The webcomics blog about webcomics

Tuesday Troubles

What the crap? I turn around this morning and our main machine decided to have a small lobotomy. Thanks to those who emailed to let us know about the site outage; all is now well, and we may move on to more important things.

Joey Manley emailed me this morning to point me to a new piece at TalkAboutComics; short version: Cat Garza’s old site (Whimville, no link, for reasons that will soon become apparent) had lapsed its registration some time back, which ordinarily would not be a big deal, what with Magic Inkwell and all. Somebody scooped up the domain (again no big), and is now using it to most likely game Google’s search rankings and promote a chiropractor in California. And they’re using Garza’s name and art to do so. Right there? That’s your big deal.

I contacted Garza a little while ago and verified that he’s neither given his permission for his art to be used, nor has he been offered compensation. Manley’s engaged in a little Google-fu to try to mitigate whatever benefit the chiropractors might ultimately see; I’ve just sent the following message via their contact page to inform them of the situation and see if they have any response:

I am a blogger that covers the world of digital comics; please be aware that the purpose of this email is to solicit information for publication.

I am writing about what appears to be an attempt to make your website rank higher on Google. An expired domain has been obtained for this purpose (, and is using the art of its former owner to promote your business.

I have verified with the artist, Cat Garza, that he has not given permission for his artwork to be used this way, nor has he been compensated for its use.

Mr Garza is both well-known and well-respected in the world of independent and digital comics; he is also distressed that his work is being used this way.

For the record, now that you are aware that these actions have taken place, will you be either compensating Mr Garza for the use of his art, or instructing those who are promoting you to discontinue using Mr Garza’s name and copyrighted material?

Gary Tyrrell
editor, Fleen

Nothing received yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know if there is one. In the meantime, if you’d care to contact the back-crackers and ask politely if they would care to deal with the situation in a manner that’s not ripping off Garza, that would be awesome. Remember: we won’t get a good response by yelling, threatening, or acting crazy. Let them know the situation, let them know it’s bad publicity, ask them politely to change their approach. Updates on the situation as warranted.

It looks like he is attempting to distance himself from blatant plagiarism by providing a click-thru to Garza’s new site. It still doesn’t give him an excuse to use the artwork for free.

[…] Garza’s is having some issues with a chiropractor, fleen has the […]

[…] Gary Tyrrell at FLEEN has picked up the story and so did Comixtalk as of this writing.  I appreciate all the great discussion going on over at the Magic Inkwell Livejournal feed as well as over on my Facebook.  Thanks for all the support, opinions, encouragement, advice and e-love everyone!  I don’t know where this is all going, really, but it’ll be interesting to find out. […]

[…] Here’s a reason to hang on to that old URL: cat garza let Whimville go a few years ago and now it has been resurrected by a chiropractor, apparently to boost his SEO rating. But it still has some of cat’s comics on it. (Via ComixTalk.) UPDATE: Gary Tyrrell sends them a polite letter. […]

[…] has successfully intervened to get his art back under his control. A quick letter to the ISP of the page-rank manipulators has yielded positive results (a previous appeal directly to the malefactors having had no effect). […]

RSS feed for comments on this post.