28 Comments

  1. I think there might be a comic variation of peer pressure going around (or perhaps “peer osmosis” might be a better term). Both in the current case of “Sisyphus”, and earlier in the year with “Death”, none of the respective comics were direct copies of an earlier version, but once the topic was out in the open, other cartoonists seem to have been inspired to try a variation on the same theme, resulting in a persistent trickle of new appearances.

  2. A habitual pun
    is ever much fun
    But Prometheus would say
    A sister a day
    Eats his liver away

  3. It’s a stretch, but … I think lately I’ve been seeing more casual references to Camus, and not so much to “The Outsider” [or “The Stranger”] as much as “The Plague”. (Along with scads of other plague literature.)
    And then it would be just another step to “The Myth of Sisyphus”, no?

  4. Kilby could be right. I prefer the theory that this is a huge conspiracy and they’re doing it just to mess with you.

  5. @ B.A. – Perhaps the osmosis is occurring primarily through the medium of CIDU. These cartoonists see that Bill has been posting cartoons about certain topics, and draw more of them just for the glory of getting a comic onto CIDU. Sure, there are easier ways to achieve fame, but hardly any with such lasting value.

  6. The worst-ever “nun-pun”: some years back, somebody wrote a SF novel about a project to clone JFK. The child, named Joshua, was given an identical upbringing to JFK’s. in an attempt to create a man identical in every aspect.

    (Yes, this was all as ridiculous as it sounds; possibly even more so)

    The name of the book: Joshua, Son of None.

    (The author assuming that readers will be familiar enough with the Book of Exodus to recognize a reference to “Joshua, Son of Nun”)

  7. Baldrick: My father was a nun…!
    Blackadder: No, he wasn’t.
    Baldrick: Every time when he was called before the magistrate, and asked to state his occupation, he said, “Nun!”

  8. I had to go look up that book Bill mentioned. Nancy Freedman, published in 1973. That’s three years before The Boys from Brazil. Ira Levin may not have been as inventive as a lot of reviewers thought he was.

  9. @ Ignatz – The caption contest for #720 hasn’t been decided yet, but there are three caption to choose from:

    1 – Do you struggle endlessly through here often?

    2 – Sorry, I said hold the rocks.

    3 – You think that’s punishment? Try an eternity of listening to pickup lines.

  10. I actually entered this contest…twice…but they didn’t make the cut. Of course, mine were better.

    a) What’s an allegory like you doing in a place like this?

    b) You’re uncomfortable? Try a push-up bra.

  11. P.S. I agree with Stan. I didn’t think any of the captions that “The New Yorker” selected as finalists were that good. Like Stan, I’m sure that lots of CIDU readers will be able to do better.

  12. CIDU Bill: ” The child, named Joshua, was given an identical upbringing to JFK’s. in an attempt to create a man identical in every aspect.”

    I’ve never read that 1973 book (JOSHUA, SON OF NONE) but the premise wasn’t new then either, since Theodore Sturgeon used it in his novella “When You Care, When You Love” (September 1962 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION). It was meant to be the first of a three-part story sequence, the other two following the actual procedures of the upbringing (as postulated and foreshadowed in the first), but Sturgeon never got around to writing the sequels. In this story, it’s a rich woman seeking in that way to create a man identical to her dead lover.

  13. Shrug, I wouldn’t be surprised if the concept were well older than 1962.

    And when I read Joshua in 1973, I didn’t have any sense this was even meant to be a new concept.

  14. “I didn’t think any of the captions that “The New Yorker” selected as finalists were that good. Like Stan, I’m sure that lots of CIDU readers will be able to do better.”

    Not hypothetical, of course: a few times when I’ve posted comics that were missing captions, and the caption finally turned up, you guys had already come up with captions that were at least as good as the originals.

  15. The Fantastic Four fought a Hitler clone in 1963. No idea whether there was enough lead time for the writers to have been influenced by the Sturgeon story.

  16. CIDU Bill: If you mean The Hatemaster, I thought it was hinted that he wasn’t a Hitler clone but one of the doubles Hitler had employed to pass as him in dangerous situations. But it’s been fifty-seven years or so since I read that story, so I may have forgotten a detail or two. . . (But you’re right that attempts to effectively clone a human adult go back beyond any of those stories; I think the intended method of doing so by carefully and artificially duplicating every possible trivial aspect of his/her upbringing may have been a new twist however. The usual default method previously was some sort of instantious duplicating machine, as in Budry’s ROGUE MOON or William Temple’s FOUR-SIDED TRIANGLE.

  17. @ “duplication” – There’s also the method used in Heinlein’s “Double Star“: they simply hired an actor to play the part.

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