1. The top comic is not the original comic. I haven’t yet found the original comic, but it’s been exploited as a meme template for several generations (considering the jpeg artifacts), and this is an example of it.

    This specific modification of the template is (after some Googling) a reference to the anime Full Metal Alchemist — specifically, a particularly gruesome and heart-wrenching plot twist, which explains the teacher’s reaction here.

  2. OK, I think I found the reference for the first one. There’s some manga thing called Fullmetal Alchemist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullmetal_Alchemist) in which a girl named Nina gets turned into a dog, and she has a brother named Edward, and at that point I stopped caring.

    Most of the references to the second are on Zazzle but when you follow the links, something else is there.

    http://www.tineye.com is your friend, as is images.google.com.

  3. Thanks! I tried Tin Eye on the little horse and got just about 35 results. It didn’t offer sorting by date, but picking out by eye I thought the earliest were from around fall of 2016. Many of the site names and file names had references to greeting cards or get-well cards, so perhaps that’s where the image started from. The medical setting would seem to fit a get-well card idea.

    Of course the joke/pun there doesn’t need any explanation. Thanks for clarifying the origins or intended reference of the top one; but needless to say, it still remains pretty far from being understood.

  4. Thanks, Usual John!

    The Instagram post by Captain Scratchy is dated August 10, 2021, and bears quotation here:

    I was delighted to learn that this oldie of mine recently accumulated 250,000 likes on a Facebook humor page. I was not so delighted to see that my name and artist's info was cropped off the bottom of the cartoon. More proof that being a cartoonist trying to succeed on social media is no laughing matter!
    Anyway, I'm posting my non-cropped version of the cartoon as pushback against the sloppy croppers.

    I will add tags for proper credit in this post’s tags, and will be working on embedding a non-cropped image.

  5. Further thanks to Usual John for these IDs on Hey Tater.

    WP tech aside: The reason these looked “lost in the aether” from your p.o.v was that they went into Spam, not just Pending (i.e. moderation). The commenter is notified when something goes into Pending, but not Spam. Also, the WP admin interface on the Comments panel is quite good at notifying moderators of comments waiting in Pending. But while it does show a count for comments currently held in Spam, of course it doesn’t put up a number saying “2 of these are mistakenly marked as spam” — if it knew that, it could have saved us all some trouble. So getting them published waited for a moderator to go into the spam list, look briefly at each submission, and click either Delete Permanently or Not Spam.

  6. Here is the Hey Tater tracked down by Usual John.

    This also makes more sense (for us uninitiated in Fullmetal Alchemist) as a cartoon than the one we started with.

  7. The top comic comes about because the cartoonist thinks his interests are universal interests and thus need no explanation or background. It’s an easy trap to fall into; I’ve done it a time or two myself.

  8. @beckoningchasm
    …Or it was originally posted in a place (like a Full Metal Alchemist fan group) where no further context was necessary, but it now sufferers from being removed from that context

  9. I heard the “I’m a little horse” joke more than 50 years ago, but I heard it as “I’m a little horse. I think I have a colt.”

  10. I am aware of the humandog thing because I sometimes see memes about that. But it didn’t occur to me that the first comic is a reference to that until I read the comments.

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