The Doctor Is Out

Coincidences happen in the pop-reference apparel field, due to us basically being visual disc jockeys. When a DJ mixes a track of Jay-Z with a Weezer song, and another mixes different tracks from the same artists, it is a coincidence based on their interests and views.  Both felt the same connection to the work, and wanted to share it.  This relates to my current tussle with a Dr.Who/Peanuts parody I did for teefury. I posted my design (below, left) on the site’s forum hoping to draw up excitement, which it did, while being compared to another’s direct-to-garment design (below, right).

The similarity between the 2 is the concept: Dr. Who as Schulz’s Psychiatrist Lucy.  While the subject, visuals, and composition are completely different, the web comic guy (right side designer) was very upset, claiming his joke had been stolen, and demanded it be taken down, all before ever speaking to me.

Having had this same issue of coincidence myself, I was taken back by his reaction. 

Below is the design for Batman and Robin (left) I did years ago for snorgtees.  A couple weeks ago bustedtees released the one on the right.  Did they rip me? No.  Sure the layout and colors are similar, but the art is completely different.

But what about the concept?  I am positive I am not the first or last to come up with drawing batman as a bat, as I was also not the first to draw Dr. Who as Lucy.  Could I cry and whine, post all over twitter about how they’re thieves? Course I could, I won’t.  I go home, crank up the mac, and come up with an even better design to overshadow it.  That’s how you build character.

Both of the above are tributes to NBC’s Community (left by me, right by Winter Artwork).  Should I be mad at Winter?  Nope. We appreciate the same things and want to celebrate them using our craft.  I don’t own a concept, no matter when I came up with it.  On top of that, I respect Winter, because he does what I do, and having him around, makes me better by wanting to be better.

Here is another Dr Who parody, this time using a Star Wars reference (left by RibMan, right by Kari Fry). 

At the sight of the 2 next to each other you would think the internet’s WWIII would occur.  But alas, no battle took place.  Why?  Because it was handled by adults. RibMan and Kari talked it out, and one sold on teefury, the other on riptapparel.  So who won?  Everybody.

I handle this type of issue the same way. Straight forward, all business, everyone goes home happy.

I had never heard of the web comic or tee shop mentioned in the thread.  As soon as I read the monsoon of comments in the thread, I found the web comic guy’s email, thinking “let’s just talk this over”.  Here is how the communication played out.

I wasn’t really surprised.  I just expected more from someone who considers himself a professional.  I expected adults to speak about business between one another and sort a matter out, without throwing a harmless tee website in the middle.  I expected too much.  I handle business with a discussion and a handshake.  Instead I received this:

Childish, at best.  I hope that other designers and young professionals can see the error here.  Good business is about making things better, for everyone.  If we had talked this over we could have compromised, shared contacts, helped each other, and made money.  Instead, he decided to pout.

I offered to the web comic guy, that although I disagreed with the guy’s claim, to keep everyone happy I would gladly donate a large portion of my sale’s profit to whichever charity the web comic guy chose.  Knowing there are happy Dr. Who/Schulz fans, and knowing my work didn’t go to waste, means more to me than money.  A response was never received, and in the end teefury had to do what they had to do and cancel the sale. A decision I am fine with, because I respect them as a business, and love working with them. They are complete professionals and give young designers, like myself, great exposure. And am very excited for the next sale I have scheduled with them, and hope the other teefury fans (of Sunnydale) are as well.  In the mean time, I’ll go home, crank up the mac, and come up with an even better design. 

  1. consultingtrickster reblogged this from batmanandsobbin
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    I was really looking forward to purchase your teefury shirt, and I think it was wrong for Joel to react like that. I’ve...
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