May 2008

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« Poster Child for Cognitive Dissonance | Main | Basic Instructions, Part 2 »


Joel Odom

I read the ones on his web site, and they were okay. The new format that you have on your blog is really good.


I think the strip works really well, the four panel is OK but a bit inconsistent. Sometimes it leads to a 4th panel punchline sometimes panels 2-3 are all standalones against the set up in panel 1. I like the style. Sent it on to everyone who I think will appreciate it. Hope we're not driving you to poor house with bandwith bills Mr Meyers!


Sorry, i liked it better before you "fixed" it. Perhaps it will sell better - you'd know better than me - but i think it loses alot.


To be honest, I like his comic more than Dilbert, and I like it better in the old format.


Wow, what a great strip! It's got the "getting me where I live" appeal that made Dilbert such a success, except it's at home not work, which is great because no one's tackled that venue yet like Dilbert owned the workplace.

As such, it's very refreshing. You laugh about it the rest of the day because you can relate to it.

But the great thing is it's not cynical. Every other cartoon I've seen that's tried this venue just feels like it's putting people down all the time. Those who can't be truely funny seem to try to just disguise their cynacism as humor but it never works in the long run.

But Basic Instructions is different. The name is catchy; frankly as a guy, I could use a few so I was naturally drawn to it. And it's real without being cynical.

Going from the square to the strip format is great advice. Instead of "3 Ways to ..." all at once, do 1 way each day in strip format & you've got half a week's worth of material.

I like it; I hope it makes it.

Scott Adams, thanks for helping this guy out. I've seen you do this before (like trying to help out the "Pearls Before Swine" guy -- what a cynical "people put-down" strip that was) and it's a very good thing. You have a good heart that sees outside yourself. Way to give back.


I stopped looking at your first new comics find (Cow and Boy). It was ok, but didn't add anything Calvin and Hobbes hasn't done already and better. Your second find (F Minus) is still too early to tell for me - I haven't gotten hooked like with Larson or Bizarro, but maybe.

I like Basic Instructions immediately. My impression of the tastes of the American public is that it is too wordy, too intelligent and the female characters in particular are not attractive enough. I hope I'm wrong, because I like it a lot and hope to see more.

I've seen the big, multi-line and multi-panel format in student newspapers and a few magazines and he uses it well. But you're right that newspapers won't go with that except for the Sunday comics. So he wouldn't have to give up his preferred style, just save it for where it can really be used to best effect once per week.



Personally I preferred the original format and some of them are very funny. The strip panel just did not have the same impact for me.

Part of the appeal is the quality of the drawing but the best cartoons (Dilbert, Charlie Brown etc) have a lot of white space which aids clarity/comprehension. Scott may find that when produced on paper rather than PC monitor it does not look so good and may even be unreadable if the print quality is a bit dodgy.


I don't usually comment, but I just wanted to throw my two cents in: I really like the premise and I don't even have a problem with the structure/number of panels--I just feel like the visual style lacks something "attractive"... it's not distinctive enough or (I want to say) friendly enough?
But yes, there's definitely potential. This guy is obviously talented, and he has you looking out for him Scott!

P.s. Off-topic: I loved God's Debris. I forward it to people all the time. Some have stopped speaking to me. Others won't stop calling.

Tony Bryan

Fantastic - not being all I'm-British-so-I-get-dry-humour but this really appeals to me. I loved the second one, made me laugh out loud in the office - hard to get a Brit to do. DON'T GIVE UP!!


This guy is brilliant!

And you are brave (and sure of yourself) to give him a hand.

Richard Hunter

I liked about 15% of them, which is pretty good. I agree with most people here (and obviously yourself) that he still needs slightly less words but it is nearly there. After all the chap that does the Dilbert cartoons reckons he gets 25% of his auidence like each cartoon, I suppose the trick is to rotate that 25%

S@ns S@nity

I usually take a few strips to latch on to the style, and once I am comfortable with a style I think I don't care if it is wordy or 4 panels (16 panels is also something I could get used to it). User Friendly, another strip I really like also took some time to get used to.

While my initial reaction was it is very long drawn, and obvious humor, I have after getting used to his style found it to be really funny. I found several of them extremely funny, the others just put a smile on my face.

And I will agree with most of the people posting here, that his original format is very nice. A couple of his old ones even have all the 4 panels laid out next to each other in a strip format, which is the best placement for him I feel.

I would recommend not changing anything, and we will ensure you will get the traffic on your site.

Thanks for introducing a fresh talent to me BTW


I prefer the new format - seems to have more "impact"

That Restless Mouse

Well, there were only two available because it seems you killed his server. But I thought they were pretty funny, esp. the yawn thing. I bookmarked it for when the site returns.

The only suggestion I would have is to have the characters positioned more naturally, I suppose that will come in time?

It beats the hell out of Mallard Fillmore.

I wish my paper would pick up funny comics instead of PC garbage like "Secret Asian Man". I am going to let my subscription expire to punish them for yanking out "One Big Happy". (Many of us only care about the comics, maybe the travel section, and the computer store ads. The rest of the paper is bird cage liner.)


I prefer the new "syndication friendly" strips - they seem punchier and, to me, funnier.

I really enjoyed the full length strips too, but in some there is a bit of bloat extending (or repeating) the joke to fill the space. I think being forced to condense the gag to a simple strip has worked well.


1. Lighten up the background
2. Be more of an artist by being less. Put less detail in the drawing of the characters, and also lighten up their clothes a bit. The gist of the humour, and thus of the whole strip, is afterall in the narrative and not in the detail of the drawings
3. The wife keeps being a different person whilst the husband is always the same. This is unnecessarily distracting.
4. The husband is visually on a different level relative to the wife (wives) who is (are) generally lumpy and/or unattractive. Perhaps female readers will not like this. Perhaps the husband should also be the typcially overweight uncooly dressed suburban husband/father.

Freda Ho

Seriously, don't stiffen poor Scott's creativity ><
I'd LOVE to see him in his original format!
and .... I regret to say that...
His comics is actually funnier than some of your recent ones... and also he is funny in a way which is more universal :P


His format does not fit a newspaper.

A problem is that you don't get the whole idea just at a glance. When reading a newspaper, you need three "layers" of info:
* one that comes across at first glance (headline and picture).
* one that comes from reading the captions and big types.
* one that comes from reading the whole thing.

"Basic instructions" seems to only communicate on the third one. As the characters aren't cartoonish, you don't get the easy facial expressions, but you need to play with subtle signals requiring a high resolution.

But I did love the series. I just don't see them happening in a newspaper. I do see it on (bi)monthly magazines, etc.
You require a high resolution to see facial expressions etc. But that is not a volume market. It's too distinct and gimmicky for many magazines to have them, and your productivity simply wouldn't pay off because your turnover would be two strips a day.

Now, where WOULD I like to see them? They are sort of sitcom'ish featuring tongue-in-cheek approaches to interaction dilemmas.

I can tell you one thing: If they featured on a milk carton or a cereal box, the choice would be simple for me. I'd buy the product it was on to have it on my breakfast table. Or during lunch hour (in case conversations dry out).
It invites people to share their experiences. Hell, the first thing I wanted to do was to forward it to my wife, so we could catch up on it later.

If they came in books, I'd buy two to have one in my bathroom. A typical bathroom reader.


When I was looking at the website I thought that the other characters (not the bald guy) sometimes looked what seemed to be unintentionally hilarious. Sometimes I didn't know if it was a guy or a girl. And I love that guy with the funny beard-moustache thing. I think if the other characters look slightly weird it would add something to it. By that, I mean make them intentionally appear unintentionally bizarre. Which may be what he's doing.

DL From Heidelberg

Sorry, but it's just not funny. The characters are drawn too life-like, the dialogue is too similar to what I suspect his target audience sounds like in real life, and there is no humor (at least for me) in the situations. It seems to be nothing more than a bunch of trying-too-hard-to-be-cool observations available in dozens of other places (friends, co-workers etc.) Compare that with Dilbert: Funny looking characters, absurd situations that parody the real office environment, snappy diaolgue that always ends in a joke. On the issue of your advice, your first suggestion made a quantum improvement in readability. Now if you can just give him a sense of humor you'll be god.


This guy is great!


Wow, I like it. He's really got potential.


Good pick. Agree with Jack Swift, probably too smart for a newspaper - how about a specialty magazine?


I prefer his old format, but anyway you slice it this guy is incredibly hilarious. Unfortunately, his incredibly high quality writing leads me to believe he won't make it as a syndicated strip, if the cornucopia of asinine crap that fills my comics section is any indication. Um, present company excluded, of course.


It's a "trying too hard" kinda comics.

It's obviously subjective.... but it MAY work with simpler pics and text. The "idea" is funny, though it lost a lot of impact because I had to re-read parts and decipher the picture.

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