On Tuesday, Vanity Fair‘s Power & Politics blog posted a satire of The New Yorker‘s now legendary Barry Blitt cover of Barack and Michelle Obama as flag-burning, Osama bin Laden-honoring terrorists. In VF‘s version, drawn by illustrator Tim Bower, John and Cindy McCain are portrayed as their own worst caricatures: The presumptive Republican nominee for president is seen hunched over a walker, while his wife is juggling various prescription pills. On the wall is a painting of George W. Bush; in the fireplace, the Constitution.
But to several commenters—you know, those scourges of civilization—on VF.com, the cartoon was a little too similar to one by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer‘s David Horsey that ran a week earlier. In it, the McCain’s appear on the cover of The National Review, he’s drooling in a wheelchair (mumbling to himself, "Bomb, bomb, bomb—bomb, bomb Iran"), she’s pouring prescription pills into her hand. On the wall is a painting of Dick Cheney; in the fireplace, the Constitution.
As predictable accusations of plagiarism were hurled around the comment area, Media Mob contacted both artists. Mr. Bower said he hadn’t seen Mr. Horsey’s cartoon when he did his for Vanity Fair. He agreed with the assessment that both were the product of parallel-drawing.
Mr. Horsey responded to Media Mob at greater length: