September 12, 2006

Amp’d Mobile’s “Li’l Bush” seems strangely familiar

Lil BillBack in the winter of 2002, while I was cocooning in my home after 9/11 like so many Americans, I conceived of a cartoon series all about grade-school versions of the various Clinton Administration characters. I called it “The Adventures of Li’l Bill & Hill and Friends.” There was Li’l Bill, and Li’l Hill, and Messy Monica, and Al, and Ken, and George, and Linda, and Janet, and Socks the Flying Cat (because every cartoon needs an anthropomorphic animal). I built a website for it that was partly a parody of Saturday Morning Cartoons, and partly a send up of the Clinton administration, and partly a parody of obsessive fan websites.

It was a big hit. Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing said, “This. Is. Amazing” (emphasis original). The Detroit Free Press called it “The work of a genius, albeit a warped one.” I got so much positive feedback that I even pitched it as a TV series to Comedy Central. But they didn’t bite. I guess the Clintons weren’t timely any more.

So of course I considered doing a version with Bush. But it was too early in the Bush administration to really know who the players would be that would make good characters, and what their personalities would be like.

Well, this morning, as I drank my coffee from my Li’l Bill & Hill Coffee Mug (seriously), I read an e-mail from a friend pointing me to this New York Times Article about a comedy writer named Donick Cary who recieved an offer from Amp’d Mobile to develop his own video project for wireless phones:

The result is a raunchy cartoon called “Lil’ Bush,” concerning the adventures of a grade-school version of President Bush and his pals, a heartsick Lil’ Condi, a raging Lil’ Rummy and a Lil’ Cheney reminiscent of the Frankenstein monster.

Yes, that’s right. Amp’d Mobile customers can watch the animated adventures of Lil’ Bush on their cellphones (and anyone can watch on-line). It’s essentially the same idea I had five years ago. But with George Bush. I had recently revisted this idea, even drawing some preliminary sketches of my version of “Li’l Bush” as a naive kid ready for adventure in his flight suit. But I didn’t have the time to develop it further.

Lil BushWell it’s bittersweet to see that someone else has done it. Did Donick Cary see my Li’l Bill website? It’s possible. It got a fair amount of publicity, mentions on talk radio, that sort of thing. And it’s linked to on the right side of the main page on this site, which has also gotten enough publicity that it’s concievable he’s seen it. But it’s probably not such a novel idea that I could prove he stole it from me. I think the law would say that he could have come up with it on his own. Which he may have. And you can’t copyright an idea, anyway, just the execution of the idea, and I guess his execution is different enough from mine except for in the obvious ways (setting it at the White House, etc). But still, I can’t help but feel like I’ve been ripped off a little bit, even though it’s nice to see Cary’s version has come to fruition. Great minds and all that.


I saw the New York Times story yesterday and was shocked, too. Why?

Because my writing partner and I came up with the same idea a few years ago, too. (We never saw your website.)

As a full time comedy writer, I’ve learned more and more that those in the field have “group mind.” In short, a lot of people have similar ideas.

My writing partner and I never did anything with the idea.

The moral of the story: follow through with your ideas and sell them ASAP!

Maybe, all “pride” aside of both sides, you should colaborate and perhaps the resultant work would be just that much better?

I was thinking of “Li’l Hitler” myself (he’s such a scamp!), a few years back, then VIZ beat me to it. I blame myself for not drawing faster.

Ideas are dime a dozen. It’s how you ‘execute’ an idea that gives any idea value. This is why you can’t copyright an idea.

Give an idea to 10 different people and you will get 10 differently executed results based on the very same idea.

If you could copyright (or hold hostage) an idea, you’d be an idea terrrrist, and you’d hate people’s freedom to execute on ideas, and you’d be hunted…why would you want that?

Oh, um, hey, you skipped over how FOUR years have passed while “not having any material” for a Bush administration redux of your child parodies. Not sure if you have kids or watch the Discovery channel at all, or maybe some of the stuff out of Japan, but “mini/child” characters are all the rage. Lampooning is not original, neither are mini versions of pols. I guess the real “irony” here is that most of the stuff Bush and gang have done is kind of hard to laugh about.

hey Kip W-

My friend wrote and recorded a great song about Bush called “Little Hitler” It would be an excellent theme song for this show too!

Actually, the South Park guys knew who the interesting characters would be in the Bush Administration even before it started, with their excellent show “That’s My Bush”. Rove was essentially Bush’s straight man. Who butthe most wonky political junkie would have guessed that back in 2000?

It was cancelled shortly after 9/11.

Get Over Yourself Lil Bush is great and so so funny. I laugh every time I watch it. I want to send the creator money dog. He deserves it with such great comedy.
please try and get over yourself.

Despit what Alan Cross says, it is strange that now it’s a show on Comedy Central, who heard David’s idea and turned it down 5 years ago.

A few weeks after the flap over those Danish cartoons, I drew up some panels for a story featuring “Li’l Mohammed” who hung out with a bunch of his li’l pals, one particularly tall one being called “Osama,” and another long-suffering and picked-on kid called “Jewey.” But honestly - how much of a market could there be these days?