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Utah editorial cartoonist resigns after plagiarism claims

Park Record editorial cartoonist John Kilbourn was asked to resign after a Mad Magazine collector faxed a Mort Druker cartoon to a local NPR station reporter and the Park Record publishers pointing out similarities between it and a recent Kilbourn cartoon. Kilbourn admits to basing his cartoon off of the Druker cartoon, but claims he had made enough changes to warrant a re-running of the cartoon with a different caption.

From his editor:

“I was crushed,” said Noaker adding “Kilbourn had a talent for pinching our sacred cows and making us uncomfortable in a very healthy way. I will miss his work tremendously but I think John understood that whether it pertains to the written word or artwork, we have to maintain strict standards for originality.”

From his publisher:

“I am heartbroken over this situation. John has been doing cartoons for many, many years and had the unique ability to satirically and artistically capture the essence of any event in our community and it is with dumbfounded sadness that I have accepted his resignation,” added Bernhard.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
November/29/2007
@ 9:55 am

Lot of plagiarism today, huh?

I wonder if this will be all over the cartooning circles, like when David Simpson plagiarized Bob Englehart couple years back

(Simpson, BTW, is still drawing. He was hired some time back by Urban Tulsa Weekly, which is an alt-weekly)

#2 JBoy
November/29/2007
@ 1:48 pm

Is there anywhere one can see the Drucker original and Kilbourne’s purported ripoff?

Simpson was shameless; I’m wondering if this case is similarly so.

#3 Bill Jones
November/29/2007
@ 5:59 pm

i am curious if anyone is aware of any plagarism accusations against editorial cartoonist o’mahoney at the quincy, mass. patriot ledger. i have forgotten his first name and i can’t find it online.

i ask because i sent to the patriot ledger on 3 or 4 occasions in 2004 and 2005, blatant examples of o’mahoney cartoons that were near duplicates of recently published national cartoons by jim borgman at the cincinnati enquirer and matt davies at the journal news. i never got a return email or heard of any action coming out of it.

let me say i don’t throw around a word like plagiarism lightly. i know multiple cartoonists come up with the same idea independently all the time and i have seen many a “yahtzee” on daryl cagle’s cartoon site. these cartoons were blatant copies with lots of little flourishes of the original artist thrown in. they were as close to duplicates as the david simpson/bob englehart cartoons that JBoy refers to.

as time went by i was amazed to see that nothing happened but i finally quit keeping tabs on the patriot ledger site. reading this article made me wonder if this copying had ever been exposed.

#4 Bill Jones
November/30/2007
@ 2:39 pm

i realize now this may not be the proper forum for my comment above. and after having belatedly clicked the rules link, i see i may have even violated the site’s second law. if the editor wanted to delete the comment, i would certainly understand.

#5 Annie Messick
March/2/2008
@ 12:54 pm

Wow that’s pretty sweet. And sad. :)

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