Graphic novelist alleges "Heroes" ripoff

Thu May 20, 2010 12:45am EDT
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By Eriq Gardner

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Jazan Wild, the creator of "Carnival of Souls," is suing NBC Universal for using his popular graphic novel as the basis for the fourth season of NBC's "Heroes."

The author and Carnival Comics owner (real name: Jason Barnes) claims the network "knowingly, willfully, recklessly and maliciously infringed" on his copyright by introducing a traveling carnival "virtually identical" to the ones depicted in his successful three-installment digital book series.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, lists similarities including a carnival that can magically appear and disappear to collect protagonists, a young boy who develops special abilities, a carney or hero running through the woods chased by a mob, a circle of mirrors tied to the key plot, similarities in dialogue, and more.

"Indeed, some of the scenes in 'Heroes' appear as if the books were used as storyboards by the defendants," reads the complaint.

Wild also claims that the ending of season four was changed in an attempt to minimize too obvious similarities.

Wild wants more than $50 million in damages and an injunction against further distribution of season four of "Heroes" as a result of the alleged infringement. The show has recently been canceled, so at very least, NBC has no worries about being sued over a fifth season.

An NBC spokesperson said: "We believe this lawsuit is meritless and expect to prevail in the litigation."