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Non sequitur is found in both formats depending on the paper. Why not offer either and let the paper decide.


I guess I am in the minority but I preferred the 4-panel strip with fewer words so much better. I would not read this if it was in my newspaper. Sorry Scott - both of you.


I have no business sense, so I don't think I can competently reply to the question you pose (though the "screw the institution" voice inside says to keep the original format, for what it's worth).

I only know that I was squinting too much to be able to enjoy the strip-version more than, or even as much as, the original.

Matías Potel Feola

I think that he should keep this format, 20% of readers doesn't seem like much and I think that the comic is so much better in its wordy format. I don't think that the elder readers would like the comic as much as the young people anyway.


My rule of thumb has always been to skip over the comics that have too much ink. I've found that by quickly scanning over the page, I can eliminate Apartment 3G, etc. and find the good stuff. This format for Basic Instructions might put it in that catagory for me if I was to see it on a page with other comics.


It should go over big with Batman fans. In the origin story of Batman, Bruce Wayne muses that "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot..." Seems that the same can be said of children.


I think this worked very very well.


I like this version much better than the "simplified" versions


The latest "Basic Instructions" - the one about remembering the name of a song stuck in your head is hilarious. The panel where he is at the computer really cracked me up. Just last week I had a female co-worker looking over my shoulder as I attempted to type in "". I forgot the "t" and had a similar "Wow. That's not what I expected" moment. And no, I did not add it to my favorites. We both got a good laugh out of it. As for the wordiness of the comic, Scott has an excellent sense of humor and many gems of humor are buried in the "wordiness" which, for me, makes reading it a pleasure.


Are old people with bad eyes really his target market, under any format?

Ian W

I can't stop thinking about the regular comics featured in MAD magazine when reading Scott's comic. Can't decide if this is good or bad. Clearly MAD has staying power, but don't really ever remember laughing uproaringly at it.


Much better!


When I read this strip in 4-panel format I laughed out loud. I think it loses much of its impact in this form. I hardly even recognized it.


Scott, now, this is important advice: WHY NOT DIVIDE IN A SERIES OF 4 STRIPS?

It's very customary over here in Brazil, comic artists usually do a series of daily strips that sometimes take the whole week to complete.

If you closely analyze this very exemple you posted, about "how to calm down a scared child", every single panel could easily be rearranged into a whole new 3 panels strip, including a proper punchline to the end of each strip.

It would make Scott's work much more productive, since one idea would last for about 4 strips, and it would also obviously solve the too-wordy problem.

I think that's the best advice for Scott to keep his own humouristic style AND ALSO conform with what newspapers like to print.

Please ask him to redo that same gag about "how to calm dow a scared child" using a series of 4 strips. I would love to see how that turns out, and I am positively sure it will be a killer!

Best regards for both of you Scotts! :D


I liked it way better with the less wordy strip format! I just didn't like the relationship themed strips, but the format itself is way better. And, as you might know, humor is better when it's more objective, right?


I think this is a matter of getting a foot in the door and then consolidating the position. You, Scott, got your foot in by writing about something you're familiar with and good at expressing. People at Syndicates recognized that as talent. Once you've gotten into the business you began to subtly nudge the comic in the direction you think would make it more successful. At least, this is what I understand based on everything I've read from you.

It may be better to let Meyers do the same, for him to be recognized for his talents, for the unique combination of comedy and style that he brings to table and then once he's accepted to drift into mainstream. I doubt syndicates are out there looking for comics that look like other comics. Basic Instructions is looking more and more like Dilbert. :-p

People never forget their first impressions, and no one respects the guy who sells out his art for the sake of commercial success. It's the slightly assymetrical duck who quacks a bit louder that stirs interest.



I opened it and moved on without reading it. Comics are supposed to be short and to the point. I would never give a comic like this a chance.



I like the original format better, but this worked for me.

I didn't mind the wordiness or this format, it looked fine.

Two things:

1) I'm farsighted, so not a good judge for folks in general
2) The "non-threatening" stance made me laugh out loud... again - I'd seen it before on his website.

It is that kind of thing that I love about Basic Instructions.


This totally works. I didn't think that the 4 panels could be squished down into the standard strip format, and all fit. It also gives the option to do only 3 panels if he's feeling lazy. :)

Run with it.


It's all right, but it would be better with a larger, vertical layout like Doonesbury's.


Scott A, it is great that you want to give Scott M a boost by asking us, the public, our opinion. However, if you would pardon me for saying this, don't you think that the methodology applied here is possibly flawed though?

There is no blinding.

Perhaps you may agree that what is in effect being tested is not the reader public's opinion. What is being tested is the opinion of unqualified wannabe cartoon strip critics (myself included).

And that is not fair to Scott M.

Could you perhaps convince some of your newspaper clients to give this guy a break for a few sample strips, invite feedback, and see what you get from that?

Just a thought.


Richard Gosling

This layout works for me. I do slightly prefer the 4-square layout, but if this layout has a better chance of getting syndication, I can live with it very happily.

Keep the wordiness. You may lose a few readers who find the text too small, or who are put off by the number of words, but I'd reckon you'll lose more by diluting your style. You can't please everyone. I think variety is a good thing - there are comics that appeal to those with a 10-second-max attention span; you can go for the market that has an attention span of at least 20 seconds. The multiple boxes gives a build-up of humour, you get 4 jokes for the price of one. I think it is worth the investment of those few extra seconds reading time; screw those who don't!


Scott A, your computer program has a glitch. This is the second time in a row that my comments are under someone else's name, and my name with someone else's comments


Posted by: Mitchell | August 19, 2007 at 03:03 AM

If you go to Scott M's site you will find several two-panel postings which are quite good.

He does not need a four-panel format.

On the above example: Perhaps I am wrong, but I would think that SM could easily make two seperate two-panel postings out of this, and both would work successfully in their own right. Anyway, many cartoonists, eg Doonesbury, would from time to time, run a small series on the same topic over two or three days. And it works well.

Posted by: Charles | August 19, 2007 at 02:28 AM

why don't you simply ask your syndication company?????


I prefer the original format. The new format seems too wordy. I will probably skip it if I see it in a newspaper.


It works as in that the essence of the comic is still intact. The question remains wether it is accessible to the common newspaper reader.
I think that I would start reading it if a strip like this was my first meeting with the strip.
But I'm getting biased. I'd love to see this comic in the paper, so I may be forcing the issue.

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