to take that same plot, I would move the story into a different direction, and oversee my characters doing stuff like challenging a tsunami, barfighting with expatriates not unlike William Beckerson, having an ex-girlfriend stalking them, put rampaging flamethrower-wielding Scottish-accented chickens & so on.

No problem. However, how do you deal with people who complains about the "similiarities" between two or more comics, and how would I convince them that that's where those "similiarities" end?

Re: Borrowing other people's comic ideas and making it your

[quote:5800e24717="Rebelsun"] barfighting with expatriates not unlike William George
I'd kick your candy ass!