The more web comics you read the more you notice some similar features being posted by web comic artists. If your comic becomes popular it seems almost inevitable that you start to receive fan art. Some of your readers will draw your characters in various styles as an homage and a show of gratitude for entertaining them. Many web comic artists will also post the fan art to their sites like on the Dandy and Company site and over at Ctl+Alt+Del.
But can fan art go too far? I’m wondering this because I came across a superb web comic called PowerPuff Girls Doujin (bleedman.snafu-comics.com). The artwork and coloring are superb, the characters are a masterful example of manga style design, and the writing is often funny and always entertaining. However, what you can probably gather from the title is that the characters being used are not the artist’s own creations.
Bleedman, the creator of this comic, uses Cartoon Network TV show characters all throughout his comic and rewrites them into his own stories. The PowerPuff Girls, Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory, Megas XLR, even Courage the Cowardly Dog all get the Manga makeover.
Through a few email conversations Bleedman tells me he has nothing to do with Cartoon Network and that he is just a fan expressing his appreciation for these characters. It’s easy to get engrossed in this comic, it is pretty entertaining. But, I can’t help feeling a little uneasy about the fact that the characters are someone else’s creations. I know we get a lot of web comic creators listening to our show and reading our blog and I’d like to get some feedback on this. What are your opinions about what Bleedman is doing here? How would you react if you were to come across a site like this using your characters? Is this flattery or theft? Please chime in.