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
I got them both right off. Sometimes it's nice to have a joke that sneaks it's way in a little, not everything has to be as obvious as the Three Stooges, for example (no offense to Larry, Curly and Moe or their respective fans).
Apr 27, 2009
First one I got instantly.

The next one, I pondered for a while and I decided Dogbert was deliberately calling Dilbert Ted - not bothering to remember his right name.
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Apr 27, 2009
I loved the Elbonian pig strip. I enjoy when the comic is a bit non-sequitur and I don't think that a strip always has to make sense or have a clear punch line. I also have been enjoying seeing Dilbert have a little more romantic success in recent success. I particularly liked today's comic and the connection to Scott's reality blogs. I do look forward to the possible negative turn things could take as well, but if it never materializes that's okay too.
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Apr 27, 2009
I liked the pig one.
I spent quite a bit of time on the flash one. I compared the ties; went to the previous post; thought about different permutations and then finally gave up. I thought I hadn't gotten it. Thanks Scott, you did a great job explaining this. Very interesting.
Apr 27, 2009
I got the pig one immediately...

the 2nd one I took as Dogbert just being sadistic w/Dilbert & wanting to play w/his new "toy" some more and see what a 2nd exposure would do to DIlbert & Ted (whom I assumed was who got torched in the lab) - still equally funny if misinterpreted...

you should do some Dilbert twitters or facebooks - gotta be some material there...
Apr 27, 2009
I got the second one, just from the fact that Dogbert said "Ted". It must have been red and black tie day at the office.

The first comic with the pig did confuse me a little, I have a few ideas running through my head, but I couldn't figure out which one you had intended. Thanks for clearing that up. Oh, and the Elbonian pig joke ran on the 21st of April, not the 29th. If you want to give us a sneak preview of what is coming up on the 29th, please feel free.
Apr 27, 2009
To be honest I thought the pig DID work - I liked the subtle menace...

By the way I teach management theory (yes I know...) and I often link to your site or make one of your blog posts required reading for my students.

Hope you don't mind - it's just a refreshing antidote to some of the stuff I teach!

Apr 27, 2009
I agree with the comment on the second strip, but rather liked the first one. The pig replies with slight trepidation; he has a vague and uneasy feeling that his very near future is going to involve an apple in his mouth and quite possibly cooking foil.
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Apr 27, 2009
I thought the first panel of the April 10th strip was missing something too - "I have an actual job and I don't live at home." with my mom seemed to missing.

Everybody has a "home" somewhere.
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