Nick Simmons: Plagiarist?

In Role Models, Seann William Scott's character is obssessed with KISS and he even lauds Gene Simmons' ability to parlay the band's success into women and fame. His son Nick Simmons definitely capitalized on the name to get a break at Radical Publishing but word is spreading on the internets that he may be a plagiarist. An iReport by ryuji90 (which CNN goes to great lengths isn't vetted by the organization) points to a website comparing Simmons' "art" to the art of very popular manga in Bleach. Simmons is credited as the creator, writer and penciller in Incarnate, so while the coloring might not be his work the base pencils are. Now it's one thing to look at an artist's work and see similarities in other work...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Yet when you look at the side-by-side comparisons, there's a lot more similarities beyond just style and feel. The images from Incarnate look to be straight copies from Bleach. Now, I'm not one to point fingers and say Simmons intentionally did this; I mean, he could've been reading Bleach and subconsciouly drew the exact same scenes for Incarnate. The side-by-sides though are pretty damning regardless of how you look at it. Radical Publishing has posted an official response on their MySpace page, and it reads as follows: We at Radical Publishing, Inc. and Radical Comics, Inc. are quite concerned to hear the news surrounding Nick Simmons’s Incarnate Comic Book. We are taking this matter seriously and making efforts now to contact the publishers of the works in question in an effort to resolve this matter. We have halted further production and distribution of the “Incarnate” comic book and trade paperback until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. Rest assured that Radical is taking swift action regarding this matter and will continue in its efforts to maintain the integrity and protect the intellectual property of artists throughout the world whose creative works are the bedrock of our Company and the comic book industry. Give credit to Radical for taking swift action on this matter, but the conspiracy theorist in you has to wonder if they've known about this the whole time (I'm going to lean towards no). It's next to impossible to know if any work is copying something else until the "originator" comes forward with the claim, and 9 out of 10 times the "originator" is someone just looking to capitalize on the success of the "copier" (the so called patent trolls). Radical has halted printing of Incarnate until the matter is worked out amicably and to the satisfaction of all parties. When I first saw Incarnate #1 I had a nagging feeling it looked familiar, but then again, I don't read manga so it really all looks similar to me. And Simmons was obviously going for the manga style in his book, so I can't really fault him at first glance for copying the artistic style from another manga such as Bleach. It's looking though that he used the original for more than just inspiration and this could get really ugly for Simmons. If the plagiarism claims turns out to be true it will obviously be devastating to Simmons' burgeoning career as an artist and writer. Check out the images below and judge for yourself (colored ones are from Incarnate).