Still looking familiar …

When elGeo saw yesterday’s “Why does this look familiar?” thread, and also saw the current Pardon My Planet, he wanted to create a “Department of Self-Plagiarism” to hold all these. Because the PmP was a clear repeat with minor variation of a 2015 PmP he remembered well, and had liked at the time.

The one elGeo remembered, and sent in:

And yesterday’s:

Assuming we’re all familiar, at least in its outlines, with the O. Henry short story “The Gift of the Magi”, this post is still a CIDU — for questions like “Why change it from a watchband to a belt?”, not to mention “Does a re-purposing come off better than a simple rerun?”.

But wait, there’s more! You say the change of format from squared-off to landscape necessitated a belt longer than the watchband had been, to fill the frame? Well, no: the belt is not shown stretched out horizontally, it just has a downward segment. Further, the comic did not undergo a change of format; it apparently coexists in both on a regular basis. For the GoComics archive delivers this landscape version of the older instance:


  1. I think the relevant change isn’t “watchband” to “belt” — I think it’s “watch” to “pants.” It’s funnier to think of the guy wandering around without pants than without a watch. Certainly, it’s a watch in the original story, but I think the change does increase the humor.

  2. IanOsmond, I can agree w your point that changing from watch to pants may enhance the humor. But it destroys the irony from the story, which was at least partially maintained in the earlier comic. A watch can be the family heirloom, treasured by the guy, and needing a new chain (story) or watchband (cartoon v. 1) to be properly worn and displayed – as a pair of pants is unlikely to be.
    Also, with the watch gone, her gift of chain or watchband is rendered completely unusable. But the guy must have another pair of trousers he wears, and which could use a nice new belt.

  3. For the sake of O. Henry’s recursive sacrifice theme, are we to assume that the gerbils are intended to be food for the snakes?

  4. Dysfunctional, yes, I think that is essential to the reciprocal sacrifice ironic theme. They are in the slot of the beautiful combs in the story.

  5. I agree with ianosmond: it’s funnier to think of him wandering around pants..

    I imagine the irony of the original story is kept, because I imagine that he doesn’t have another pair of pants. Otherwise his response of “But I sold my pants. . . ” doesn’t make any sense.

  6. Chak, we do have several along that line — probably too many choices and that contributed to forgetting to mark this one. I’ll add one of them, like “rerun” …

  7. Rule of comedy: Pants (and implications of lack thereof) are funny.

    As are cumquats and words that start with K, and anything to do with underwear.

  8. Maybe he has a condition similar to Medusa’s, but in a location normally covered by pants, and therefore currently uncovered. In which case he can use the gerbils himself.

  9. “Do we need another tag? For reusing material?”

    I’ve got a few suggestions:

    CISB – Comics I’ve Seen Before

    CITS – Comics I’m Tired of Seeing

    COTD – Cartoonists On a Tight Deadline

    CNTA – Comics…oh, Not This Again!

    CCIIDDUU – Comic Comics I I Don’t Don’t Understand Understand

    The possibilities are endless!

  10. It’s also the same joke as on Futurama (“Xmas Story”, 1999).


    Zoidberg gives Amy a set of combs. But then we learn that Amy has sold her hair to a wigmaker to buy combs for Hermes, who has done the same to buy combs for Zoidberg — who, as it turns out, has bought the wig made from their hair.

  11. That was supposed to say that Stan’s were great.

    And the one I offered would only be good if the rehash was better than the original.

  12. The original O. Henry story had been explained to me by (yes him again) my dad, long before I could read, as showing the love each had for the other, they each gave up their only precious item to give a gift to the other. (Okay, hair not such a financially precious item, but obviously she had been letting it grow for a long time and it was precious to her – “A woman’s hair is her crowning glory.”

  13. Oh Meryl, certainly you’re right about it being a loving mutual sacrifice. I don’t think the talk of the inherent irony of the outcomes is meant to deny or undercut that.

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