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Shia LaBeouf Apologizes After Plagiarizing Artist Daniel Clowes For His New Short Film


The similarities between LaBeouf’s and Clowes’ Justin M. Damiano are astounding. “In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation,” tweeted LaBeouf.

Shia LaBeouf posted his new short film online on Monday, having first debuted the work at the May 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The piece stars Jim Gaffigan as an online film critic named Howard Cantour, and it is almost a direct adaptation of Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic written and drawn by famed artist Daniel Clowes.
Nowhere in the promotion for or credits of the film does LaBeouf mention the Clowes comic; Eric Reynolds, longtime editor of Clowes’ comics and associate publisher at Fantagraphics, called the film “shameless theft!”
“The first I ever heard of the film was this morning when someone sent me a link. I’ve never spoken to or met Mr. LaBeouf,” Clowes told BuzzFeed. “I’ve never even seen one of his films that I can recall — and I was shocked, to say the least, when I saw that he took the script and even many of the visuals from a very personal story I did six or seven years ago and passed it off as his own work. I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind.”
Both the film and comic (below) begin with narration by the main character, who says, “A critic is a warrior, and each of us on the battlefield have the means to glorify or demolish (whether a film, a career, or an entire philosophy) by influencing perception in ways that if heartfelt and truthful, can have far-reaching repercussions.”
The next scene in both the comic and film feature the critic having a conversation with a young, blonde freelance critic, who asks the critic if he is going to a junket, which she will be attending despite its lack of actors. Then, in the film, she says of the filmmaker they’re discussing, “He so perfectly gets how we’re really all like these aliens who can never have any meaningful contact with each other because we’re all so caught up in our own little self-made realities, you know?” In the comic, the dialogue is nearly identical.
The parallels continue through the end of the film and the pieces share many more direct quotes.
LaBeouf, a known Clowes fan, has given interviews in which he described developing the script for the film organically.
“I know something about the gulf between critical acclaim and blockbuster business. I have been crushed by critics (especially during my Transformers run), and in trying to come to terms with my feelings about critics, I needed to understand them,” LaBeouf told the website Short of the Week. “As I tried to empathize with the sort of man who might earn a living taking potshots at me and the people I’ve worked with, a small script developed.”
LaBeouf has been accused of plagiarism before, taking blocks of quotes from an Esquire article and pasting them into an email he sent Alec Baldwin that he leaked online.
Clowes is best known for his alt-comics, such as Wilson and Ghost World, the latter of which was made into a film 2001. He also wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of his comic Art School Confidential.
A rep for LaBeouf did not immediately return BuzzFeed’s request for comment, but the film is now password protected.

Update: LaBeouf tweeted an apology.

LaBeouf claimed he wasn’t “copying” Clowes, but rather was “inspired” by him and “got lost in the creative process.”

The first part of his apology is very similar to an entry on Yahoo! Answers written four years ago. A user named Lili wrote, “Merely copying isn’t particularly creative work, though it’s useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work, and it may even revolutionalize [sic] the ‘stolen’ concept.”
LaBeouf wrote: “Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.”
Read the entire apology below.
Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.
In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation
Im embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration
I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew that it would make a poignant & relevant short. I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it.
I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want @danielclowes to know that I have a great respect for his work
He later made this short remark:


Dennis Eichhorn's Real Good Stuff!!!

Venerable underground writer Dennis Eichhorn is notorious for his outrageous true-life adventures, which since the 1970's have been collected in such comics titles as Real Stuff and such books as The Legend of Wild Man Fischer.  Dennis has collaborated with dozens of comics artists over the years, including Pat Moriarity and J.R. Williams, who, along with Poochie Press' Tom Van Deusen, have been helping him launch a brand new compilation, Dennis P. Eichhorn's Real Good Stuff.  Dennis, Pat, and J.R. join host S.W. Conser in the KBOO studios and share hair-raising stories of a Pacific Northwest much wilder than the contemporary popular image.

Listen here: kboo_episode.2.131212.1130.3540.mp3

KBOO Community Radio

Pat Moriarity, J.R. Williams and Dennis P. Eichhorn were all in Hooked on Comix Volume 1 

Gilbert Hernandez remakes his graphic reputation

Self-portrait of Gilbert Hernandez. (Gilbert Hernandez / Fantagraphics Books)

Gilbert Hernandez's quartet of 2013 graphic novels 'The Children of Palomar,' 'Marble Season,' 'Julio's Day' and 'Maria M.' offer glimpses of a richly constructed world. 

There are certain things art-comics creators are generally expected to do: Find a tone and stick to it, concentrate their efforts on one major work every few years, stay away from the trappings of genre fiction unless they're putting them in ironic quotation marks.
Gilbert Hernandez, blessedly, has no interest in those sorts of expectations. In the early '80s, when he and his brothers were Southern California punks, they launched the long-running comic book "Love and Rockets" — a series that initially seemed extraordinary for not being genre fiction at least as much as it did for the startling originality of Los Bros Hernandez's visual and narrative styles.
These days, Hernandez is more prolific than ever: In 2013 alone, he's published four stand-alone graphic novels, and like a lot of his work in the last few years, they seem designed to smash the walls of his reputation.
Hernandez made that reputation with his Palomar stories, the first of which appeared in the third "Love and Rockets" in 1983. Set in a tiny, fictional Central American town, they were elegant and relaxed in their pacing; they focused on the psychological entanglements of ordinary life, with occasional, subtle fantasy elements. (In other words, they shared a lot of values with contemporary literary prose fiction.) But Hernandez has also always had a taste for the raw, experimental and ultra-lowbrow, which made the popularity of Palomar something of a trap. By the time "Love and Rockets" concluded its initial run in 1996, Hernandez had more or less washed his hands of the setting.
Still, he continued to spin out stories about some of Palomar's residents and their families, especially the tormented hell-raiser Luba and her actress-psychiatrist half-sister, Fritz. In 2006 and '07, Hernandez wrote and drew a gorgeous but incredibly odd miniseries called "New Tales of Old Palomar," collected this year as "The Children of Palomar." It presents itself at first as a lighthearted flashback in the mode of the earliest Palomar tales, in which we get to see all of the old characters as their happy young selves again. Then things get weird, in distinctly un-Palomar-ish ways. Spacesuit-wearing alien scientists kidnap a couple of cast members and tear out one of Sheriff Chelo's eyes; Tonantzin the slug vendor is haunted by a spectral "blooter baby"; there are fistfights and explosions. It's as if Hernandez is trying to crack the tone of the series he created to break Palomar's hold over him.
In the last few years, Hernandez has been unleashing the neon-bright, vulgar side of his work more often (see, for instance, last year's zombie splatterfest "Fatima: The Blood Spinners"). This spring, though, saw one of his sweetest and gentlest books, "Marble Season." Billed as "semiautobiographical" — the particulars of Hernandez's stand-in, "Huey," don't quite match his own — it's a nearly plotless but vivid evocation of being a kid in the mid-1960s, trying to figure out how to play, how to pretend, how to deal with other kids. It takes a few stylistic cues from another comic occupied solely by children, "Peanuts": identically sized panels, a particular range of distance from its characters, evoking the "outdoors" where most of the story happens with little scratches of clouds at the tops of panels.
"Julio's Day," published almost simultaneously with "Marble Season," has an entirely different tone and approach to time (the "season" could be just a few weeks, the "day" is a hundred years). It's a set of brief, alternately grotesque and ravishing glimpses of the 20th century, filtered through the life of one man, from birth to death. Hernandez has a particular knack for ellipsis — a single image or a few words in one of his stories can offer just enough context to suggest much more — and "Julio's Day" is all about silences, absences and punctuated space.
Julio himself is a closeted gay man, and that's one of many truths no one can acknowledge out loud in this story (even as Hernandez's gift for character acting in ink makes unspoken things clear). Wars follow each other in procession, bodies are created and destroyed, secrets are held and uncovered, and culture changes around Julio, but his self-suffocated emotional stasis is the book's anchor.
"Maria M. Book One," published this month, is both Hernandez's lowest- and highest-concept book of this year's crop. If you're new to his work, you can read it as pure sex-and-violence pulp, all surface and deliberately "unliterary." ("Exploitation Begins Here," reads a billboard on the second page of the story). The gist is that in 1957 — the year of the artist's birth, incidentally — a Latina bombshell with breasts three times the size of her head comes to the U.S. and gets involved with various gangsters. It's a physically small book, with a looser visual style than Hernandez usually uses and no more than four panels per page; it's constructed to be breezed through quickly.
Hernandez's longtime readers, though, can also experience "Maria M." as a fantastically knotty piece of metafiction. Maria is the mother of Hernandez's long-standing characters Fritz and Luba, and another version of her story appeared in his 1994 graphic novel "Poison River." But that was the "real" version, and this is the Hollywood version: an "adaptation" of an imaginary B-movie, starring Fritz as her own mother. (Hernandez has been adapting Fritz's "filmography" into a string of graphic novels that began with 2007's "Chance in Hell.")
It's a trashy entertainment, but it's also a story about history being reconstructed into trashy entertainment — both a flaming cannonball fired in Hernandez's ongoing battle against gentility and another point of insight into the richly constructed world he created decades ago and can't quite escape.