Note on Swiped Artwork In “Storm: All-Weather Wear”

Since the results for Project: Rooftop’s Storm: All-Weather Wear redesign contest were posted, we’ve been made aware that one of the Runner-Ups, Daniel Agbodjo, based his figure in his illustration on the artwork of another artist, Jace Wallace. Agbodjo gave no credit to basing his work off Wallace’s previous work, which violates one of P:R’s guidelines and key principles of both P:R founders. P:R has since removed Mr. Agbodjo’s entry from the contest results, and we publicly apologize to Jace Wallace for hosting the uncredited swipe of his artwork.

Swiping is common in our industry. Too common. And those who do it rarely realize how offensive, obnoxious, and often OBVIOUS, this practice is. Project: Rooftop is a site dedicated to featuring the specific skill of superhero costume redesigning, but we have always used this platform to promote indie and professional artists with clear talent deserving of wider recognition in the comics community. Swiped art has always been banned from this site, and we apologize for allowing this piece to damage our record. It’s easier to spot when entrants swipe from art by established creators, but this time, we were had by someone who searched DeviantArt for an elegant drawing to pass off as their own, with changes. We might have considered it an honest mistake in understanding the rules here, but Mr. Agbodjo also flipped the image, a common swiping technique to avoid detection.

This is a notice to everyone. We will not always be able to spot swiped entries. We really are pretty good at it. But this time we failed, and the entrant is no longer welcome to participate here at P:R. Don’t swipe from other artists, and definitely don’t bother us with them.

Chris Arrant and Dean Trippe,
Co-Founders and Editors of Project: Rooftop

34 comments on “Note on Swiped Artwork In “Storm: All-Weather Wear”
  1. While I think it was totally lame for Daniel to use Jace’s image as him model , without permission or giving credit, I do think that the costume design is fairly original. I don’t know his motivations, so I won’t make excuses for him, but after seeing a few Warhol prints at the Hirshorn this weekend, I can see the merits of reinterpreting existing pieces of art. Keeping in mind that I always found Warhol to be a bit of a hack. Anyhoo, may I suggest a probationary period for young Daniel, provided that he makes a public apology?

  2. I agree with Kai. Although swiping is an incredibly stupid practice, especially when it ends up in the pages of comics people pay to read, I still think Trickster Dan has talent on his own as a designer. Of course, he should have just credited Jace Wallace. It’s up to the moderators to decide Sly Danny’s fate, but I’d like to see him find a way to apologize publicly and in a creative way, if he can manage.

    That being said, this is like the most scandalous thing to happen on P:R ever in the years I’ve been visiting this site. It’s kind of exciting.

  3. So I agree that for the most part this type of stuff is bad, but this is a fan art site with no monetary prize for winners, and probably a fair amount of amateurs and young artists. I think I need a little more back-story to justify a public shaming like this. Was Daniel contacted to defend the issue? Did Jace bring the issue to your/Daniel’s attention? Did you contact Jace to ask how he wanted the situation handled? Remember that public shaming on the internet can ruin someone’s career, and I’m not sure this situation justifies it. It’s a fairly original design other than the pose, and I bet you could find similar poses in most catalogs. As for the flip, which you point out as proof that he knew he was in the wrong, maybe he’s just better at drawing from a particular direction. I know I prefer to draw my people facing one way over the other. I’m not saying Daniel didn’t do something wrong here, but sometimes we need to give people the benefit of the doubt and just educate them before demonizing them.

  4. Johnny: Yes, both artists were contacted. Daniel admitted to basing his drawing off of Jace Wallace’s. In the guidelines we warn against swiping of this nature and say it will be publicized.

  5. Thanks for the reply Chris. If infractions being publicized is in the guidelines, I guess its fair enough. Still seems a bit rough to me, especially given the nature of these contests, but thems the breaks.

  6. @Johnny,

    I had the same initial cursory reaction you did with regard to the ubiquitous nature of general pose and actually started to draft a post very similar to yours. But a closer comparison of the two makes the parallels pretty clear. Look at the placement of the highlights on the breasts and the shoes, the general style and shape of the shoes, and the fat that both drawings hide the character’s forward hand in the same position. They all seem a bit to close to be coincidence, when added to the similarity of the pose.

    All that being said though, I think the statement of its removal probably could have stopped after the first paragraph.

  7. Daniel’s responses to our inquiries were also rude and dismissive of our concerns and acted as if this sort of behavior was commonplace and acceptable. It isn’t. Not here. A simple apology would’ve gone a long way to preventing the necessity of this post. This isn’t just for him. It’s for everyone. No swipes. Not ever.

    PS – Lichtenstein sux 4eva.

  8. Well I just saw all these comments.
    First of all, I owe an excuse to every readers in this website. I need to clear some things up.
    Just know that english is not my native language, so I have trouble to understand some stuff. As a matter of fact, when I read the guidelines, it said not to post artwork from other people. I didn’t mean no harm by reproducing the same pose as in jace’s drawing.
    The contest is about redesign, which I did, right ? I draw it from scratch, with a model before my eyes. As rendmon said I have highlights on the leather but it doesn’t reach Jace’s level.

    I made entries in previous contest such as green lantern, or friday robin, but this time I draw the outfit for Storm, but I did once more with this pose just to get a good feeling.
    I appreciate the work of Jace, and I learn a lot from him.
    I sent him a note to ask permission but he didn’t receive it.

    Concerning my exchange with Dean and Chris, I wasn’t rude in all my mails, and maybe upset after you shamed me like this. But I apologize. And if you can’t give a fellow artist, and comic lover another chance, well I don’t get the same values when I read a comics then you do. For instance, Batman put villains in Arkham, but if they are repent, he helps them, and gives them another chance.

  9. Dean: Daniel’s responses to our inquiries were also rude and dismissive of our concerns and acted as if this sort of behavior was commonplace and acceptable. It isn’t. Not here. A simple apology would’ve gone a long way to preventing the necessity of this post.This isn’t just for him. It’s for everyone. No swipes. Not ever.
    PS – Lichtenstein sux 4eva.

    See, this is what I personally find the most reprehensible: not only doubling down on his tracing of another artist’s work, but insisting that he has done nothing wrong in doing so. Yeah, Greg Land gets away with doing this shit, but he’s a joke among anyone who knows anything about comics and art. You don’t want to be a Greg Land, people. Do not trace. (And then don’t act like a huge jackass when you get called out on it.)

  10. @rendmon: Yeah, I never doubted the trace, just that he possibly didn’t understand why it was an issue. It’s not a crazy original pose, so maybe he just thought he’d use it as “reference” like someone might use a photo of a person sitting, but went a little too close to the source. There are only so many poses the body is capable of but it can be tricky when being “inspired” by another work of art. Or so I thought. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it looks like he might be trying to claim it was drawn from a model (!?) which is crap.

    @Dean: If he was being dismissive, and didn’t apologize, there is merit in the post. Sorry for doubting you guys.

  11. All of this is to say: learn to draw, people. Really. If you want to be an “artist,” learn to *&^%ing draw.

    Kudos for the hard line. Damn well justified.

  12. Didn’t he just trace the base image, using it as a template? It still seems like he did a lot of work of artistic merit

  13. Oh come on guys! As an artist who’s worked in the business for years, this happens all the time, and I know of some Great artists who use reference and overlap clips into their art everyday…it just happens!
    Ok, so the key is to make the work your own, and try to disguise it as much as possible, but on a heavy schedule, the odd mistakes slip through or you simply forget. I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just a working practice that you’ll find in all walks of art, from film, art, books and music.
    So this guy did it I little too close, so yeah, a slap on the wrists is fine, but a Public Shaming with links to his site? A little harsh here guys! Ok so he broke the rules, but this could really hurt his rep! Go easy, besides it’s Christmas.

  14. See, this is what I personally find the most reprehensible: not only doubling down on his tracing of another artist’s work, but insisting that he has done nothing wrong in doing so.

    If they could easily “get” that what they were doing was wrong, they probably wouldn’t do it in the first place, would they?

  15. @Daniel point of contention. Batman throws criminals in Arkham and they virtually never repent – they break out or con their way out of Arkham and then continue doing things which warrant Batman catching them again over and over and over again. Also, I don’t think that you really deserve another chance because you don’t seem very contrite. If you don’t realize what you did was wrong then you probably can’t be trusted to not repeat the offense.

    As for “recreating the pose” it’s definitely clear that you flipped the image and traced it at best – I know why you did it. My five year old does it all the time because she’s learning to draw accurately but isn’t quite there yet and because tracing saves a lot of time, but you have to know that you took artistic shortcuts and then didn’t credit the people who helped you take those shortcuts. I don’t really care if you were rude to the PR staff or not, you were rude to all of its fans when you told us that you drew a picture that you only half drew.

    Also, SWIPER NO SWIPING.

  16. Disappointed in this public shaming. This is a redesign contest, not tryouts for the comic book industry. Daniel’s design is original – he simply used a reference for the pose and lighting. Unless there’s evidence that his DESIGN was lifted from somewhere/someone else, then I think this is a pointless and mean-spirited shaming of a creative designer with limited artistic skills. But who am I to question the social skills of a bunch of comic book artists…

  17. As noted above in the comments, we attempted to handle this privately and diplomatically. Daniel misrepresented his submission as an original piece, remained unapologetic, and your own misunderstanding of our contest standards, evidenced by this comment, show that it was entirely necessary to publicly explain this situation. We don’t want swipes.

  18. Dean: As noted above in the comments, we attempted to handle this privately and diplomatically. Daniel misrepresented his submission as an original piece, remained unapologetic, and your own misunderstanding of our contest standards, evidenced by this comment, show that it was entirely necessary to publicly explain this situation. We don’t want swipes.

    All this story and your public lapidation is really too harsh,I don’t see any crime here,both artists have used the same pose,that is a classic feminine pose you can find in a lots of pictures.So you should call swiper every artist who draw a super hero flying in the classic Superman pose,you should call swiper Bob Kane to have copied Superman’s costume adding only mask ,gloves and changing colors.
    I believe your public accusation is really really too harsh,expecially from the owners of a website that lives thanks to characters you didn’t create nor are owned by you.

  19. So the moral of the story here is big punishment for small potatoes when the likes of the amazing Mike Mignola profits greatly from regularly swiping historical drawings. This is enough of a farce to cancel my feed. Enjoy your hard-nosed bullying. Way to go.

    (And, no, I do not support cheating either, but the response infinitely outstrips the offense and I’ve had enough of that demoralizing behavior from those on high horses.)

  20. I am disappointed in this public shaming as well. Regardless if the issue was attempted to be solved in a private manner first, there is a better way to make a point about the rules without damning someone personally.

    As it had been mentioned by a number of people, it still seems as if Daniel did plenty of work on his own to develop a redesign, and as Chad mentioned before, this type of thing happens in the business all the time. Sure, Greg Land is an extreme, but I’ve been to presentations by Joe Quesada talking about having to trace (which this seems to just be a poor redrawing of a pose not even a trace). I understand you have rules, but this is kind of harsh for someone who obviously is still learning and comes here for fun.

  21. hoo boy, you don’t know what you’re talking about at all. great work defining the ignorant position. and YEAH. bob kane was a notorious swiper, like daniel, here, he would trace the work of other artists all the time and famously took full credit for creations he was only partially involved in.

  22. I’m sorry it came to this, but I still feel the educational value of pointing out how swiping is considered within the artistic community was valuable, and as our unrepentant offender and many commenters have made clear to me, entirely necessary.

  23. to those saying that this is simply a case of similar – or “inspired” – pose, take a closer look. the physical body silhouette of the figure (not the loose fitting aspects of clothing or hair) is identical but flipped (the way it would be if you traced it and then transferred it) right down to the exact parts of the body that are obscured by clothing (save for the front of the thigh). what confuses me is that everything else about this is original. the costume, the coloring, the shading/highlights, and the hair are very well done (the “inspired” part is that the original aspects of Agbodjo’s work are done in such a way that they work with the Wallace style so perfectly). so my question is, Daniel, if you are that good, why go for a straight up trace job? show us what you are really capable of (although, it seems that policy dictates you’l have to show us somewhere else). in light of all this, however, i have to say that in my opinion, this “inspired” piece is far more enjoyable than some of the pieces that get submitted where a single body silhouette is drawn and then recolored for multiple characters/outfits. i also have to wonder how many people submit here that bite from more generic images or less known or obvious sources.

  24. The only thing that is similar in the two drawings is the pose. The hair, cloths, eyes, head shape and skin tone are all different. No single artist claim ownership of any pose the human body can take. These seems like a silly attempt at shaming, as already stated.

  25. I’m going to stop approving messages this dumb. But this is not an example of a similar pose, it’s an example of a traced one. Uncredited, stolen work, and those who defend it are devaluing the work all artists do. The swiper couldn’t accomplish his piece without the original artist’s work. And you defenders (if you aren’t sock puppets) simply don’t understand that this is unacceptable within the artistic community. Yes, the publishers allow several swipers to get away with it, but here are Project: Rooftop, where we celebrate the skills of artists, we won’t.

  26. Just curious, would the submission have been published if it was properly credited? Or would that proper credit have rejected the submission?

  27. Not without the permission of the original artist. I could see counting his approval as making the swiped piece considerable as a collaboration, which we don’t mind at all, really. This wasn’t that.

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