The webcomics blog about webcomics

In Case You Hadn’t Seen It

Posted by Dave Kelly at Something Awful:

Goldman’s Publicist has posted in this thread.



CLEARWATER, FL, April 11, 2007- Popular post pop-artist, Todd Goldman who has made a career of making fun of the world with his sarcastic commentary and cartoon icons, has mistakenly used the design of an another artist in two of his recent paintings. Todd’s painting, “Dear God, Please Make Everyone Die�, was inspired from a drawing he received unbeknownst to him belonging to an underground web comic artist David “Shmorky� Kelly.

In addition to painting, Todd designs t-shirts for his clothing company, David & Goliath. Todd and his design team create and receive thousands of design ideas every month. It’s no secret that Goldman creates a lot of his painting ideas from his t-shirt designs. Goldman says “I made a judgment error and didn’t research the background of this particular submission. “My intention was not to copy Mr. Kelly. I have never seen his work before and would never intentionally knock-off someone else’s idea.�

Goldman has issued a formal apology to Mr. Kelly and has stated that he will not be using his design again in the future. As a gesture of good faith, Goldman has pledged not profit from his mistake. He will instead donate his proceeds from the painting directly to Mr. Kelly or his charity of choice.

That does not mean this is over. We will have to find out how many copies he sold and how much he made from them.

For those of you playing at home, one may summarize Goldman’s response to:

  1. It wasn’t my fault!
  2. I’m gonna be a really great guy and not rip off Kelly in the future
  3. I’m making no promises about my working methods in the future

Good luck to Kelly on getting things resolved quickly; since it’s into the negotiation stage, we’ll save the daily updates until there’s something definitive to report. Two last notes:

  1. Dave, if you’re reading this, get a lawyer to look over the settlement offer; I’m still willing to kick in my pledge of $200 to that end.
  2. I hope it’s possible that Kelly can avoid confidentiality clauses. It should be public record how much Goldman profited from Kelly’s work (which will provide a reference figure what what Kelly’s work is worth — a few commissions from former “Goldman” collectors would be nice), and it should be public record what his working methods are like (which will provide useful information for other artists that wish pursue their due).


I love backpedaling.

Maybe I’m being stupid, but I’m a little confused by what Goldman’s actual claim is.

He’s saying people submit t-shirt designs, then he often “creates” art from those designs?

Boy, try telling that to one of the people who paid 10k for one of his paintings. “Yeah, so, essentially, you bought a larger version of an anonymous t-shirt design. Good purchase.”

Wait, does this mean the internet won? Now we just gotta get him to address that form letter.

Best part is that its a direct trace:

“Mistake.” He could have just said, “I fucked up, I’m sorry.” But he has to pretend it was just some cosmic coincidence? What kind of man is that?

Yeah, if I was one of the suckers who paid thousands of clams for one of his paintings, I’d be super-pissed.

Zach and Paul’s comments bring up an interesting question: Would those purchasers have standing to demand their money back? I think that the realm of “art law” is probably pretty murky at best, but I also think there’s a case to be made both that 1) falsely representing the work as Goldman’s was fraudulent, and 2) that the stigma of plagiarism damages the worth of their purchases.

The really interesting part is, the people who have the money to drop $10,000 on a painting? They likely have the money to spend on lawyers to make a stink if Goldman’s not willing to give refunds.

[…] Update about the Todd Goldman is a rotten art thief story. […]

So does this mean that Dave Should be talking to the Hot Topics people to get his future line of T-Shirts sold in their stores? They all ready know how well it would sell.

I love this quote: “My intention was not to copy Mr. Kelly. I have never seen his work before and would never intentionally knock-off someone else’s idea.�

He would never intentionally knock-off someone else’s idea, yet he accepts idea submissions? I think that’s the definition of KNOCK-OFF.

Still hoping the best for Dave, of course, but I have to say, I’m surprised to see Todd already backing down like this. After thinking about what Jerry wrote in the Penny Arcade blog yesterday, (Getting upset on the Internet is only that — getting upset on the Internet) I wasn’t sure where things were going to go. But it seems to have worked.

But in short — this is good news! The villain is backing down! Now let us change out of our costumes and talk about what we’ve learned in this episode! :D

I learned that Dad is flammable!

“I’ve never seen Mr. Kelly’s work before, but I was aware he was a furry pedophile.”

He’ll probably claim that one of his lackeys sent those emails, too.

Why can’t you guys just accept victory? It’s like Al Sharpton complaining that an apology isn’t good enough.

I would LOVE to get publicity like this. Thousands if not tens of thousands more people know Dave Kelly’s work because of this.

True! It’s just, you know… the guy stole his stuff, called him a pedophile, and forwarded pictures he drew of mice with giant cocks to everyone, possibly even kids. Tomorrow it’ll be over, but today I think people are gonna keep calling him a dick.

Just for a little while longer.

After thinking about what Jerry wrote in the Penny Arcade blog yesterday, (Getting upset on the Internet is only that — getting upset on the Internet) I wasn’t sure where things were going to go. But it seems to have worked.

Jerry is a really smart guy, but his comments yesterday were not wholly on the mark… getting upset on the internet, by itself, is just like he described it — a bunch of people shouting for the sake of therapy alone. But all of that shouting had the effect of causing the news to spread, see… to areas beyond our little webcomics corner (Digg is a much larger audience than webcomics do) and while it was happening, people were doing (or preparing to do) other things.

The internet has been a very useful organizational tools in other venues, especially in politics — while it’s pretty easy for people to post and feel good about themselves “because they’ve done something,” that isn’t the be-all and end-all of it, and I think Jerry’s mistake was he assumed that it stopped there, because that was the most visible part.

Jerry Holkins doesn’t make “mistakes”, Christopher.

He makes “inadvertent misapplications of ill-begotten knowledge and/or personal conceptions of reality”.


Jerry’s a nice guy, even when he’s verbally thrashing you within an inch of your life. At least, he was when I met him — he may have grown bitter and disaffected in the intervening years…

Well, *more* bitter and disaffected.

I love reading Jerry’s winding prose, even if I have to go back and re-read it more than once to make sure I gather all the ire.

It’s like someone injected a half-gallon of horse steroids into the language center of his brain and put an XBOX controller in his hands.

Well as a fan of Kelly I congratulate him on this modest victory. I hope he ends up getting cash enough to fund an animated version of Living in Greytown. That has to be one of the first webcomics that I truly fell in love with. His sickening and adorable characters beg you through their unconventional but melodramatic themes to open your heart, by expanding your mind.

My main point was that we shouldn’t expect “samurai justice” – anything approaching a satisfying and cathartic resolution. The false and empty letter printed here falls far short of the traditional “head on a pike” victory that would truly close the issue.

He needed to send out a letter to control a public relations situation, in direct response to the atmopshere created online. I’m glad, but there has been almost no cost to him or his company. He’s clearly a mercenary fuckwad, and his previously published response was monstrous, but I don’t think either of those ideas will ever really penetrate mainstream thought.

Everything else I said was me being a curmudgeon. I know perfectly well that “people talking on the Internet” can have profound results – Child’s Play travels along the same conduits. I simply have very low expectations whenever art and law intersect.

I agree with Jerry. I think this is just about the best resolution that could have been realistically hoped for… not very satisfying, but at least Kelly’s being compensated for the use of his work.

Has anyone thought about contacting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund about this? A class action lawsuit on behaf of all the other artists who have had their art copied would be nice.

at the risk of sounding dickish after the last wto very intelligent posts, I have to say this:

“I have never seen his work before”


Boy you guys are really harsh. Glad you’ve pointed me in the right direction (and where do you keep your stuff on the internet?)!

Glad that’s over, now I can get back to eating endangered species and doing coke off of dead babies with my $10,000 she-male whores!

Oh, and thanks for the cancer!

If this really is TG (being the Internet, it’s just as likely to be
a dog – but enough redundancy):

Todd, you fit my description of “mundane evil”, as someone
without a trace of empathy for the feelings of human beings.
You have no understanding that your actions have been
wrong, that your “art” is “theft”, and it means nothing to you
that you’ve caused others real pain.

I really hope that that you ultimately wind up damaged
(professionally) from this whole episode, especially after
your revolting first response to Shmorky, and for the
Myspace vandalism. The FBI should question you for
the emailing of inappropriate pictures (regardless of source)
that potentially reached minors, and I’d be delighted to
see some charges arise from that.

Last, my grandfather was an graphics and fine artist.
There’s more creativity in the stained floor tiles of his
studio than you’ll ever be capable of in your work.


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