I am not familiar enough with the author's work to see and appreciate to what extent this copying happens, so I appreciate the one side-by-side comparison:
With something like syndicated comic strips, the artist is under a lot of demands: the person usually needs to produce daily releases, the material needs to be "clean," and the artist doesn't usually have the luxury of utilizing story continuity. It's a very difficult standard, and it's one that is probably unfair and takes away a lot of quality potential material. It is hard to keep good ideas coming within that narrow framework.
Still, copying a previous work like that is a bit too cheap. It comes off as if the artist is saying they can't meet the requirements without relying on filler. Now, if the artist had gone back and developed or elaborated on the original premise, or if the author had taken it somewhere else, then that would have the potential to be interesting. The thing one has to do is try something, because even if it turns out bad, you can give yourself new possibilities to think about.
Open a newspaper, read news on the Internet, surf TV channels, open a science journal, do something that can stir some kind of reaction in you that you can share in your art.