'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' vs. 'Diary of a Zombie Kid'
The second is meant to be a parody of the popular children's books, but according to lawyers for "Wimpy Kid" creator Kinney, it's not funny: It's trademark and copyright infringement. A suit was filed Tuesday in Massachusetts, Publishers Weekly reports:
In the filing, Wimpy Kid noted that since the publication of the first book in April 2007 it has rapidly become a “cultural phenomenon,” selling more than 52 million copies, with merchandising that includes T-shirts, hats, action figures, swimwear, and board games. It calls Diary of a Zombie Kid “a counterfeit, copy, and/or colorable imitation.”
Abrams, which has published all six books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, declined to comment on the lawsuit. At press time, PW was unable to reach Joe Dunn, publisher of Antarctic Press in San Antonio, Tex. [which published "Diary of a Zombie Kid"], or Antarctic’s counsel, copyright attorney William E. Maguire.
The success of the "Wimpy Kid" series has rubbed off on "Zombie Kid," which was selling at a respectable No. 50 spot on Amazon's comics and graphic novels bestseller list earlier this week.
Zombies have been treading their leaden steps into literature since Seth Grahame-Smith's surprise 2009 hit, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." The brain-hungry undead might have seemed an odd match for Jane Austen, but there was one thing that made them a perfect fit: Austen's work is in the public domain. Anyone can remake, retool or mash up "Pride and Prejudice," however, whenever they like.
Jeff Kinney's work? Not so much.
As of this writing, a second "Zombie Kid" book is slated to be released in January.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Images: Left, Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever." Credit: Amulet Books. Right, "Diary of a Zombie Kid." Credit: Antarctic Press