For the Record

Here’s a lovely drawing by Vera Brosgol from several years ago:

And here’s a t-shirt recently offered by the band Pierce the Veil on Hot Topic’s website without Vera’s knowledge or consent:

Think this sort of thing doesn’t happen that often? Think again.

[UPDATE: Vera tweeted that both Hot Topic and the band have pulled the shirt and apologized, so rather than angry emails, let’s congratulate them for doing the right thing. As for the designer…]

Discussion (14)¬

  1. The original art’s so much more interesting. Sometimes a plagiarist will hit a cultural nerve, and everyone decides to call it homage…

    The crucial question is one of intent: is the imitating artist hoping we’ll get the reference, or is s/he hoping to slip it past us? Allusions enrich the culture, but plagiarisms make good originals into cultural cliches.

    • Scott says:

      I thought it was particularly telling that—zombies aside—the copy went the depressingly bland route of changing the two girls original into a girl and a boy.

      • Huh! That’s funny — it still looks like two girls to me in the copy.

        Anyway, Scott, thanks for bringing this to the attention of a larger audience. I had seen it mentioned on friends’ blogs and was saddened by it.

  2. Brad C says:

    I feel for the band and Hot Topic, they are taking all the heat for this but it’s really an unnamed designer who screwed all parties involved.

  3. Spencer says:

    In other news, Nina Paley.

  4. Will Curwin says:


  5. Sam says:

    I’d feel more sympathetic towards Hot Topic, too, if this was the first time that art-theft had taken place with their merchandise. Last December, artist Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz posted a journal on his deviantART account about how a Battle Toads fan art that he had created wound up on T-shirts being sold by Hot Topic. Oh, and without his knowledge or consent.

  6. Felipo says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention anything about the Nick Simmons debacle, though your point is made.

  7. Matthew Marcus says:

    As for the designer….angry emails away!



  8. Jwinter says:

    It’s just SO hot topic if you ask me. People who think there really cool for having a shirt with zombies on it but can’t handle something but can’t handle something, i dunno, REAL? (I love zombies btw but c’mon!)

  9. I have this feeling too, when I drawn something that just came from my head, but when Iook at some manga or comics, they have what I made….NO! i always shout in my mind.

    So I try to be very careful, or I work on things and make them different.

  10. […] topic: Plagiarism or inspiration? You decide. Incarnate graphic novel, Pierce The Veil band shirt. Don’t steal pictures of crying kids. […]