According to this press release, Pendragon Pictures “has given formal legal notice” to Dark Horse Comics, alleging the publisher’s The War of the Worlds graphic novel contains “innumerable replications of images” from the studio’s 2005 direct-to-DVD adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic novel.
“Both productions are based on the public domain 1898 H. G. Wells novel,” the press release notes, “but Pendragon alleges that Dark Horse has played foul in replicating camera angles, designs, character likenesses and a myriad of artistic choices for their comic.”
The 72-page graphic novel, by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, was released in April 2006.
In an attempt to support its claims, Pendragon has created a website on which it compares panels from the graphic novel with frames from the movie. What’s more, the site includes a poll, asking visitors whether they see “significant similarities” between the two works.
I don’t really know what to make of all of this, because it feels more like marketing than legal maneuvering (you can follow a link from the press release to purchase the DVD).
To be honest, I’m not sure what “formal legal notice” means. Did Pendragon file a lawsuit? If so, when and where? And the tenor of the press release, combined with the comparison website and poll, strikes me as … strange.
I’ve contacted Dark Horse for comment, and Pendragon for clarification. It’s still early on the West Coast, but I’ll update if they have statements.
Update: A spokeswoman for Dark Horse responded to say the publisher doesn’t comment on legal matters.