The act of creation doesn’t occur in a vacuum and is, in fact, nearly always predicated on what came before. It’s a badly kept secret that artists use the work of others as raw material in the creation of new works. The story of comics in the 20th is also a story of swiping, known as “appropriation” in contemporary art, and “sampling” in music.
While the practice of using the works of others as a starting point has legal and ethical dimensions that should be acknowledged, these boundaries are also tied to capitalism , therefore inviting additional review. However, since this essay is a guide for using digital tools to make cool crap – and NOT a graduate class on Cultural Marxism – you should explore the eye-opening issues surrounding Capitalism and draconian American copyright law on your own. You can start that particular journey down a rabbit hole by looking up what is known as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act of 1976.” It’s also worth looking at Creative Commons, an alternate copyright scheme.