Did DC’s ‘Strange Adventures’ Rip Off This Cool Indie Comicbook?


Indie comics creator Josh Howard has been working on and promoting his original T-BIRD & THROTTLE comics for the past 15 years, nearly 20 if you count his zero issue. It tells the story of an aging ex-astronaut / superhero named Mitchell Maddox (AKA T-Bird) who must battle a hostile media, the court of public opinion, and his own demons on his road to redemption.

With the recent rise of crowdfunding comics, it seemed like the perfect venue to finally make it a reality. He launched his first Kickstarter campaign for T-Bird & Throttle back in 2017, which he then gave to every publisher, big and small at San Diego Comic Con that year and never heard back from any of them. Undaunted, Josh went on to crowdfund a second issue in 2018, and then issue three in 2019, on Indiegogo.
Earlier this week, Josh was sent a link to an online trailer promoting the release of the inaugural issue of DC’s new Black Label version of Strange Adventures. The Twitter follower had noticed several similarities to Josh’s comic.
At first I was like, yeah okay. But the more I saw, the more eerie it got. To make sure I wasn’t crazy, I showed it to other people for their opinions before I publicly said anything. But the response seemed to be pretty unanimous. I’m not one to go around causing commotions or getting into arguments on social media. Anyone can check my stuff. I keep a pretty low profile and stay focused and positive. It takes a LOT for me to wade into controversy. But this is about my work, and my work is my lifeblood. I felt it was important to call attention to a potential issue. But I’ve tried to stay upbeat and maintain a sense of humor about the whole thing. 
Writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads are working on the upcoming DC Comics series “Strange Adventures” which tell the story of Adam Strange, a man famous throughout the galaxy for his bravery and honor. After leading his adopted home to victory in a great planetary war, Adam and his wife Alanna retire to Earth, where they are greeted by cheers, awards, and parades. But not all is as happy and nice as it seems, as the decisions Adam made during his space battles come back to haunt his family
The similarities between Strange Adventures and T-Bird & Throttle were not about any one particular image (although we’ve included a few below to compate), although there are several damning ones. Nor were the similarities about any one particular story point. Josh feels it is more about the cumulative effect of all the entire narrative. Going by what can be seen in the trailer and the preview images DC has put out, the biggest similarities are as follows:
1) an older, former space-faring hero 
2) a book about the main character that exists within the story
3) public backlash, specifically involving fallout from said book
4) the theme of media and its influence as a strong overarching theme
5) hero accused/suspected of murder
6) the nearly identical cover concept.
And the similarities don’t stop there. The book contains aliens, a love story, the daughter, which are certainly common enough across all media, but taken as a whole seem like far to many variables for this to be a coincidence.

When asked about what he expects will come of this, or if he plans to take any action, Josh responded “no one has reached out to me, so I suspect they’ll just try to ignore it.” He continued “We’ll see what further information presents itself, if any. I’ll just say this. I’ve been making comics a long time. T-BIRD & THROTTLE is my baby, the one I’ve put  the most into on a personal and philosophical level. I feel more confident about this story than anything else I’ve ever done. So while I’m protective of it, I also believe it can stand on its own merits. I don’t believe any modern corporately produced comic can hold a candle to what my blood, sweat, and tears has produced with T-BIRD & THROTTLE. 

Meanwhile, Josh is working on his next issue. “I’m very proud to be working with Alterna Comics. T-BIRD & THROTTLE will be releasing as part of their GIANTS line-up starting in September. They will be reprinting Books 1-4 on newsprint with new covers and maybe some bonus content as well.”

Chris Braly

I'm a collector, a speculator, and one opinionated, based geek. My friends call me Braly, but those who know me within the hobby generally refer to me as Bralinator. I can be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several other comic book nerds. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly