Did Medical Cartoons Have an Unhealthy Similarity?

By: E&P Staff

The New Yorker magazine’s current issue includes a cartoon somewhat similar to a cartoon done a couple of years ago by Jeff Darcy of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

Each cartoon features a doctor with pharmaceutical logos all over his clothing, a la a NASCAR driver.

The similarity was spotted by The Wall Street Journal’s “Health Blog,” which contacted Darcy. “While it’s not uncommon for cartoonists to come up with similar ideas, this example is getting a little too close for comfort,” said The Plain Dealer cartoonist, as quoted by blogger David Armstrong.

Paul Noth, who drew The New Yorker cartoon, responded that he had never seen the Darcy cartoon before “Health Blog” e-mailed it to him. Noth said his cartoon was a reaction to noticing promotional pharmaceutical items in his doctor?s office, but added that he wouldn’t have drawn it if he had known about The Plain Dealer cartoon.

“On two occasions in the past I’ve killed cartoons The New Yorker had accepted because in the months — and sometimes years — that can intervene between the acceptance of a cartoon and its appearance in the magazine I discovered that someone else had a similar joke,” Noth added.

One person commenting under Armstrong’s post wrote: “It takes an outsized ego to assume that you are the only cartoonist in the world who might independently come up with a clever — but not exactly groundbreaking — idea like this. Or to assume that the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a major player in the world of cartooning.”



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