Comic Artist Claims 'Heroes' Is a Rip-Off


     LOS ANGELES (CN) - A comic book artist claims NBC used his series about a "traveling circus of damned souls" as a blueprint for the fourth season of its hit TV show "Heroes." Jazan Wild claims the storylines, settings and characters in "Heroes" are "virtually identical" to those in "Jazan Wild's Carnival of Souls," his series of graphic novels. "Even the dialogue is similar," Wild says.
     In his federal complaint, Wild adds: "Indeed, some of the scenes in 'Heroes' appear as if plaintiff's books were used as storyboards by defendants."
     Wild, whose real name is Jason Barnes, says "the main character in both stories leads a carnival of lost souls and outcasts. The dark character seeks to make his carnival more powerful by recruiting new members with special abilities."
     Barnes claims both stories "have a carnival that can magically appear and disappear in order to collect its protagonists. Both stories have a young boy enter the carnival and receive a prophecy that changes their lives. Each boy then develops special abilities that then lead to the very same carnival seeking them out, 14-15 years later.
     "Both stories have a Carney or Hero, running through a remote wooded area while being chased by an angry mob, who believes the Carney or Hero has committed murder. A girl then cries out to the protagonist as he escapes into the wooded area. In both 'Heroes' and 'Carnival of Souls,' it is at this point that that a magical carnival appears and saves the Carney or Hero. Then the magical carnival disappears before the angry mob can reach the collected Carney or Hero. ...
     "In both Heroes and Carnival of Souls, the protagonist enters the house of mirrors, which then encircles him. He sees his mother, who calls out his name and reveals dark secrets to him, causing him to cry out in pain. A second identical scene involves the Evil Character entering the house of mirrors and blasting electricity out of his hands. ...
     "Both Heroes and Carnival of Souls have Jamaican Voodoo witchdoctors. They look identical, both sporting dreadlocks," according to the complaint.
     In one episode of "Heroes," Barnes claims, "Complete scenes and storylines appear to have been taken directly from Carnival of Souls. Both have the carnival appearing in nightmarish visions. Both have the Carney/Hero awake in a panicked state. Both have the person who can see the future being warned that a hunter is coming to attack the carnival. Both of these hunters have a daughter at the carnivals when they are attacked. It appears that for some scenes, 'Heroes' used 'Carnival of Souls' as a storyboard, such as one where the Hunter of Heroes and Carnival of Souls looks at his daughter through the sight of his rifle, against blackened background which only highlights the circle of his scope. ...
     "The conclusions of Season 4 of 'Heroes' and 'Carnival of Souls' are also substantially similar. Both conclude with the carnivals destroyed. Interestingly, the graphic novel version of 'Heroes,' posted online, has a different ending from the television series. The graphic novel's carnival was destroyed with crowds running away in a panic. This ending is substantially similar to the conclusion of 'Carnival of Souls,' which has the carnival also being destroyed with crowds running for the exits. Both stories then conclude in New York City."
     Barnes claims that NBC changed the season finale "in an attempt to minimize the similarity" between "Heroes" and "Carnival of Souls."
     Season four has already aired. Barnes wants NBC enjoined from rebroadcasting it, and $60 million in compensatory and punitive damages for copyright infringement, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
     He is represented by Michael Baranov with Baranov & Wittenberg. Named as defendants are NBC Universal, NBC Studios and Tailwind Productions.