As regular readers know, I don't generally explain my comics. But I'm going to make two exceptions. I think they deserve it.

My comic on 4-21-09 featured an Elbonian pig that no longer needed to play fetch because of the economic downturn. Huh? That doesn't even make sense, does it?

The intended but failed joke was that in Elbonia their pets are pigs. Thus the pig was practicing his fetching. You see, fetching doesn't come naturally to pigs. They need to practice on their own. But that's not the joke. The joke was that in good times the pig is a pet and in bad times he's dinner.

This wasn't my best work, according to the comments online, and I am forced to agree. Some readers were confused. Others imagined a cleverer joke than I actually wrote, based on a strip years earlier where the pig was minister of finance for Elbonia. That theory held that his bad job performance was catching up with him.

My second failed strip of late involved Dogbert trying out the flash feature on the company's new cell phone. This one didn't work but it's only half my fault this time.

The problem this time is that the outside service that adds color to daily strips (mine and others) decided the dead guy should be Dilbert, and they colored his necktie to conform to that theory. The dead guy is supposed to be Ted. I never color anyone's tie with Dilbert's distinctive style for exactly this reason. (I only color the Sunday strips myself.) Correct coloring wouldn't have been enough to save this comic, but it didn't help either.

You might wonder why I go through patches where Dilbert comics mostly suck for a few weeks, such as this one, and patches where I seem to be on top of my game. Some of it is probably just a matter of diet, exercise and sleep. But the bigger part is that I try different ways to go at the comics for a few weeks at a time. Notice that both of the comics that failed are missing an action scene that is implied. In the pig strip you don't see the future dinner preparations, and in the camera flash scene you don't see the flash itself happening. In both cases someone expires, and in both cases the topic is more fantastical than the usual office happenings.

The comics I am drawing now, that will run in late June, are back to standard office material. If I did too much of either the fantastic or the mundane it would cause a sort of snow blindness for the material. And I've found that the best way to draw young males into reading the strip is to kill some characters now and then. So while the quality of the strip has been down for the past few weeks, young readership probably went up.

I might be crazy, but I'm crazy like a pig.

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Apr 27, 2009
Mmmmmmm...... Bacon!

Sorry..... was there something about a joke here somewhere?

(Bacon is, after all, no joking matter!)
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2009
[Correct coloring wouldn't have been enough to save this comic, but it didn't help either.]
I think it would have been enough, actually.

And the pig joke (as well as pig's expression) was hilarious. A fork and a knife in hands of the Elbonian would have 'saved' it.

I wouldn't agree that comics failed due to 'missing action scene'. We didn't need to see PHB actually flying after Carol ordered his flight tickets through unproper route. At least personally, I get some additional tickling when imagining the scene implied instead of looking at it illustrated.
Apr 27, 2009
Yeah I thought the joke was the pig was costing money by fetching so they had to cut back on pig fetching.
I laughed, in hindisght the joke was on me because it wasn't actually funny.

But I got the flash, the flash was so bright it flashed his skull off, and Dogbert actually referring to the CEO as Ted kind of gave it away that it wasn't Dilbert.
Apr 27, 2009
I thought both were hilarious. The tie thing confused me for a second, but Dogbert calls the guy Ted in the strip, so you'd have to be pretty stupid to not get it. The pig strip was awesome, I don't see why people didn't get it. The "practicing fetching" was hilarious, and I thought the implied eating of the pig was obvious. I had no idea that there were In-duh-viduals among your readers.
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Apr 27, 2009
I got the pig joke easily. I hope Dilbert has fans in farm country where people say things like "We were so poor we couldn't afford a dog so we had to teach the pig to fetch. Then we got poorer and had to eat the dog".
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Apr 27, 2009
The pig one blew right past me - I was reading the funnies quickly, so anything remotely deep didn't stick that day.

The flash one, I was skimming again, and I didn't remember Dogbert was CEO (the chair looks just like the PHB's), and wondered when Ted the generic guy got promoted.

Today's (4/27) I got... although I personally think you should have let Dilbert have a flat necktie, to carry the joke a bit further.
Apr 27, 2009
Maybe because I haven't seen this pig character before, I thought it was obvious. There have been many Chinese comic strips like that in the 80s but with dogs. (Many drawn by Taiwanese who doesn't like Mainland Chinese.)
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2009
I think you're selling your fans short.
The pig comic was great--just enough to make us think, but not enough to induce a concussion.
The flash phone was perfectly understandable, just not one of your funniest ones.
A punch line about X-rays might have been funnier, maybe something about not getting any time off to heal the broken nose. Or maybe " Perhaps I should have left the setting at 'stun'."

Or not.
Hey, I don't get paid to do this.
Apr 27, 2009
I have to say, I got/liked the pig as pet/dinner with that pause of startlement that makes things extra funny.

I had a lot of trouble with the killer flash. Even with Scott saying the victim is supposed to be Ted (and not Dilbert of the tie, or the referred to CEO), I still don't think it's funny.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2009
The pig one was not that bad. I got it, at least, although I thought his asking if he should ask was redundant. Maybe if the Elbonian was holding a knife and fork it would be more obvious, but given the sophistication of we Dilbert readers ...

As for the second one, I missed the tie because it didn't make sense that the manager would want to have his picture taken with the dead guy, even IF they could keep him standing up. His facial expression shows that he thinks that something went wrong.
Apr 27, 2009
I got them both. In fact, I had an immediate "Ah, poor piggy...." moment with the first one.

Here is what I don't get: I don't understand why my three sons love Dilbert. Maybe life under parental dictatorship is closer to office grunthood than I think (or want to think).

They are teenagers now - but they were devoted fans from about age 8 on up. Go figure.
Apr 27, 2009


I thought we'd finally figured out the PHB's name ... Ted.
Apr 27, 2009
I got the pig joke right away, and thought it was pretty good. I guess the tie threw me off, because for a minute I didn't get the one with "Ted". Ted is also the name of a random employee, so equating him with the CEO also was reason for confusion. But anyway, after a minute I got it as well, though it was only marginally funny.
Apr 27, 2009
I got both those strips and thought both were funny. I would really like to have that flash on my camera phone. It would bring the phrase "Don't tase me, bro" into a whole new LIGHT :)

Maybe some induhviduals need to practice with their brains more often.
Apr 27, 2009
I generally like ANY comic with Elbonia in it. Probably unintended, this country is an exquisite mixture between Afghanistan and North Korea. It is so lovely politically incorrect and looking down on our brothers in the fourth world. Did no one accuse Scott of racism for it? I mean, with their beards, the Elbonians can be interpreted to be Muslims.
Apr 27, 2009
I thought the fetching pig one was funny; I assumed that the joke was that Elbonia is so poor, even sticks to play "fetch" were a luxury expense. So that one worked well for me. I didn't realize I was a better cartoonist than you. :)
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Apr 27, 2009
I'll admit I didn't get the pig one at all. I tried to rationalize it this way (and my rationalization wasn't particularly funny either).

1)- In Elbonia sticks are a valuable commodity for hut building.
2)- Elbonia is knee deep in mud.
3)- Pigs like mud
4)- A pig that retrieves sitcks from the mud would be a luxury item in Elbonia
5)- In a severe recession, luxury items are often foregone, hence no more stick retrieving pigs

See, still not funny and I had to spend five valuable minutes coming up with that!

-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2009
Could you use a series of flashes to cook the pig?
Apr 27, 2009
I thought they couldn't afford the stick.
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Apr 27, 2009
Got the pig one right away, had to reread the second one. My confusion was that I thought 'flash' referred to the Adobe product. My hair is getting more pointy every day...
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