Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Aztec of the City vs. The Legend of El Lobo: Copyright infringement or not? You decide!


Welcome fellow Broken’ers! It’s your friendly big Jake writing. On Sunday April 28, I came across an act of plagiarism and copyright infringement of the highest order with the comic called The Legend of El Lobo. The Lobo comic had taken several major plotline points from Aztec of the City.

The major scene that had been completely lifted was where the hero of the comic learns that his comic hero is coming to life and detectives question him about his involvement with the Aztec Warrior’s appearance.

Fernando Balderas Rodriguez had been working on creating his comic book since the early 1990s. Rodriguez and his brother created the first volume in 1993. He created a second volume that was picked up by Diamond Comics Distribution, which gave Aztec of the City national distribution and Rodriguez made
appearances at local cons in the California area.

Furthermore, Aztec of the City was the first Mexican-American comic book hero in California when it made its debut on May 5, 1993. (Cinco de Mayo). Rodriguez has been featured in Frederick Luis Aldama’s book, Your Brain on Latino Comics. Aztec of the City has a good healthy 20 year history in the marketplace and has had a major impact in the industry.

Rodriguez has even shared that in 1994 he was approached by DC Comics about their own upcoming Aztek comic series to assure there wasn’t going to be any type of copyright infringement. Once Rodriguez examined the character, he saw that there were no similarities with the two projects and gave his blessing for DC to proceed.

On the other hand, Rodriguez has stated that both Richard Soto and Bruce Logan are in full copyright infringement with Legend of El Lobo whose entire premise has been lifted.

Rodriguez also has his story registered with the WGA since June 13, 2010 which is based exactly off of his Aztec of the City comic book series that has been copyrighted since 1993.

Trying to contact the Legend of El Lobo creators has been a difficult task for Rodriguez. He has made several attempts to contact them and send them cease and desist orders to stop their attempts to continue with their project, which is financially damaging to Rodriguez’s property Aztec of the City. He posted and emailed them several times through their social media outlets because they have no other contact information available.

The Lobo creators finally did get in contact with me, and they were claiming that Rodriguez was defaming their names and being libelous with his accusations, which was why they were not going to engage in conversation with Rodriguez. When I tried to reason with the Lobo creators, they were acting rather fast and loose, tap dancing around the issues, and asking me what was Rodriguez’s issue with their property to begin with, and what the similarities were. Seeing as it has been clearly stated how the premise was exactly the same, it seemed like they were back peddling, and they claimed that they had trademarks and copyrights to their story that went further than Rodriguez’s own copyrights. When asked to produce said copyrights and information, they did not produce such documents to prove they were within their rights. In addition, their refusal to give any further information for Mr. Rodriguez to get in contact with the proper claims person to engage in conversation leads one to wonder what sort of game they are playing.

I don’t really know what they are trying to do here since they have been rather curt and sparse on their conversations and are very quick to claim that they have only received threatening posts and emails from Rodriguez. That doesn’t answer any questions. I would love if they gave me an interview as well, so I could talk with them more freely than these hit and run tactics they are using right now.

Here is a cover to Aztec of the City:



 Here is a cover to the Legend of El Lobo:

Do you see how the Lobo cover is almost a direct rip off? Makes one wonder, right?

What do you think?

Please come back as I will be directly interviewing Fernando Balderas Rodriguez in the next few days.

Jake Estrada

About the writer:
Jake Estrada has been publishing his own comics since 2005. His first comic, Bocas, centered on a Hispanic character, and there are six books in that series. His other books include Estrada Media Serials 1, Estrada Media Serials 2, Bridgeton Nights, You Cannot Silence Me: The Unauthorized Pedro Albizu Campos Story, Tainos, Motorist vs. Bocas 1, Motorist vs. Bocas 2, The Human Virus, and Screw Phillips. Other books are currently in the production stage and are scheduled to be released in 2013.

6 comments:

  1. I have no clues about any other claims made in this other than this isn't really a subject for a public forum but rather for a court of law if Mr. Rodriguez feels his rights have been infringed.

    That being said, outside of both featuring traditionally-attired heroes and cars, those covers have nothing in common. No similar poses, no similar designs, different cars, different angles and drastically different art styles.

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  2. I think the fact that Aztec of the city features an Aztec fighting crime in modern day L.A. in the barrio is enough similarity to yell rip off. Lobo is an Aztec fighting crime in the barrio in Modern day L.A. but Aztec of the city story and plot did it first and has several copyrights to defend it. I am curious myself to see the lobo team produce their copyrights they claim to have that predates Aztec of the city more than 20 yrs.

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  3. I should have another post up soon regarding this folks. However, I do believe Mr. Rodriguez will end up having to go to court, yet the public should be made aware of this, so they can make up their own conclusions. Thanks.

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  4. Consistently claiming someone is breaking the law without a criminal or civil procedure could put you in line for slander charges by the people you're claiming made the infringement. Innocent until proven guilty and if you (and by you, I mean this site) can't prove your claim, you could lose a lot of money there. Something to think about when framing these arguments.

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  5. Nick, yeah sure they can sue the site all they want because that is their right. Hell I can sue you and say OMG this guy is harassing me on my every thread. It’s the American way!

    But we have a little thing called Freedom of Speech and freedom of the press.

    However, for the Lobo creators to have a successful chance in winning they will have to say I purposefully and willfully engaged in libelous behavior. I would have had to cook up a bogus story, made up such outrageous claims in how the one side behaved without any proof of what I have seen. I’ve read the script that Mr. Rodriguez has copyrighted with the WGA and I have seen the trailer and their synopsis for their own comic, which is EXACTLY THE SAME! I’m not making that up, I have all the evidence procured by Mr. Rodriguez, but the other side is free to either counter that by producing said evidence or they can choose to remain silent about the entire matter and decline to comment because it’s their right and in the end it would be Mr. Rodriguez’s burden to prove this in a court of law as it would be their right to try to try to sue this site or me personally.

    I have seen what I seen, and made a small bit of commentary on my own reactions to this entire issue because to me on a personal level it is staggering. I’m not only reacting to this as a blogger/journalist, but as a creator/author myself. Sure my properties may suck to you, or to several others yet it is still my work and I feel other people who work in comics, movies or whatever should know what is going on as well and it is what I felt.


    You telling me this or that will happen isn’t going to scare me. I already know what can happen because anyone can do anything they want in this country when it comes to litigation, so please...

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  6. jose roberto mesarina.May 3, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Hey Nick. You sound like you know these guys, lobo personally. Your comments to Jake almost sound as if you are trying to intimidate him. Do you know the Lobo guys? Im asking because I wonder if you do, could you get them to make a comment or a statement about what's going in with this whole thing? Or maybe interview them yourself and get their side of the story. i think they also deserve to set things right and let everyone out there know that what is being written about their character and property is all either a big misunderstanding ir a weird coincidence. I am a comic book fan and find this topic of copyright infringement very interesting.

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