Now, Nickelodeon Magazine was owned by Viacom, one of the largest TV corporations in the world. And so, before anyone at the magazine could even LOOK at any of my gag ideas, I HAD to sign a submission agreement. I knew however, that my editors Chris and Dave were good guys and that a TON of other cartoonists I respected and admired had worked for Nick Mag, so I wasn't worried about them stealing my ideas. The way I interpreted the wording of the submission agreement, was that they have so many people submitting ideas, they might receive the same idea from multiple people, so you can't sue them if your idea appears from another person. And that very thing happened to me more than once when I was drawing gags for Nickelodeon. I'm sure it happened all the time, because gag ideas are often so simple.
As an example, here is a gag that I submitted to Nickelodeon on July 5th, 2006:
Graham Annable posted this hilarious video on YouTube, which uses the exact same gag concept:
MY werewolf astronaut gag was "banked" (turned in to Nickelodeon, but saved for a later issue) so it did not see print until AFTER Graham's video hit the internet. At first, I was very self-conscious, that people would think I stole his idea, but eventually I realized that this kind of thing happens a lot.
As another example, here was a gag idea that I submitted to Nickelodeon a few months before the werewolf gag, in 2006:
I was pretty surprised when this gag was not approved, because it seemed like a surefire winner. It had a solid DOUBLE pun and a reference to Harry Potter which was at its all time highest popularity. But a month after I submitted this idea, there was a two page spread in an issue of Nick Mag where there were all kinds of characters doing strange things, and the reader was supposed to figure out which movies they were referencing. And there, in the corner, was a Hairy Potter!
Each issue of Nick Mag was prepared many months in advance, so there's no way they could have taken my idea, it's just that someone else thought of the same joke!