There is a story that’s been percolating in the small world of Editorial Cartooning over a Harvard Crimson cartoonist accused of plagiarism. Numerous cartoons of hers seem to be copied directly from comics posted on Cagle.com. This Crimson article links to the cartoons in question. Daryl Cagle has written that he doesn’t think it’s plagiarism, just another cartoonist coming up with lame ideas:
Regular readers of our site know about Yahtzees, a term I coined to refer to times when five or more cartoonists draw the same gag at the same time. The Kim Yahtzee isn’t drawn at the same time, it trickles in over the years as cartoonists independently get the same, banal, trite idea. Editors are as much to blame for this phenomenon, because they all want the same thing from cartoonists: Jay Leno style funny jokes about the news that convey no opinion at all. Newsweek magazine is an ugly culprit, reprinting opinionless gag cartoons, week after week. Editors suffer from group-think, all wanting the same thing from cartoonists, who should all fit into the same little box. Time Magazine does it too, and with all of the hundreds of cartoons to choose from every week, they often print the very same cartoons in their cartoon round-up that Newsweek does.
True, but I’m not so quick to dismiss her comics as merely lame instead of plagiarized. Some of the similarities are hard to explain away. But Cagle issued a challenge:
I can take any reputable cartoonist and find cartoons that are similar to his cartoons, drawn earlier by other cartoonists, that make as good a plagiarism argument as the case being made against this poor student cartoonist.
Am I reputable? I don’t know, but I’m listed on Cagle’s site.