How Does The Fourth Season Of <i>Heroes</i> Compare To <i>Carnival Of Souls</i>?

Heroes may be canceled, but a new lawsuit could ensure the NBC superhero series remains in the spotlight for a while.

As I've reported at our sibling blog Robot 6, comic artist Jazan Wild last week sued the network and Heroes creator Tim Kring's Tailwind Productions for $60 million, claiming the nefarious traveling carnival that dominated the show's fourth and final season is "virtually identical" to the one depicted in his 2005-2006 comic series Carnival of Souls.

NBC has since issued the standard terse response to Entertainment Weekly: “We believe this lawsuit is meritless and expect to prevail in the litigation.”

Wild (aka Jason Barnes) supports his accusations with more than a dozen side-by-side comparisons, which his Carnival Comics provided earlier this week to Robot 6. The alleged similarities range from the easily dismissed -- the clothing and poses of the carnival leaders in the two works, for instance -- to the slightly more intriguing -- the dreadlocked witchdoctor and the staging of scenes in the house of mirrors come to mind. The lawsuit repeatedly hammers at the assertion that a scene from Heroes "seems to be directly storyboarded from Carnival of Souls," emphasizing Wild's argument that it's the execution, rather than the concept, that's "virtually identical." Check out the comparisons for yourself.

Wild wants to prevent the network from rebroadcasting the season, which concluded in February, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages for copyright infringement, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

As I noted in the earlier post, this isn't the first time NBC and Kring have been accused of copyright infringement: In 2007 a judge dismissed a lawsuit by artists Clifton Mallery and Amnau Karam Eele, who claimed the idea for a character who can paint the future was stolen from a short story, painting and short film they produced.

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