Deja Vu in the Funnies

Posted by on April 9th, 2010 at 10:59 AM

The other day (it was March 4, as it happens) I noticed that the shoe house of the storied Old Woman was featured in two comic strips.

Two comic strips using the same prop on the same day. No chance there was any plagiarism involved: cartoonists work far enough in advance of publication dates and on deadline schedules just different enough that it would be physically impossible for one to “copy” another. It would also be mentally impossible. Unless the two cartoonists share a studio. But in this case, not likely. Chad Carpenter is in Alaska, and Dana Summers is in Florida. You can’t get further apart and still be in one of the United States. Besides, no self-respecting comic strip cartoonist copies from another. (Unless he’s Berkeley Breathed and a lot younger than he is now.)

So today’s sermon is not about copying: it’s about oddity. Strange albeit amusing coincidences.

It happens all the time. I know it happens all the time because I’m always looking for it to happen again. I collect these “duplications.” Keeps me off the street. Here’s another just a couple days old (click to enlarge):

In this set, the coincidence is even odder because it incorporates so many elements—Wizard of Oz, Auntie Em, ATM. What are the chances that all three of those ingredients would be cooked up on the same day in two different places? Not good.

Here are two more that showed up on the same Sunday a year or so ago.

Just snail jokes. Only one common element. But here, last fall, we have two Sunday strips exploring roughly the same territory—and at great length—and in this instance, the two strips appeared in my neighborhood newspaper one on top of the other, just as depicted here. What are the chances of that happening? Not good.  (Click to enlarge.)

My favorite instance in this genre, however, was Jef Mallett’s Frazz in December.

I always read Frazz; never miss it if I can help it. So when I saw this strip on the page, I thought: Wait a minute—they’ve made a mistake—this strip, exactly these drawings, appeared yesterday, and now they’ve mistakenly run it again. What dopes. Then I read the speech balloons.

Ingenious that Mallett guy.

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One Response to “Deja Vu in the Funnies”

  1. Jared Gardner says:

    My kids have the ATM/Auntie Em one on a t-shirt that they have had long enough to grow very tired of the joke–