Graphic novelist sues NBC’s Heroes for copyright infringement

The graphic novelist Jason Barnes – author and owner of Carnival Comics – has filed a lawsuit against television network NBC Universal over claims that they infringed on the copyright of his work in their show Heroes.

Jason Barnes (otherwise known as Jazan Wild) claims that in the fourth series of the once-popular but now cancelled sci-fi show, writers “knowingly, willfully, recklessly and maliciously infringed” on the copyright for his popular Carnival of Souls graphic novel by using certain aspects of it as a basis for the series.

According to the official complaint filed in LA’s US District Court, both Heroes and Carnival of Souls feature a travelling carnival of protagonists; Barnes claims that they are “virtually identical” to each other. He listed similarities including:

• A young boy developing special abilities
• A ‘circle of mirrors’ used as a key plot device
• Certain sections of dialogue
• A magically disappearing carnival

Barnes has made many other allegations as well, such as that the writers of Heroes may have used his novels as storyboards and that they changed the ending to the series in order to prevent similarities being too obvious.

No doubt confident they won’t have to claim on their professional indemnity insurance, NBC have said:

“We believe this lawsuit is meritless and expect to prevail in the litigation.”

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