Oops I did it again

25 Jan

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No, I’m not trying to do a take on that awful Britney Spears song.  But I did, well, do it again.

What was it?

Well, years and years of cartooning will amount to a mass collection of thoughts, ideas, sketches, etc.  Normally though, even with the thousands and thousands of piles worth of content, I can sort out in my brain what I’ve done.  Typically, I can recall if a certain idea or comic was done before by myself.  And that’s a good thing!  It keeps me coming up with fresh (hopefully fresh) ideas regularly.

However, sometimes something will slip through the cracks.

The other day I was sketching out ideas.  I came up with some goodies.

One of them featured a couple of bears.  I thought it would be funny to see a bunch of torn pillows, stuffing and everything around the male bear and have the female saying, “You were mauling in your sleep again.”

Good?  Do you like?

Okay, well whether you think it’s funny or not, I did.

So, after an idea of mine gets approved by myself, I take it onto the drawing board and sketch the sucker out.  Then ink it it.

Here are the results of that particular comic:

Mauling in Sleep againAbove:  My comic on my dirty drawing table.

After inking, I then scan and color in Photoshop.


It hit me after completing this.  Some thoughts arrived.  Some like, didn’t I use this premise already?

I kept thinking and thinking.  I KNEW I saw this before.  And then I started thinking maybe it was someone else who came up with it or something.  Paranoia hit.  Yikes!

So, I started to dig through some of my old stuff (comics).  The chances of me finding what I was looking for was like searching for a needle in a haystack.  (Sorry for the unoriginal take on what it was like.)

But, lo and behold.  I was right.  I ran across something.

And here it is:


The above cartoon of mine I did a few years ago.  SO I WAS RIGHT!  I DID use this same premise/idea before!

Ugh.  So you know what that means….

I scrap my newly completed comic with the bears.  Sorry, bears.

But, that’s cartooning in a nutshell.  You win some and you lose some.

I’m glad I caught my, um, mistake though.  I don’t like putting out content that has been done before….Especially from me!

There you go.  It’s bound to happen again.  Luckily though, my editor caught this one before it left the gate and went out in public to join the others.



15 Responses to “Oops I did it again”

  1. idiotprufs January 25, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    I think the one with the bears is actually a little funnier. It has something to do with the expressions on their faces.

    • w101njf January 25, 2014 at 7:21 am #

      I actually really like the bears better myself. I was excited to use them, and then when I remembered (or found) the elephant toon, well, I had to send the bears to hibernation.

  2. Michael Shaw January 26, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    Just tweak the bear gagline so it’s different than the elephant. “Wake up Harold, you were sleep- mauling.” And if the elephant cartoon wan’t published somewhere, why worry? After all, Virgil Partch used “I hate Mondays!” continually to his continuing success.

    • w101njf January 26, 2014 at 7:48 am #

      You might be on to something there! I’ll have to mull (not ‘maul) it over.

  3. Larry Miller III January 27, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    This is how a series or “running” gag begins. Yes, they are similar in idea and punch line, but both work on their own. See if you can create several versions of the same gag and use them only once in a great while. See if any readers catch on and if they do respond with a congratulatory letter explaining the background.
    Use this as an opportunity.

    • w101njf January 27, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      After the feedback, I might do that. My wife loves the bears version even better, so I might give it a shot. It’s something I’ve always avoided, but I’m all for testing the waters. So maybe I’ll launch it and check out the results. Could be fun!

      • bubujin_2 January 27, 2014 at 8:24 am #

        Nate, read this post earlier but came back to it. As a syndicated cartoonist, I realize you have a fairly wide audience–between papers and the internet–who are visiting your stage at roughly the same time. But how is what you do any different from a stand-up comedian telling the same joke over time at different venues or recycling somebody else’s joke, perhaps with a slight tweak to modernize it or make it more topical?

        So an elephant did something in its sleep and a bear did something in its sleep, but each performed a different action. I think the subjects and the twist are sufficiently different that one can’t really accuse you of repetition, And I do like the suggestion Larry provided about coming up with variations that you can trot out periodically.

  4. w101njf January 27, 2014 at 8:34 am #


    That analogy is a good one (stand-up comedian/cartoonist). It’s funny though – I’ve seen cartoonist get called out SO many times for material – but you’re right – a comedian uses the same stuff every night. And they don’t get called out for it (at least as far as I know).

    I’ve always compared my work ethic of that as an actor in terms of what I do. Actors take different roles and I do the same. I’ll work on a book with a premise that I could care less about, but think it’ll sale. Or, I might do an ad for a company that has a style I’m not use to. Different roles. At any rate though, in those roles, I try to keep them fresh and new. So, with Break of Day (my syndicated work) having similar topics that I’ve done before I try to avoid. BUT, after reading the comments and more, I’m starting to think there is a bigger separation of the two cartoons than I initially thought before writing this.

    I think I might have it go out after all and see what happens….

  5. Anna Inspain January 27, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    True fans love a catchphrase or a running gag, and every time it reappears they chuckle again. If you’ve never seen the very first Muppet Movie, do so. You’ll see what I mean.

    • w101njf January 27, 2014 at 8:42 am #

      Muppets…I used to love that movie! Haven’t seen the first one in awhile, so I’ll have to check it out again. And yes, I think running gags are okay. I’m always curious to the percentage of the audience though that likes them. But, you’re right, I’m guessing true fans would enjoy (and that’s what I’m after).

      • bubujin_2 January 27, 2014 at 8:52 am #

        There are plenty of strips out there that have running gags. And going back to comedians as an example, the more famous ones often became famous simply on a repeated gag line.

        As long as the cartoon gag isn’t repeated ad nauseum or so regularly as to become stale, there’s nothing wrong with visiting a familiar theme every so often.

  6. Bearman Cartoons January 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    I have done that but it was only a month apart. I ran with both of them anyway.

    • w101njf January 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      I guess if you can do that, then I should run with this one.


  1. Oops….I Did It Again | naterambling.com - February 26, 2014

    […] comic after posting this last month.  Many of you commented (on the original source of the blog HERE) and I decided to run with […]

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