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Swipe is a comics term that refers to the intentional copying of a cover, panel, or page from an earlier comic book or graphic novel without crediting the original artist.

Artists Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Hergé, and Jim Lee are common targets of swipes (though even "The King" is not above reproach:and don't his fanatically fans. Kirby was known to have swiped from Hal Foster early in his career,[1] as were many Golden Age artists — many of whom kept "swipe files" of material to be copied as needed).[2] Certain contemporary artists have become notorious for their swiping, including Rich Buckler (who favors Neal Adams and Jack Kirby), Rob Liefeld (many artists), Keith Giffen (José Antonio Muñoz), and Roger Cruz (Jim Lee and Joe Madureira).

There is a long tradition in comics of using fine art as "inspiration" as well. Most observers do not consider this as objectionable as swiping from another cartoonist's work.Template:Citation needed Examples include Art Spiegelman swiping an image of the Russian artist M. Mazruho's in Maus,[3] Eddie Campbell swiping Diego Velazquez,[4] and Jill Thompson swiping the work of Arthur Rackham.[5]

Cartoonists have also swiped images from mass media and commercial art. Examples include Batman creator Bob Kane repeatedly swiping from early 20th-century illustrator Henry Vallely,[6][7] Greg Land repeatedly swiping pornography,[8] 2000 AD artist Mick Austin swiping an image of Toni Shilleto's from Mayfair: Entertainment for Men,[9] Jon J. Muth swiping a 1940s photograph,[10] and David Chelsea swiping from Spanish pornography.[11] Sometimes the swiping happens "in reverse," as in the example of an illustration from Organic Gardening magazine swiping the iconic Kirby cover for Fantastic Four #1.[12]

Swiping brings to mind the amusing conundrum of whether an artist can swipe from himself. One example is two almost-identical Peanuts strips by Charles Schulz done almost ten years apart.[13] Another comic strip-related ethics question was invoked by latter-day Nancy artists Guy & Brad Gilchrist swiping Nancy creator Ernie Bushmiller.[14]

"Cloning"[]

Though not technically swiping, some artists have made a career "cloning" other artists. Phil Jimenez has been quite open about his work being modeled on George Pérez's,[15] though he has never been accused of directly swiping a Perez drawing. Bryan Hitch started off as an Alan Davis "clone."[16] Bill Sienkiewicz's early work was blatantly derivative of Neal Adams,[16] as was Tom Grindberg's,[16] Michael Netzer (Nasser)'s, and Mike Grell's. And industry veteran Dick Giordano maintains that cloning is not only acceptable, but actually preferable, when an artist fills in for a regular artist on a title.[17]

When cloning becomes direct swiping, however, a line is crossed. In the mid-1990s, during the "Image craze," Marvel Comics adopted a "house style" hugely derivative of Image superstar (and former Marvel artist) Jim Lee. Marvel encouraged artists like Roger Cruz,[18] Fabio Laguna,[19] Roberto Flores,[20] and Mark Pacella[21] to clone Lee to the point of the publisher turning a blind eye to blatant swipes done on a regular basis.

Appropriation[]

Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein made a splash in the 1960s with his "appropriations" based on the work of Kirby, Russ Heath, Tony Abruzzo, Irv Novick, and Jerry Grandenetti, who rarely received any credit. Jack Cowart, executive director of the Lichtenstein Foundation, contests the notion that Lichtenstein was a copyist, saying: "Roy's work was a wonderment of the graphic formulae and the codification of sentiment that had been worked out by others. The panels were changed in scale, color, treatment, and in their implications. There is no exact copy."[22] Comics industry figures don't have such a sanguine attitude about Lichtenstein's swipes.[2]

Similarly, Canadian artist Kevin Mutch once drew an entire comic book entirely based on swipes. Mutch's 1993 comic Captain Adam was a "narrative collage" of images and texts from over fifty separate Silver Age and Bronze Age comics, randomly put together to form an original story.

Pastiches[]

Comics pastiches are blatant uses of swipes, cloning, and appropriation, usually using the same characters as the original source. French-Canadian cartoonist Yves Rodier is known for his many Tintin pastiches, as is the infamous anonymous comic book The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free. In his Masterpiece Comics series, American cartoonist R. Sikoryak cleverly mixes exact cloning of famous cartoonists' styles with classic literary texts, creating unique comics "mash-ups." Alan Moore and Rick Veitch's 1963 series is another example of pastiche in comics form, as are the many take-offs of the Charles Atlas ads found in old comic books.

Homages[]

In comics, it is understood that the difference between a swipe and an "homage" is generally whether the source is directly acknowledged — as opposed to being exposed by a third party. Throughout the history of the medium, artists have engaged in homages — most often of well-known cover images like Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, Amazing Fantasy #15, and Fantastic Four #1. (John Byrne is particularly fond of doing homages to the latter, having produced at least seven versions to date.)[23] Some observers find homages as objectionable as swiping.[2]

Swiping watchdogs[]

From 1991 'til at least 1997, the industry magazine The Comics Journal kept a "Swipe File" which documented perceived swipes in the comics field. The tradition continues on the TCJ website. Similarly, in the late 1990s the (now defunct) website Genesis Comics sponsored a "Swipe Of The Week" contest, which placed two pieces of published work by two different artists side by side, asking users to vote whether the example was a swipe, an homage, or just plain coincidence.

Artists accused of swiping[]

Rob Liefeld Frank Miller

Rob Leifeld Frank Miller [24]

See also[]

  • Comics vocabulary
  • List of Tintin parodies and pastiches
  • Bricolage
  • Doujinshi
  • Fan fiction
  • Homage
  • Parody
  • Pastiche

Notes[]

  1. O'Brien, Richard. "Golden Age Gleanings," The Nostalgia Journal #8 (February 1975), p. 20.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Best, Daniel. "A Rose By Any Other Name," 20th Century Danny Boy (June 26, 2006).
  3. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #141 (April 1991), p. 117.
  4. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #155 (January 1993), p. 8.
  5. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #175 (March 1995), pp. 4-5.
  6. "Gang Busters! (Secret Origins of Batman Part 1)," The Vallely Archives (May 25, 2006).
  7. Kimball, Kirk. "Secret Origins of The Batman, Chapter 3: The Haunting of Robert Kane!" Dial B for Blog (Sept.).
  8. ==Further reading==
    • ==Further reading==
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  9. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #143 (Apr. 1991), p. 59: Austin's 2000 AD #713 (Jan. 12, 1991) and Shilleto's art from Mayfair (December 1989).
  10. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #171 (September 1994), p. 5.
  11. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #176 (Apr. 1995), pp. 6-8.
  12. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #158 (Apr. 1993), p. 9: Organic Gardening, v. 40, #4 (Apr. 1993) vs. Fantastic Four #1 (1961).
  13. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #184 (February 1996), p. 5: strips of June 11, 1987, and Jan. 20, 1996.
  14. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #190 (September 1996), pp. 8-9.
  15. Simmons, Scott. "Phil Jimenez Talks About The Invisibles," Heroes & Dragons (Feb. 1997).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Larsen, Erik. "One Fan's Opinion" #17, Comic Book Resources (December 1, 2005).
  17. "Reinventing the Rules," in Eury, Michael. Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day at a Time TwoMorrows Publishing (November 5, 2003), p. 136: ISBN 1-893905-27-6.
  18. Cruz's Wolverine #89 (January 1995), p. 18, vs. Lee's Uncanny X-Men #276 (May 1991), p. 10; Cruz's Wolverine #89 (January 1995), p. 21, vs. Lee's X-Men vol. 2., #6 (March 1992), p. 21 and Lee's WildC.A.T.S. #3 (December 1992), p. 1.
  19. Laguna's Wolverine #88 (December 1994), p. 20, vs. Lee's WildC.A.T.S. #3 (December 1992), p. 22 and Uncanny X-Men #275 (April 1991) cover; and Laguna's Wolverine #89 (January 1995), p. 13, vs. Lee's X-Men vol. 2, #1 (October 1991), p. 21
  20. Flores' Angel Fire #3 (October 1997), p. 9, vs. Lee's Uncanny X-Men #340 (January 1997), p. 12
  21. Pacella's Wolverine #64 (December 1992), p. 2, vs. Lee's X-Men vol. 2., #6 (March 1992), p. 21
  22. ==Further reading==
    • ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  23. Amazing Heroes #1 (June 1981), What If #36 (December 1982), Fantastic Four #264 (March 1984), Marvel Age #14 (May 1984), Avengers West Coast #54 (January 1990), Danger Unlimited #4 (May 1994), and X-Men: The Hidden Years #20 (July 2001)
  24. "Swipe File," The Comics Journal #198 (August 1997), p. 4.

References[]

External links[]

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