So, the end has come. I'm canceling Bleachtards.
Nope, not a joke. Not a prank. I'm not trolling you. We've decided to stop creating Bleachtards.
Every since I started this project there's been a voice in the back of my head telling me "this isn't right," "This isn't yours to mess with," "Leave this alone!" but I've ignored it and kept going. However due to a recent event involving the theft of my art, I can't ignore it anymore. I just feel too guilty to really continue.
Virtually all fan-fiction is illegal. It's using and abusing someone else's ideas and hard work for your own personal enjoyment. No one gave me or any other fan permission to make a spin-off comic based on Bleach, or any other story for that matter. Kubo and the Bleach franchise has full rights to sue for everything I own for what I've done up until now. Realistically I know they probably won't, and the fear of that is not why I'm quitting Bleachtards. I'm doing it because I believe in the importance of copyright.
Professionally, I am extremely careful to prevent my clients from infringing on copyright; it's a huge part of my job (my employer doesn't appreciate lawsuits). At home as well I am careful that none of my personal work copies or rips from anyone else's: I want my ideas to be my own. I'm very careful… right up until Bleachtards. Bleachtards is me walking aaaall over the copyrights of Kubo Tite. Every time I used his characters like Afro-san, Urahara, Renji, etc, I ignore his right to decide where and how his creations are used. Sure, I give credit and even "give permission" for him to do things like steal my fuzzy socks or boil my goldfish if he doesn't like what I'm doing. However all that does is effectively say "You wouldn't have a right to do anything if I didn't give it to you." I have no right to say that. None at all. Whether or not Kubo Tite and his publishers turn a blind eye to me is their decision, not mine. I can't complain a bit if what I do pisses them off. I've always understood that. However up until today I never actually thought about whether Kubo would want people screwing with his story for their own amusement. Does a celebrity want their rabid fans breathing on their windows at night, even if those fans think they're just showing their affection?
It's wrong. It's totally wrong. I am disrespecting him and his work and the work of everyone between him and me that work to bring Bleach to my eager little eyeballs. He could sue me six ways to hell if he wanted to. He could take me for everything I have (spoiler: I don't have much, sorry). It's entirely possible that he would violated should he see my work, and where is the respect in that?
I felt horrible when I read that someone tattooed my work on their body despite explicit statements saying that was not tolerated. I felt violated. I felt robbed. Some faceless tattoo artist was making money off of my hard work and this person gets a lifetime copy of my art. Meanwhile I get jack squat for it. I haven't made a single penny or gotten a single shred of recognition. It feels like shit! I wouldn't wish this on anyone, let alone one of my favorite artists…. oh wait. That's exactly what I'm doing. Shit.
I realized that what I should do is drop all work on Bleachtards. It's not honest and I shouldn't be doing it. Sure, it's it's generally tolerated, but that does not make it right. I should be using this time to create my own original comics and manga. All of this effort I put into developing these original characters I should be putting into developing TRULY original characters, not based on anyone else's canon. I could be using all this time creating something that I could conceivably publish at a later date and maybe even make a bit of money from. Legally, logically, that's what I should be doing.
But could I abandon all the work I've put into Bleachtards thus far? I have another 30 pages of script and storyboard to draw. I've got some awesome ideas I want to put onto paper. I've got some seriously badass stuff! Can I just walk away and let it all rot in the back of my mind for all eternity? Would Ducky reach across the thousands of miles of ocean and bitch slap me for abandoning it?
Then I realized, I'm looking at this all wrong. The question I should ask is, Can I take these ideas, filter out my original content, and recycle it into a purely original story far removed from the world of Bleach? That would be a challenge, but at least I could look myself in the mirror and not hate myself deep down for traipsing all over the rights of my favorite manga artist.
So I've decided to set things right. I have challenged myself to take these amazing ideas in my head and turn them into something that is completely mine. Kubo's work may be my inspiration but my final product will be something completely different. The characters I've introduced so far will be there (albeit altered and morphed to fit their new story) and the art and style will probably stay about the same. But it will be something entirely our own. Something nobody could claim as being unoriginal or take from us. Something that, if we do an awesome enough job, someone will want to buy someday and will recognize us from it. Could you imagine seeing a printed volume of your work in a library? THAT is the dream I have.
If you're interested in seeing the true story of the characters manifested in Nutty, Ducky, and Zeebie, head over to my page and give me a +watch. When I'm ready to start posting I will do so there. Feel free to ignore everything else I do and post, but that is where developments will happen.
I've very sorry if anyone actually wanted to see Bleachtards go on. I have broken promises by quitting this but I think it's all for the best. Then again, realistically, we only had a few dozen watchers and only one person who ever comments so maybe I'm just talking to myself and no one actually cares!
P.S. Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry Ducky. I really do feel horrible and that I've let you down Please forgive me and help me with the new project! I neeeeeed youuuu!!!
TL;DR: I felt guilty for doing Bleachtards, so I quit, and I'm using the original ideas I've had to make something infinitely more badass (and legal).