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Jonathan Hickman Responds to ‘House of X’ #2 Plagiarism Accusations

When Marvel decided that it was time to reshape the X-Men, the called on famed writer Jonathan Hickman to lead the charge. Hickman, along with Pepe Larraz crafted House of X, a series that not only flips the entire team on its head, it takes one of the franchise’s most storied character’s and retcons her entire life.

The Curious Case Of Moira X shows fans that Moira MacTaggert has the mutant power to live her life again and again after she dies, making major changes as she goes. House of X #2 also teases that this might be the last life she lives.

While the idea of coming back to life and retaining memories is not new, one comic writer came out to note the similarities between her series, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and Hickman’s House of X.

Webb, who published the work under the pen name Claire North, pointed out the similarities to Moira’s story in House of X, but also noted Hickman’s praise of her novel, prompting many of her fans to accuse Hickman of plagiarizing Webb’s work.

Hickman, in a statement to Bleeding Cool, responded to the idea that he plagiarized someone’s work:

Well, this is unfortunate. The times this has happened to me, Pax Romana probably being the most prominent, it’s impossible not to feel like someone is trying to steal your kid, so I sympathize with Ms. North’s reaction.

Let me just say that I absolutely have read Harry August and think it’s wonderful, but I completely disagree with any idea that the narratives are similar.

In regards to resurrection/reincarnation stories, I’d argue that, in terms of story, style and stakes, this is much more in line with something like Live Die Repeat than Harry August. The thing that it absolutely does have in common — and where the comparison is both accurate and fair — is that it repeats a lifetime instead of just a short period of time, but even that’s something that Replay did thirty years ago.

These are all just plot devices to tell a particular story. And while I hate to say this now as we’re only three issues into a twelve issue story, what we’re doing in the X-books isn’t a story about reincarnation. That’s just a plot device we stuck in there to make the first act retcon go down easier. When this is done, it’ll be very obvious to anyone who reads both that the two aren’t the same.

I would, however, tell everyone to go read Harry August if you haven’t. It’s about a rivalry between two men that goes on for several lifetimes against a backdrop of a secret society of people who reincarnate. Everyone should read it.

In short, Hickman maintained that the coming back to life aspect of the story is merely a plot device, and is not something that House of X will put a large focus on. On the idea of plagiarism, it’s easy to argue against it, as many other stories like Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, Russian Doll, and Happy Death Day, have all used the same idea.

Hickman’s other X-Men series, Powers of X #2, will be released in comic stores and online this Wednesday. 

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