Plagiarism or Synchronicity?

While researching my recent post about changing brand logos, I stumbled across this Jennie and Jack cartoon by W.E. Haskell, dated 1908:

It popped up because the characters had a distinct similarity to the Campbell Kids. Now I had never seen this cartoon before, but a loud bell immediately rang in my head. Have a look at the following Buster Brown strips from 1905 (click on the thumbnails for full-size versions:

Busy Little Buster Brown

 

Buster Brown Goes Shooting

 

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that doesn’t fly in the copyright world. The similarity here may be coincidence, but it looks like a lot was lifted, not only in terms of content but also “look and feel.” Just a random notice in passing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.