I read this on Fleen the other day. Canadian studio Teletoons has released a series called The Dating Guy. Here’s a program description as listed on the site:
“The Dating Guy” is a half-hour animated comedy about the single life of twenty-somethings in the city.
Meet Mark, Woody, Sam, and VJ. They live in a sort of in-between world. They’ve finished school and are living on their own, but they haven’t settled down yet or even accrued much of a bank account. They’re essentially living life day to day. Kind of broke. Kind of directionless.
Each week, one or more of them find themselves exploring the dating world in one way or another. Sometimes it’s twins, sometimes it’s conjoined twins (which is way less awesome than it sounds) and sometimes it’s a shameful night at home with the palm twins.
Ryan Sohmer is calling foul, saying that the Teletoons has been ripping off the content and style of his webcomic:
Sohmer’s relating the story of a meeting with Canada’s Teletoon network, wherein Sohmer was privy to the pitch for something called The Dating Guy that became, after the meeting, a wholesale appropriation of Sohmer’s character designs (on casual inspection, it is rather similar to Sohmer’s own Least I Could Do).
How is Sohmer responding? Reader algeya has pointed me to his site, where he’s asking for donations to create an LICD animated pilot:
For going on 4 years, I have been working hard to bring LICD to the small screen, via a traditionally 2D animated series. Working with Teletoon (the Canadian version of the Cartoon Network), everything was in place to get the series off the ground.
And that’s about the time things went to shite.
Could Noel be of African American descent? Maybe Mick should be middle eastern. How do you feel about setting the series in Toronto? Issa should be a native. All of the friends should live together? Rayne’s neice, Ashley, shouldn’t be in the show. Instead of sleeping with women, could Rayne date them casually? We’d like one of the characters to smoke a great deal of pot.
The list goes on.
Suffice it to say, I wasn’t about to let this series get bastardized into a watered-down shell of its former self. Thanking everyone for their time, I walked away from the deal and waited until the contract expired.
Cut to recently. It was brought to my attention that the kind folks at Teletoon took a lot of our hard work, both intellectual and art, and used it in one of their new series. Not only that, but they took our hard work and made a shitty series.
Rather than let the rage consume me, I would turn this into something positive, something good for LICD and its readers. Rather than let anyone dictate what we can or can’t do, we will make our own pilot. With your help.
I will put my money where my mouth is, and match the pledges dollar for dollar. I wouldn’t ask you for something that I don’t believe in myself.
With your help, we will produce a 22-minute animated LICD pilot, making it as it should be.
Once that is done, we will have a finished episode to shop around to various outlets and do our best to get a full series made.
We need your help. More importantly, we want the community to be a part of this. Please head on over to the Kickstarter page for more info.
Help us bring Rayne and the gang to the screen, as they were meant to be.
This is probably the most mature and constructive way to address intellectual theft: get your own product off the ground and directly compete. It has also seemed to be Sohmer’s ambition to break into animation (his Blind Ferret Studios IS the one behind the Ctrl+Alt+Del animated series, after all). I can’t fault the guy for following his dreams.
Still, the prospect of an LICD cartoon on the airwaves?
May God have mercy on your souls, Canada.