Is Netflix’s ‘1899’ a plagiarism of a Brazilian comic? | cultural | D.W.

Shortly after the debut of the new Netflix series “1899,” Brazilian comic book writer Mary Cagnin claims her idea for several elements of the series was stolen.

“It shocks me,” Cagnin wrote on Twitter, “that the ‘1899’ series is simply identical to my ‘Black Silence’ comic published in 2016.” He evokes the pyramid, the ship, the multinational crew, and suspects that the creators of the series discovered his work during an international comic book fair.

Baran Bo Odar and Jantje Friese, the creators of “1899” and the international hit series “Dark”, feel unfairly accused and say they don’t know the Brazilian or her work and say they would never steal anything from other artists, since they are artists themselves. The case is now in the hands of the lawyers.

From the hunger games to the squid game

In an interview, director Quentin Tarantino said in the summer of 2022 that he was of the opinion that the “Hunger Games” film series was a copy of the Japanese feature film “Battle Royale”. This was nothing new for “Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins. Throughout her career, she was repeatedly accused of stealing ideas for her books; for example, he is said to have used Stephen King, who in his book “Manhunt” tells the story of a father who, in order to pay for the medicine of his seriously ill daughter, enters a murderous contest. The story, quite different, was filmed in 1987 under the title “Running Man” (The survivor or fatal race in Latin America) with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Whether in “Battle Royale”, “The Hunger Games” or “Running Man” – in all these dystopias, people are fighting to survive and to delight an evil audience.

Deadly challenges in “The Squid Game”.

Who had the idea first?

It’s hard to accuse ‘Squid Game’ director Hwang Dong-hyuk of stealing ideas: He had been trying to sell his story since 2008, until Netflix came along.

Whether music, novels or films: accusations of plagiarism are frequent. It is not easy to prove that someone had a certain idea first. Just as it is not possible to prove that others have stolen an idea. After all, it’s not entirely impossible that two out of eight billion people have similar ideas, tunes or stories in their heads.

Therefore, plagiarism suits rarely have a chance of success in court, especially in the case of films that involve many creative people and have a lengthy creative process. Plus, big movie studios or production companies have entire brigades of good lawyers and lots of money to win those lawsuits.

“Proofs” on the Internet

The creators of “1899” garnered a digital lynching on Twitter and Instagram by the Brazilian author’s followers. Fans of his comics began providing evidence, under his aforementioned tweet, of scenes, characters, or symbols that were allegedly plagiarized. In contrast, “1899” fans say the examples mentioned are science fiction staples. One of the creators of ‘1899’, Baran Bo Odar, has also been very clear on Instagram about the online outcry, which extends to personal attacks against him and his wife and co-writer, Jantje Friese. The internet, he says, has become a very strange place.

(gg/ers)

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