Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

June 11, 2004

Andy Capp Meets Kudzu

First the New York Times sullied its reputation by engaging in plagiarism, then the Boston Globe tarnishes its own by printing fake Iraqi torture photos.

But at least the comics page is free from controversy, right? We can always trust the cartoonists to deliver up fresh new material to us every day.

Right? Right?

Of course not.

Take a look at this Andy Capp strip, first published around 1970 by the British cartoonist Reg Smythe. I found it in a 1971 edition of Andy Capp, The One And Only.

Copyright Reg Smythe

Now look at today's Kudzu, by NC's own Doug Marlette, known far and wide for his excellent take on What Would Mohammed Drive?

Copyright Doug Marlette and Tribune Media Services

Obviously, the joke's the same. I don't think Marlette conciously ripped off Smythe, though I suppose it's possible he'd seen the strip above at some time. He is a cartoonist--presumably they a familiar with other works in the field, and Smythe's strip did enjoy a fairly long period of popularity in the 60s and 70s.

No idea whether a case could be made on whether or not Marlette owes royalties to the Smythe estate for using the same joke, though I doubt it. Cartoonists use slightly altered versions of the same joke all the time. It's also possible that the strip was meant as a Smythe tribute of some sort--the 8th anniversary of Reg's death is only two days away.

Andy Capp paperbacks were among the first books I ever read. Obviously, they made an impression on me. There's little I enjoy more than hoisting a pint, though the rugby, darts and wife-beating failed to make similar impressions.

Frankly, I think the whole thing says a lot more about me than it does Marlette. What kind of pitiful geek not only recognizes the re-use of a 30-plus year old comic strip trope, but recalls the original strip it appeared in, and on top of that spends the next couple of hours pawing through 26 Andy Capp paperbacks in search of it?

The same kind as one who's worried by the lack of readily available Andy Capp paperback covers on the Internet, and is seriously considering scanning them in at twenty of one in the morning, apparently.*

If you know, leave a note for the wife. She can't understand why a man who doesn't know where his car keys are from day to day can recall in detail a comic strip he last read over 25 years ago.

* I'll update if I decide to do that. ( I did. ) I'll also write Marlette and ask him about the similarities. Hopefully I won't get the same response Little Tiny Lies did when he asked Randy Bish a similar question.

Postscript: Jay of Wizbang thinks both artists are drawing from an even older source--Lincoln. I think he's right. Though there are wide variations on what was actually said, and I can find none that actually specify a date for the quote, many sources attribute a similar story to the 16th president. Here's one that at least appears to be accurate.

Stephen Douglas called Lincoln "two-faced." Lincoln responded: "I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?"

Posted by Bigwig at June 11, 2004 12:46 AM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

I first heard the joke as an Abraham Lincoln story. A woman accused him of being two-faced. Abe allegedly responded, "Madam, if I had two faces, do you think I'd chose to wear this one?"

I think that if it's a Lincoln joke, it's fallen into public domain by now and fair game for anyone to use. Nice catch, though.


Posted by: Jay Tea at June 11, 2004 05:42 AM

I hear Lincoln got it from Janus

Posted by: Stephen at June 11, 2004 06:01 PM

Thanks for the acknowledgement, Bigwig.

Before Kevin lost most of his judgment and did me the honor of making me a guest poster over at Wizbang!, I'd thought about applying for membership in the Warren. I'd even picked out my name. ("Cowslip" seemed to fit me well, but honesty compels me to admit I'm more of a "Silverweed" type.)


Posted by: Jay Tea at June 11, 2004 09:58 PM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?