Well that was interesting to watch.  Friends of the site, Zeus Comics and Variants recently had a very lengthy discussion on Twitter.  Full links to each Tweet are at the very end of this article, but lets review.  Richard Neal, owner of Zeus Comics and co-creator of the Variants web series confronted Chris Hardwick, creator of all things Nerdist, over the new Nerdist YouTube series, NerdTerns.

Richard felt that NerdTerns is a little too close in concept and plot to the last three years of the Variants.  Some of these may just be coincidences.  It could just be that crazy thing that happens in human evolution in which two groups unrelated to each other come up with the same idea at the same time.  The airplane.  A summer volcano movie.  However, there is also evidence that some people who work for Nerdist were aware of the Variants.

First there is this picture:

Then Richard has submitted the show for the Nerdist company to consider carrying multiple times.  To no response.  Is NerdTerns the response?

Keli of the Variants and her horrible boyfriend plot:


Compare to Jenny’s Ex:

Again, we are not accusing Chris Hardwick or Nerdist of anything.  However, there were numerous times in which someone within the Nerdist company would have become aware of the Variants and then this similar show comes along.

How similar:

Main cast of four, with one woman.

Takes place within a comic book store.

Story arc of the female employee getting put down by her partner only for the staff to come to her aid.

Aloof dancing lead male.

Snapping someone back to reality with a squirt gun.

and with three seasons of The Variants to pull from there will be even more coincidences to come.

I know, some of you may be thinking that this is just the way of scripted entertainment.  That there will be similarities.  Even @Nerdist himself said, “look at Comic Book Men”!

Saying that Comic Book Men is similar just because it takes place in a comic book store is like saying Storage Wars and Sanford and Son are similar because they both involve people buying junk.  Or Scrubs and ER because they are both set in a hospital.  Two different genres of shows.

If NerdTerns response is that lots of shows take place in comic book stores and lots of sitcoms have these story ideas then that is all the more reason for them to do something else.  “Lots of shows do it” is the same as, this has been done.  Be more original.

Again, I like the Nerdist company.  There are some great podcasts, the BBC America shows are fun, and many of the web shows are weekly favorites.  Aint It Cool, Four Points, Nerdist Bowling are all great.  But Variants has been around for three years (before Comic Book Men as well) and they have not been hiding.

Any product has to defend their property each and every time they feel it has been marginalized.  If not, then that one time it really needs to be done will also be the time a court allows it because the IP had not previously been defended.

We support Zeus Comics and The Variants.  We enjoy the Nerdist products.  And we look forward to NerdTerns growing as a show and becoming a completely original voice.


All the original tweets are linked under the Read More bar.

(Apologies for the length of these.  With each new post Twitter posts the previous ones as well.  But I wanted everything there in full context.)