A kind person informed me today that Hot Topic was selling a ripoff of my Bluth Family Crest design that was sold on TeeFury a while back, and is still sold on RedBubble. (PS: I’m planning on a re-release of the design, so hold out if you want your shirt to be a little higher quality - I just wanted to show that it’s still in circulation.)
Sure enough, here’s the link to the ripoff.
Legally, I don’t have much ground because a) they made quite a few changes to the shirt, even though it’s still obviously a ripoff, and b) the whole “unofficial pop culture merchandise” thing is pretty grey to begin with. How the hell could a little guy like me, who makes these kinds of things after coming home from his day job, even begin to tackle gigantic corporate bullshit such as this?
Therefore, I think I’ll just speak directly to the “artist” who’s sitting at their day job at Hot Topic:
You bananagrabber. I ain’t even mad. It looks like you didn’t even try. Your sense of proportion is beyond awful. That design is WAY too top heavy, and what the hell is up with that shield shape? It looks like something Strongbad would draw. You have to maintain your sense of balance, even when you’re too lazy to think of your own design.
Also, you totally messed up the flow of the jokes. Note that I’ve made sure to include one joke which references each member of the family, because the damned central theme of the show is “the importance of family”. Here’s the jokes and the family member that they correspond to:
- Ice Cream Sandwich - George
- Martini - Lucille
- Hook - Buster
- Knives and Cards - Gob
- Shopping Bag - Lindsey
- Bicycle - Michael
- Snoopy House - George Michael
- “Snowboard School 2” Movie Clapper - Mabye
- Blue Smudges - Tobias
I also chose four elements which represented the family as a whole: The staircase car, the Seaward yacht, the chicken, and the bananas. It looks like you just randomly switched a few things around, and then duplicated jokes for each character. A hook AND a seal? Aww C’mon! You seriously overcrowded the shirt with references! Don’t you know that exhibiting restraint will showcase the references you do make all the better? You can do better than that! Well, maybe you can’t. The world may never know!
Also, and this one really makes me think that you just looked all these jokes up on some Arrested Development wiki, is the fact that you goofed up their family slogan! I know, I know: the Bluth family DOES frequently say “I’ve made a huge mistake” - but there is this great moment in season 1, episode 10 (Pier Pressure) where Michael and Lucille have this exchange:
Lucille: I need a favor.
Michael: We ought to put that on our family crest.
That is LITERALLY where I got the idea to make this t-shirt! You missed the entire fucking point, son!
Look, I don’t even consider myself a master of my craft, but at least I put some effort and thought into it. So, congrats on making your day job easier by reusing elements of my design, but also entertaining me with the most flaccid ripoff I’ve seen in ages.
Props on drawing Buster’s hook better than me though. That deserves a free double chocolate-covered banana! (Only one stick, though.)