Comic creator and former penciler at DC Chris Wozniak is taking a civil action against Warner Bros. over his allegation that they ripped off his 1990 story outline in The Batman.
In a series of YouTube videos, Wozniak endeavored to make his case to fans and the Internet by giving step-by-step examples of parts of his story called “The Ultimate Riddle,” and later titled “The Blind Man’s Hat,” that he claims were lifted and rewritten by Matt Reeves.
Two of the most glaring examples were the mystery with The Riddler at the center and the big reveal that the Prince of Puzzles knew Batman was Bruce Wayne – or, as is the case in the film, believed he was onto what the Dark Knight and his crusade were all about.
Riddler would unleash a plague as the “broken” and corrupt Gotham’s judgment in Wozniak’s unmade graphic novel pitch, which became a biblical flood in Reeves’ script.
“There are so many original expressions from my client’s story found in the defendant’s movie that we believe this is [a] clear case of copyright infringement. The similarities are just too uncanny to be accidental,” said Wozniak’s attorney, R. Terry Parker, in a statement to The New York Post.
In another example from The Batman, Alfred is injured by a bomb sent to Wayne Tower that was meant for Bruce. Wozniak explained on YouTube he had a scene like that playing out with Barbara Gordon.
As the Manhattan federal court suit states, “This scene is copied from an original expression in the Copyrighted Work.”
Having pitched his story several times to DC, Wozniak sent it to Batman movie producer Michael Uslan as an idea for a film. In his videos, he provided evidence of an email to Uslan.
On both pages, Wozniak explains there should have been a contract, credit, and compensation negotiated with the studio but talks never took place.
“There’s no disputing my plot pre-dates their screenplay, that the people who made this film were in possession of my plot, and that the Riddler’s storyline in the film was directly derived from my plot,” he wrote on Indiegogo.
“Now, before Executive Producer Michael Uslan and Warner Bros. Pictures used my plot in the film, they were supposed to negotiate a contract first to make sure I was fairly compensated,” he added.
“I was NOT credited anywhere. I was NOT paid anything. And In case you’re wondering, that’s NOT supposed to happen. So here I am, asking BATMAN FANS AROUND THE WORLD to stop Hollywood from steamrolling yet another Comic Creator,” Wozniak continued.
“I got ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. That is not JUSTICE,” he declared. “It would be nice if some of the more famous faces would shine a little light on this situation because it would go a long way towards making this right.”
Wozniak put “Suing Warner Bros for using my story in THE BATMAN film” in his @Batmangate Twitter bio. He’s promoting as well his newest project, Penelope Powerhouse, a crowdfunded “Outrageous Gag Humor Graphic Novel.”
What do you make of Wozniak suing Warner Bros. Entertainment?