Separated At Birth: Netflix's 1899 and Mary Cagnin's Black Silence

Brazilian comic book creator Mary Cagnin has accused the new Netflix TV show 1899 of being swiped from her her 2016 comic book Black Silence. Posted on Twitter (and translated by Google), she writes, "I'M IN SHOCK. The day I found out that the 1899 series is just IDENTICAL to my comic Black Silence, published in 2016."

"It's all there: The Black Pyramid. The deaths inside the ship/ship. The multinational crew. The apparently strange and unexplained things. The symbols in the eyes and when they appear (+)"

Separated At Birth: Netflix's 1899 and Mary Cagnin's Black Silence
1899 screencap/Netflix and Black Silence

"Codes written. The voices calling to them. Subtle plot details, such as the characters' personal dramas, including their mysterious deaths."

"You must be wondering: how is this possible? Well, in 2017 I was invited by the Brazilian embassy to participate in the Gothenburg Book Fair, a very famous and influential international fair in Europe. I've been on panels and distributed the Black Silence comic to countless publishers and people in the business. It's not hard to imagine my work reaching out to them. I not only delivered the physical comic but also made the translated version available in English. I've cried a lot. My dream has always been to be recognized for my work nationally and internationally. And to see such a thing happen really breaks my heart. We know that in Brazil we have few opportunities to show our work and be recognized for it. I had the opportunity that many comic artists never had: to be able to show my work to an international audience. People. I gave lectures. Talked about the plot. I presented it to influential people in the area. The business is serious. Obviously, Black Silence is a short work, almost a short story. It is very easy, in 12 hours of projection of the series, to dilute all these "references", but the essence of what I created is there. Anyone who wants to can read my comic that is available for reading online to draw their own conclusions"

Separated At Birth: Netflix's 1899 and Mary Cagnin's Black Silence
1899 screencap/Netflix + Black Silence

German film producer Jantje Friese, who created 1899 for Netflix with Baran bo Odar posted to Instagram, before deleting their account, saying "Oh internet! I haven't posted anything in years because frankly I think social networks have become toxic. The past 24 hours have proven this again. For context: A Brasilian artist has claimed we stole from her graphic novel. To make it clear: We did not! Until yesterday, we weren't even aware of the existence of that graphic novel. Over two years, we have put in pain, sweat and exhaustion into the creation of 1899. This is an original idea and not based on any source material. Nevertheless, we've been bombarded with messages – some of them ugly and hurtful. Someone cries wolf and everyone jumps on it, not checking whether the claims make any sense. Of course, should this be a scheme to sell more of her graphic novels: Well played."

Separated At Birth: 1899 And Black Silence

Though the creator, Mary Cagnin, is selling copies, she is also giving away digital copies of Black Silence, including in English, So one is left free to make whichever comparisons one wishes. Those pyramids in the eyes are definitely there… but as ever, you dear reader, are the judge.

Separated At Birth: 1899 And Black Silence

Separated At Birth used to be called Swipe File, in which we present two or more images that resemble each other to some degree. They may be homages, parodies, ironic appropriations, coincidences, or works of the lightbox. We trust you, the reader, to make that judgment yourself. If you are unable to do so, we ask that you please return your eyes to their maker before any further damage is done. Separated At Borth doesn't judge; it is interested more in the process of creation, how work influences other work, how new work comes from old, and sometimes how the same ideas emerge simultaneously as if their time has just come. The Swipe File was named after the advertising industry habit where writers and artists collect images and lines they admire to inspire them in their work. It was swiped from the Comic Journal, who originally ran a similar column and the now-defunct Swipe Of The Week website, but Separated At Birth is considered a less antagonistic title.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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