Today’s Dilbert: Great writing, crummy cartooning

Today’s Dilbert, found here (for another 29 days, anyway), is an example of great writing and crummy cartooning.

Now many of you may argue that Dilbert has ALWAYS been an example of crummy cartooning, but I strongly disagree. He does a great job “emoting” with the simple and simplistic character art of his strip, and Dilbert has long been one of my favorite strips.

Today’s though… the PHB tells the “Boss’s Pet” interviewee to show him the face she’ll use when bullying employees behind his back. She growls and bares her teeth and scowls all at once, and he says “nice use of forehead wrinkles. You’re hired.”

The problem? The faces are so small you can’t see the expression properly. I suppose at 300dpi on newsprint it’ll look a LITTLE better, but looking at the enormous amounts of white-space around the characters, I’m forced to announce that the strip is poorly composed. If the faces had been just a little larger – say 50%, or maybe even double their current size – we could have really SEEN the forehead wrinkles. Scott Adams is capable of doing a convincing “angry” face, but when he limited the space in which he could render it, he blew it.

This piece of criticism has been brought to you by the letters “I R E A L L Y S H O U L D G E T B A C K T O W O R K” and the number “NOW.”


10 thoughts on “Today’s Dilbert: Great writing, crummy cartooning”

    1. Let’s see: W is 32, O is 22, N is 21, so we have 32 + 10*22 + 100*21 = 2,342. That’s a bit bigger than any number you’ll see on Sesame Street.

      1. If it’s base 33, shouldn’t it be:

        N = 21 * 33^2 = 21 * 1089 = 22869
        O = 22 * 33^1 = 22 *   33 =   726  
        W = 32 * 33^0 = 32 *    1 =    32

        22869 + 726 + 32 = 23,627 ?

  1. Definitely spot on about the relative size of the faces. Given the current state of newspaper comics though, I wouldn’t expect it to look much better in print (in a newspaper. A book collection will probably have them at a proper size/print resolution). If the print quality on the comics page isn’t reduced to cut costs (like the local paper back home), then everything is shrunk down to fit 25 syndicated dailies on a single page with room left over for ads.

  2. I’m afraid I’m firmly in the “always crummy” camp

    My newspaper has Dilbert on Sundays, but I don’t miss it the rest of the time.

  3. Dilbert’s unremiting cynicism

    Yes, the frames could crop closer. Without a caption, I’d say the bosses’ pet was Klingon.

    Dilbert is spot on with my former 25 years as a prairie-dogging cube dweller. Nevertheless, reading Dilbert can be frustrating. Another artist once criticized Scott Adams. Zippy‘s Bill Griffith observed that in Dilbert, cynicism never remits. Dilbert rarely if ever has made a constructive point. Charley Brown, good grief, learned to deal with some of his challenges.

    Talk about dark…. Has anyone noticed this suicidal Mickey Mouse at Barnacle Press? Subjects such as depression could in the ol’ days be addressed and answered with simplicity. Can’t we do better than whine?
    – G Johnson

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