Do you find overly commercialized and utterly inauthentic goth icon Emily the Strange really annoying? If so, you (and I) are probably less annoyed than writer Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and artist Marc Simont, who claim to have created the character in a 1978 children’s book, only to have it ripped off in the early ‘90s and recast as the juggernaut of faux teen angst that fuels many a mall’s Hot Topic store.
It emerged some months ago that Emily, at left, bears a strange similarity — not just in design and attitude, but in word-for-pretty-similar-word content — to the character Rosamond, who appeared in Sharmat and Simont’s “Nate the Great” series of books. (In the art samples here, the vast differences between the independently created characters could not be more clear. Only Emily is surrounded by a thick black border.)
Now a lawsuit has been filed, but it’s not the one you’d expect ...
Via Courthouse News, we learn that Cosmic Debris, the owner of the Emily intellectual property, is suing (.pdf) Sharmat and Simont. The suit asks that the authors be prohibited from saying that Emily totally rips them off, and be barred from recovering damages. The gist of their assertion is that, hey, Morticia Addams was a kinda creepy goth chick, too.
Cosmic Debris is being represented by a pair from Manatt Phelps & Phillips. We don’t know whether Sharmat and Simont have lawyers yet, nor whether Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, will be compelled to appear.
— Brian McDonough