The above cartoon marks the moment the proverbial earthquake rocked my afternoon yesterday and stopped time altogether.
My challenge was to come up with something on the tragic events unfolding in eastern Ukraine following the horrific Malaysia Air jet plane crash, allegedly brought down by a missile launched in the war torn region. There are many angles to comment on the story, and my pen was pointed towards the main actor in the area where the world’s fingers were also pointing at in growing numbers. Vladimir Putin’s well known skills at outdoor sport and hunting was a natural visual to begin with followed by something distasteful to comment on in the end result. I thought the idea was weird enough that no one had yet depicted it.
Throughout my day while drawing cartoons I often check in on the world through my eye on Facebook, Twitter, and various news websites to get up to speed with the half hour by half hour events. By 3pm yesterday afternoon as I was just starting to add colour to my scanned ink drawing the first image to pop up on my Facebook feed was this dazzling cartoon by the British cartoonist Peter Brookes. The exact same story, although much better executed by Mr. Brookes with the array of trophy heads, and to top it off it looks like he drew it last Friday for the Saturday paper:
The options I had before me given the situation was to: a) try to forget I saw it, and continue on; or b) Stop and come up with another plan. I chose b, and avoided the humiliation. I ended up drawing this and getting the subject off my back and thereby satisfying me enough to move on to other global catastrophes.
Incidentally, the cartoon I was working on for my Saturday paper was one on the news of numerous RCMP charges against Mike Duffy. Coupled with that, was another story suggesting sharks were spotted in Lake Ontario, which were later revealed to be pranks by an attention seeking PR promotion:
The Globe & Mail’s David Parkins went for a similar gag, obviously seeing the same resemblance I’ve seen in Mike Duffy between the shape of his head and that of a beluga whale:
Both of us would’ve been working on the same cartoon the previous Friday. It all goes to show that the same ideas do enter the minds of different cartoonists at the same time. Too often we cartoonists are quick to scream “copy cat” when we think our ideas are being ripped off. Sure, it happens, but most of the time it’s just our weird brains working in tandem. The trick to avoiding it from happening at all is to strive to do weirder stuff.