Sunday, June 14, 2015

Edits: "Eyeroll" + "Sloughwatch"

Not sure if any other animals have been consistently observed in nature playing with their food. At least in the manner of my cats, who like all felines great & small, have a tendency to first torture their prey upon capture. Something I never forget when they act all cute and cuddly: not fooling anyone, nope. And this particular panel, along with another I'll cover later on in the post below, are categorized as "Edits" not on account of any content, but instead because of a self-imposed distancing with other, similarly-themed works by other folks.
More below the fold...

Also I hesitated to run this panel (update: decided to relegate it to the compost heap) as a couple months after drawing it the theory of "multiple discovery" reared its little head (aka the hundredth cartoonist effect), which happens infrequently, but enough on social media that it becomes somewhat of a personal pet peeve. It's when an alternate variation on a theme which you came up with independently goes viral - or at least so within your own circle of friends - before yours is printed/uploaded. It happens on rare occasion, as it happened with this particular panel, which is now forever tainted/dead to me. And as it happened, yet another - and much better - take was posted by a cartoon compatriot in Alaska. Petty but still always a bit disheartening (aka "sensitive artist syndrome")... just means that next time you have to dig a little deeper while exhuming in the graveyard of ideas. Not like there's any shortage of 'em.

And just because it dovetail's quite nicely with this particular issue, here's another case-in-point, posted to further elucidate to students on the nature of hidden memory phenomenon - scientifically termed as "cryptomnesia." One of the feature gag cartoonists whose work I admire greatly, and spotlight in my comics course during the single-panel sessions, is Dave Coverly's "Speed Bump." This is one of the pieces that is in my slide-show which I've seen for so many years now I probably don't really pay much attention to them anymore:

This is perfect example of how one of the images I show to students during the related lecture became lodged in the brain, resurfacing many years later to manifest itself in a panel of my own, as seen below. In my opinion it's too close for comfort, like the "Eye Rolling" example above, and merited yanking from the pipeline. I think it's instructional to highlight these rare instances as it underscores the question if anything's truly original (I have been pecking away at another essay on that concept), and to what degree copyright inhibits along with ensuring protection of intellectual property. Now it's entirely a matter up for debate as to whether or not this example would constitute copying per say, and it probably doesn't quite rank as plagiarism, but it's Exhibit A in subconscious appropriation - or is it instead just inspiration? Either way it doesn't matter enough to stress over: just turn the page and simply draw another one, or a different take.


  1. Checked the Interwebs for Gadsden Flag satire before drawing 3 or 4 panels I thought would be funny. That pared the list down to one or two...maybe. I do image searches all the time before getting too jacked about an idea. Don't know if it's a god thing or a bad thing, but since a lot of my joke ideas tend to be pretty obvious, I save myself a lot of trouble and disappointment by finding out at the outset that others have done it sooner and better.

    1. The sole redeeming factor in "someone else has already done it" is at least the fact that nobody's ever drawn YOURS: since you drew it it's original to you (subject to the same personal comfort level on the aesthetic/moral continuum from blissful ignorance to "ideas aren't copywritable" to the extreme of outright plagiarism).
      Standup comedy is another analogous industry where it is frowned upon to lift material, even if one's delivery or routine is better. What with the current climate of massive lawsuits over simple beats & rhythms between dueling corporate vs legacy music rights it's inevitable other creative mediums will follow suit in such territorial pissings.

  2. Your stuff is always more creative than that.

  3. Thanks... appreciate it. Now back to drawing a cartoon about a polar bear lost in a snowstorm, which I'm utterly convinced is a uniquely original concept.