If you missed it yesterday, Shia LaBeouf, star of Disturbia and author of comics including one called Cyclical that involves motorcycles because of symbolism, adapted a Daniel Clowes comic, "Justin M. Damiano," into a short film and showed it at film festivals. Problem is, Clowes and his publisher, Fantagraphics didn't know about it, weren't credited, and weren't paid.

Bumblebee was presumably busy and couldn't help, so LaBeouf had to turn to
Twitter for his mea culpa. It doesn't really seem to be much help to his cause. Here are the tweets:

He wrapped up with a tweet we can't repost here. "I f**ked up," he said.

That last one is pretty on-the-nose, but the others, which seem to indicate that LaBeouf believes credit would have solved the problem, are entirely off-base. Making a film using verbatim quotes and dead-on shots from a comic that has exactly the same premise isn't finding "inspiration" from it. It's an adaptation if it's legal. It's plagiarism if you don't have the rights. You can't just change a few names and move some words around. This isn't a ninth-grade term paper.

Now, Wired is reporting that at least one of LaBeouf's very own tweets may be appropriated from a Yahoo Answers thread on plagiarism and Picasso. I know when I'm looking for creative ways to express myself, I generally turn to Yahoo Answers to give me the words.

Here's what Fantagraphics editor Eric Reynolds had to say about the whole thing involving the kid from Holes:

It was just a truly baffling move on LaBeouf's part. I've seen people write that the only explanation to this is that LaBeouf must have believed he owned the rights to "Justin M. Damiano," but not only did he not own the rights, he never even inquired about them, as far as I know. Besides, if he honestly believed that he legally owned the rights, whether he actually did or not, he would have properly credited the source material. He didn't, and that fact is disturbing.


But the fact that he also apparently didn't think he'd get busted submitting this to film festivals and making it available online in an effort to grease his own reputation is disturbing on an entirely different level, because it makes me wonder how he might have rationalized it himself. He's gone on the record as a fan of Clowes, but this film is an alarmingly thoughtless way of showing it.

Reynolds went on to wonder whether the actors involved in the production of the film knew anything about the source material. It's too bad, really. Jim Gaffigan, who stars in the film (which LaBeouf titled HowardCantour.com) is perfect to play a Clowes protagonist.

He should have just adapted Cyclical into a movie. That 8-ball tattoo needs to be realized on film.

UPDATE: A representative for Jim Gaffigan gave a statement to CBR regarding the project: "Jim was an actor for hire on this project and had no creative input. We were all as surprised by this news as everybody else.”

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