Incarnate creator Nick Simmons has responded to widespread accusations that he plagiarized Bleach and other popular manga, saying that "certain similarities" were "simply meant as an homage to artists I respect."
Radical Publishing last week stopped production on the collection of Simmons' three-issue miniseries amid growing claims he had copied panel compositions, character designs, dialogue and plot elements from eight manga, including One Piece, Hellsing, Vampire Hunter D and Bleach.
In a statement issued by Simmons' representative and posted on Comics Worth Reading, the 21-year-old artist said: “Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are certain similarities between some of my work and the work of others. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any Manga fans or fellow Manga artists who feel I went too far. My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium. I am a big fan of Bleach, as well as other Manga titles. And I am certainly sorry if anyone was offended or upset by what they perceive to be the similarity between my work and the work of artists that I admire and who inspire me.”
A representative for Radical Publishing verified the statement comes from Simmons, son of KISS frontman and reality-TV star Gene Simmons.
Incarnate debuted in August with heavy promotional support from Radical and A&E TV, the network that airs Gene Simmons' Family Jewels. The comic is showcased on the show's webpage and sold through its online store.
The plagiarism allegations emerged early last week, igniting discussions -- and art comparisons -- on countless blogs, message boards and fan sites, with a Facebook group going so far as to call for legal action against Simmons. However, when alerted to the accusations via Twitter, Bleach creator Tite Kubo seemed more amused than anything: "I'm more interested in the fact that Gene Simmons' son is a mangaka than whether he's plagiarizing me or not."