Is Pixar’s "Inside Out" Merely A Plagiarized British Comic Strip?

Pixar’s latest multi-million dollar animated movie bears an uncanny resemblance to the long-running British comic strip “The Numskulls.”


Pixar’s blockbuster Inside Out has crossed the $500 million mark at the global box office, becoming this year’s most successful non-sequel, original movie. In fact, with a domestic total of $311.5 million, the heartwarming tale released by Disney is the third highest grossing Pixar film of all time.

The hit animated movie features tiny emotions inside our brains that work as a team to keep our body moving. The idea behind the movie was concise and quirky, something which people in the United States found to be incredibly original. However, it was a completely different situation for moviegoers in the United Kingdom, who felt like taking a trip down memory lane while watching the movie.

As it turns out, Inside Out bears a striking resemblance to the popular comic strip The Numskulls, published in The Beano comics for over five decades, making fans wonder how original the movie actually is.

Where Inside Out tells the story of five characters, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger, living inside the head of a troubled 11-year-old girl Riley, The Numskulls follows eerily similar characters named Blinky, Brainy, Radar, Cruncher and Snitch who live inside the head of a boy called Edd.

Many fans believe the latest Pixar movie is a rip-off – especially after the creators of the comic took a subtle shot at Inside Out in the new issue of The Beano:

The Numskulls

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The movie’s co-director and writer Ronnie Del Carmen claimed he “wasn’t familiar” with the Beano strip. Although lucky for Pixar, the comic creators aren’t crying foul.

“We had people from all over the world pointing out the similarities – which is very flattering but the Numskulls is a very British strip and we wanted to point out the differences,” explained Mike Stirling, the Beano's editor-in-chief. “For one thing, the British bottle up our emotions. Our Numskulls are like technicians so we have them wondering – how come those Inside Out characters are so much more famous than us? Is it the emotions? So what would happen if they uncorked the emotions…?”

So far, there has been no contact between Disney/Pixar and Beano’s owner D.C. Thomson (no relation to D.C. comic).

“I’d like to think that there was a symbiotic synthesis if that wasn’t an odd sentence coming from the editor of the Beano  as if we’d somehow subliminally influenced the idea in some way,” Stirling added. “We have between 8 and 12 frames to set up and deliver on a joke – I’d love the luxury of a two-hour movie to explore the Numskulls. So if Pixar are interested, the door is always open.”

However, despite the similar plots, it's unlikely that Inside Out has plagiarized The Numskulls in any major way, since the movie’s storyline is more philosophical and makes a statement about the importance of emotional intelligence. Meanwhile, the comic is focused on a group of entities working as a team to maintain a human body.

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