Todd Goldman is a talented artist whose t-shirt/apparel company David and Goliath, Inc. made $90 million in 2004. That’s hardly a surprise considering that his work is popular with everybody from prostitutes to grandmothers to Saudi Arabian women. In fact, the only person who doesn’t like Goldman is Fox News commentator Bernard Goldberg who listed Goldman in his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Life, in general, couldn’t be going better for Goldman except for one slight problem: the Internet.
You see, over the past month, a lot of mean people online have been pointing out how some of Goldman’s work coincidentally looks like existing cartoons, comics and illustrations drawn by other artists. The differences between Goldman’s work and other artists are night and day but that hasn’t stopped evil Web people from harassing poor Goldman. Frankly, I’m disappointed with websites like BoingBoing, Slashdot,, Digg, MikeTyndall.com, and The Comics Journal who are disparaging the fine artistry of Goldman. Those awful folks at SomethingAwful have even posted a 110-page thread documenting these supposed similarities.
Seriously, can Goldman help if he madeÃ¢â‚¬”totally by coincidenceÃ¢â‚¬”a drawing that looks like a famous Disney character down to the pose, and then he put the Disney character’s name on it, and then he mass-produced the t-shirt and made lots of money selling it at retail stores and on his website. Fortunately, I know the lawyers at Disney are big-hearted and understanding; I mean which one of us hasn’t occasionally drawn a cartoon that looks like a famous Disney character and then mass-produced those drawings as merchandise.
And then, some other lame people online have been claiming that one of Goldman’s t-shirts looks like a character that illustrator Chip Wass designed for an animated commercial for Intel. These people, however, completely ignored the fact that Goldman’s character has stitches on its face and says “Bad Ass” beneath it. Apparently, 20/20 vision is not a prerequisite for critiquing artwork online.
Of course, what really bothers me is when well-known comic artists like Roman Dirge start claiming that the honorable Mr. Goldman is plagiarizing their work based on tenuous evidence. Compare Dirge’s design to Goldman’s design and just look at the eyes. Completely different characters if you ask me.
In fact, I spent most of last night designing my own new cartoon character. I call him Rugs Rabbit. Let’s just hope the Internet hounds don’t jump on my back like they have on Mr. Goldman’s and try to claim this completely original character is based on something else.
Fortunately, Todd Goldman isn’t taking this lying down. His lawyers have been defending his integrity by sending take-down notices to everybody, including Wired Magazine and Juxtapoz Magazine, who has dared point out these coincidences (or not-even-being-close-to-coincidences, as I prefer to call them). And a few weeks ago, Goldman himself set the record straight when he told the Las Vegas Sun what was really going on: “This is just a bunch of hater artists trying to take me down. I’m not an online Web guy. I’m not trying to rip people off. I work with a team of artists at David & Goliath. We create thousands of designs.”
Bottomline, here’s my advice to the online community: stop being a “bunch of hater artists” and let Mr. Goldman make his $90 million a year so he can defend himself from all your virulent online attacks.