Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Mascot spurs cartoonist outcry: Moscow News reports that 40 of Russia's top cartoonists have signed an open letter to Russia's Olympic Committee demanding an apology be made to artist Leonid Shvartsman, whose Cheburashka cartoon character is being used as the Olympic team's mascot.

Although writer Eduard Uspensky, who holds the copyright to Cheburashka, gave the committee permission to use the character, the cartoonists believe he insulted Shvartsman -- and all Russian cartoonists -- by not first consulting with the artist. Early versions of Cheburashka bear little resemblance to Shvartsman's rendition, which is known to millions of people in Russia and has gathered a cult following in Japan. As for Shvartsman, he only wants to be recognized as the author of the image, and doesn't want any payment for its use by the Olympic team.