As Werewolf by Night emerges on Disney+, opening up a new corner of the MCU, Marvel Studios has become the subject of another controversy, with a popular poster appearing to have been plagiarised from a rock band cover.
Disney Accused of Plagiarism for Werewolf by Night Poster
Graphic artist Midiankai took to social media to claim that Disney and Marvel Studios' official Werewolf by Night poster copied designs from a cover he created years ago for Born from Pain, a Dutch hardcore band.
The Direct spoke to Midiankai - an Estonia-based graphic designer and illustrator with over 9 years of experience designing music covers, merchandise & game art, and branding images - who shared that he created Born from Pain's wolf design in 2016 when the band commissioned him for a shirt print based on their song "Lonewolf".
Midiankai pointed out how many of the elements in Disney+'s Werewolf by Night poster (which was publicly released in September ahead of the special's debut) are nearly identical, if not the exact same, to the core designs in his cover, specifically the wolf's snout, teeth, and chin:
Speaking with The Direct, Midiankai shared how he believes that the Disney-hired designer "traced" his design in a vector graphics program like Adobe Illustrator before using tools to manipulate and change certain elements:
"I think Illustrator live trace was used on the initial art because it has rounded edges. There are sliders called noise and corners, moving them softens edges, removing sharp edges and artifacts, this is where rounded corners come from. Next, mesh tool was used to widen the snout, and after that lower jaw was moved to make it an open mouth, but the dark notches from the upper teeth remained there. Someone who did it either forgot or didn't pay attention to that detail."
As Midiankai "interacts with a lot of comic book artists" on social media, he speculates that the Disney designer may have come across his Born from Pain cover through Twitter or Instagram before using it for the Werewolf by Night poster:
"It's very hard to find art since I'm a lesser-known artist outside of the niches I work in, but I interact with a lot of comic book artists and I have this art In my Twitter feed and on my Instagram page. My wild guess is that this designer/artist saw my interaction with other comic book artists and saw this art, or was following me."
Midiankai told The Direct how he has previously had "some of [his] art... stolen by beginner artists chasing fast profit, but never by big names like Marvel."
So how should Disney right their wrongs? Midiankai noted "credit and royalties" as the "best option" since the poster is "already out in the world."
As one of the world's largest mass media conglomerates, Disney is no stranger to accusations of creative theft. In 2018, ahead of Solo: A Star Wars Story's release, the company faced a similar case of poster plagiarism allegations from an artist whose designs were seemingly copied for Solo's character posters:
Disney publicly responded to this 2018 case, clarifying that “the posters were created by an outside vendor and it’s something we are currently looking into.”
The Direct has reached out to Disney for comment on this latest allegation. Werewolf by Night is now streaming on Disney+.