Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Monsters Ick?

It's been a really long time since I first heard about the lawsuit against Disney/Pixar over Monsters Inc.... over three years, in fact... and I can't find any follow up news on the case. The BBC has the original news story here, basically, "Stanley Mouse, the renowned '60s-era psychedelic poster artist, has sued Disney Enterprises and Pixar Talking Pictures, claiming that the Mike and Sully characters featured in "Monsters, Inc." were copied without credit from his catalog of work. According to court documents, Mouse claims that one of the main characters in "Monsters, Inc.," a green, wisecracking, ambulatory eyeball named Mike, strongly resembles a character he drew for a movie treatment titled "Excuse My Dust" that was unsuccessfully shopped around in 1998. According to the documents, "Excuse My Dust" was set in "Monster City," where the animated monster characters worked for the "Monster Corporation of America." In the movie "Monsters, Inc.," the characters Mike and Sully live in "Monstropolis" and work for "Monsters, Inc." Drawings attached to the complaint, dating from the early 1960s, pair a small, two-legged eyeball with a large, dull-witted monster character in a "buddy" relationship. The lawsuit claims that Disney and Pixar also appropriated the "buddy" relationship theme from Mouse's work. The lawsuit further claims that a story artist from Pixar visited Mouse in 2000, described himself as a fan of the artist and discussed Mouse's work with him." So then what? What happened? Three years and counting, and no settlement or anything? I mean, Stanley Mouse is no teenage scam artist, he's a well-established, well-respected graphic artist, best known for his work with the Grateful Dead. It's hard to dismiss his claims out of hand. For the record, I LOVE the Monsters Inc. film, and would be devastasted to hear confirmation of foul play, but my personal experience with the outer tentacles of the Disney behemoth leads me to believe the various limbs of the corporation are more than capable of this sort of thing.


Monsterama reader Matt Putnam-Pouliot (see above) has this to say... "I'm writing with a little information about the Mouse/Disney lawsuit. From an individual who was involved in the case I learned that the judge ruled against Mouse on one character and determined the issue of the other character would go to trial. Disney and Mouse reached a settlement though, the details of which will never be made public."