Avatargate: The Case For The Prosecution

Avatar Firekind Comparison

When we broke the news yesterday that Avatar was hugely similar to an obscure adult comic, we were so excited we forgot to include pictures. Now we’ve calmed down, it’s time to go in depth and show the world just why James Cameron, in our opinion, owes two comics creators from the UK some major, major credit. Here’s round two of a genuine Heavy exclusive, readers!

TALK TO ME ABOUT FIREKIND:

If you haven’t heard of Firekind, that’s OK: published over eight issues of 2000ad (the guys who do Judge Dredd), Firekind has been only seen reprint once and never received a trade paperback. The plot goes a little something like this:

Botanist Hendrick Larsen arrives on the planet Gennyo-Leil, to live among the native Kesheen and explore the world – home to the Firekind, huge dragons full of miracle drugs that make humans young and virile again. Larsen needs to wear something called a Filter:Mask at all times, since the atmosphere of Gennyo-Leil kills humans. After watching the Kesheen have weird, unsettling alien sex practices, Larsen is blamed for several massacres and cast out, to die alone. What happens next is the weird drugs in the atmosphere re-wire Larsen’s brain, letting him join a tribe of outcast natives (outcast for having kinky sex, in case you needed to know) and share in their psychic link. Pretty soon a band of sadistic mercenaries show up (having framed Larsen for the earlier atrocities, intent on killing all the Kesheen and stealing their dragon-drugs. Backed into a corner, Larsen has no choice but to summon the destructive all-god of the planet, turning wildlife and a massive colossus against the human fleet and turning his back on his own species.

Avatar Firekind Comparison

Sounds familiar? If you were to sell Firekind or any kind of fire today, you’d be told it was a rip-of of Avatar – even though it predates the earliest 1994 “scriptments” of Avatar by a year. Admittedly, there’s quite the difference in tone: Avatar is about as sanitised as sexy cat people get, while Firekind presents the plight of the besieged Kesheen like something out of the Belgian Congo. There’s none of that stuff about plugging your brain into avatar bodies, we admit, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. This isn’t new territory for James Cameron, since he already paid cash to sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison after Terminator was “influenced” by Ellison’s Twilight Zone episodes “Soldier” and “Demon With A Glass Hand”. Jim Cameron clearly digs his comics: he’s soon to go into production with a live action take on manga Battle Angel Alita, but we imagine someone’s probably getting due royalty payments over that one. Zing!

Firekind was written by John Smith with art by Paul Marshal, and published in 2000ad #828-840.

AVATAR: FIREKIND:
THE PLANET: Pandora, a lush jungle world with mysterious floating rock formations and an atmosphere toxic to humans. Gennyo-Leil, a lush jungle world with mysterious floating stone slabs and an atmosphere toxic to humans.
THE WILDLIFE: Lots of weird stuff, plus big dragons for the natives to ride. Lots of weird stuff, plus the firekind: big dragons for the natives to ride.
OUR PROTAGONIST: Jake Sully, a washed up Marine who goes against his own species when they go too far. Has a lot of furry otherkin sex. Hendrick Larsen, a washed up botanist who goes against his own species when they go too far. Has no sex.
THE NATIVES: The Na’vi, blue-skinned aboriginals with a planet-wide neural net connection. The Kesheen, blue-skinned Aboriginals with a planet-wide psychic connection.
RELIGION: The Na’vi worship Eywa, an animistic nature deity who is summoned against the invaders with devastating results. The Kesheen worship Asha-Kadarine, an animistic nature deity who is summoned against the invaders with devastating results.
THE INVADERS: Marauding colonialists bent on exploiting Pandora’s unique resources: “Unobtainium”, a rare and desirable miracle compound available only in the planet’s unique geology. Marauding colonialists bent on exploiting Gennyo-Leil’s unique resources: “Hexacrin”, a rare and desirable miracle drug found only in the glands of the planet’s mysterious dragons.
DOES IT HAVE WEIRD FLOATING ROCKS: Yes. Yes!