Clark and Jack came over the other day to help me get some materials ready for my upcoming summer camp classes. After putting together umpteen many drawing packets, they sat down to draw comic strips for the Great South Bay Magazine. Unfortunately, we had all of a half hour before their parents were scheduled to pick them up. I figured this is as good a time as any to teach them the time honored technique of switching. It’s a method cartoonists have of being “inspired” by another cartoonist when the creative juices have run dry. You take someone’s gag and you don’t quite plagiarize it because you change it enough so that it becomes your own.
Some students are better at this than others. Younger kids tend to simply, well, plagiarize. Jack’s cartoon was far too close to the original Beetle Baily cartoon, so I added a nod to Mort Walker in the actual cartoon and left out the copyright. Clark, on the other hand, switched the gag brilliantly. Here are the two cartoons. You can judge for yourself by using Jack’s cartoon as the gag from which Clark took his idea.