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Is ‘Avatar’ a Ripoff of 2000 AD’s 1993 Story ‘Firekind?’

Even though its initial hype has passed, Jame’s Cameron’s “Avatar,” remains a money-guzzling machine and a conversation piece for those who take issue with its fairly derivative storyline and Cameron’s general spectacle-over-substance approach to grossing hundreds of millions of dollars. The film’s plot has been compared to everything from “Pocahontas” to “Dances With Wolves” to “FernGully,” but cinematic stories aside, there appears to be one source of potential inspiration with even more in common.

Heavy.com has pointed out some striking similarities between a 1993 “2000 AD” story entitled “Firekind” (by John Smith and Paul Marshall) and Cameron’s mega-hit. For starters, a young man helps resolve a conflict aggravated by human colonials on a toxic, semi-sentient planet full of peaceful aliens who ride dragons around floating rocks.

Oops! If only creators John Smith and Paul Marshall had told their tale in glorious stereoscopic 3D (and toned down the intensely hallucinogenic and psychosexual elements of Firekind), they could have had a sure-fire hit! At one point Firekind’s dreamy lead notes “the whole planet’s wired into one massive circuitboard”, a fair description of Avatar’s neural net hoo-ha (although to my recollection nobody tentacle-penetrates anything in Firekind).

Heavy also cites Cameron’s out-of-court settlement with Sci-fi author Harlan Ellison over “Terminator’s” Ellison-inspired material and the fact that the director is a known friend of William Wisher, who scripted “2000 AD’s” “Judge Dredd” film as factoids that might possibly contribute to the potential, alleged borrowing of ideas possibly, maybe (just covering our posteriors here).

All opportunities to draw conclusions aside, “Firekind” is sounding more and more like something I wish I’d read in the ’90s.

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