H.G. Wells’ classic, 1898 sci-fi yarn about invaders from Mars may be in the public domain, but Dark Horse Comics is facing legal trouble for its particular comic book adaptation of War of the Worlds. Pendragon Pictures claims that Dark Horse lifted images from its feature film, H.G. Wells’ The War of The Worlds, which was released a directly to video in June of last year.
Dark Horse debuted its War of the Worlds comic at the San Diego Comic-Con Int’l last week, prompting Pendragon to serve legal notice accusing the major publisher of replicating hundreds of images from the movie, which earned more than $2 million at retail n the U.S. According to the complaint, the comic and the movie share similar camera angles, designs, character likenesses and other artistic choices.
‘Most of Dark Horse’s revenue comes from comics that are based on licensed movies including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Shrek, Star Wars and Alien. These guys are experts at converting film frames into comic books, ‘says Timothy Hines, Pendragon C.E.O. and director of H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds. ‘I was astounded at the degree of similarity between our production and their comic book which came out a year after our movie was disseminated worldwide. We believe its just theft of our artist’s hard work’plain and simple, and we won’t let this stand.’
This latest debacle is yet another hurdle for Pendragon, according to producer Susan Goforth. She says the company’s own distributor was intimidated into not releasing the director’s cut of the film for fear of retaliation from Paramount, which at the time was releasing its Steven Spielberg-directed big-screen version of War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise. Pendragon is now selling that version online at http://www.buywowdvd.com. The company’s next production is a futuristic robot action-adventure flick titled Chrome.
Pendragon has set up a website and invites the public to view a sampling of side-by-side images from its film and the Dark Horse comic in order to judge for themselves and vote on whether or not they see similarities. Dozens of frames can be viewed at http://www.martianinvaders.com.