Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dilbert vs. Huey?

Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert, chastised Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder for taking a six-month break from the comic strip to work on the TV show on his blog recently. In the post, Adams said the following:

Maybe you heard that the comic strip Boondocks is taking a six month hiatus. The creator, Aaron McGruder apparently doesn't have enough time because he's working on his animated TV show.

The interesting part is that he hasn't drawn the strip himself for years. According to an interview I read, he considers himself more of a writer than an artist anyway.

I imagine Stephen King rolling over in his grave when he hears that McGruder doesn't have time to write his four sentences per day for the strip. I realize Stephen King is still alive, but I assume he sleeps in a grave anyway.

Believe me - I understand how hard it is to work on an animated TV show, unless you have a big writing staff like the Simpsons. It's literally 100 times harder than writing a comic strip. But still - four sentences? Come on.

Adams's thoughts have sparked debate among fans of both strips. The comments on Adams's blog are a haven for Boondocks bashing while comments on a Boondocks LiveJournal community tell Adams to "mind his own business."

I like both The Boondocks and Dilbert. I've been a fan of The Boondocks since I first saw the strip in The Source. I became a fan of the Dilbert comic strip after watching (and liking) the TV show when it aired on UPN. Although I can understand where Scott Adams is coming from, I think his comments are surprisingly childish.

Everyone's writing process is different. Some people can write a lot of stuff in a relatively short amount of time while others are more methodical in their approach. Adams is likely an example of the former while McGruder is definitely an example of the latter.

McGruder's hiatus should not be a surprise to anyone who has followed The Boondocks for a while. For starters, when McGruder wrote and drew the strip, he often had trouble meeting his deadlines. The strip has gone on short breaks on many occasions. In the introduction to the Boondocks treasury A Right To Be Hostile, McGruder mentioned that he found it difficult to "tell stories from joke to joke as opposed to doing it plot point to plot point" and even claimed that the strip may have ended back in 2002 if not for September 11. It seems like McGruder would rather put the strip on hiatus than jeopardize the strip's quality as he works on Season 2 of The Boondocks TV show. I don't blame him. Frankly, if the strip were to become crappy because of him also working on the TV show, I'd want him to take the break.

Ultimately, Scott Adams's comments about McGruder don't reflect favorably on him. You'd figure that he'd know that just because it's apparently easy for him to write "four sentences a day" doesn't mean it's easy for everyone else. There are days I wish I could write four sentences of creative content. While I still like Dilbert and I'll enjoy it whenever I can read it, I've definitely lost a little respect for its creator.

1 comment:

  1. I understand Mr. Dilbert and I love that strip, actually I've gotten into it lately and lost touch with The Boondocks. But I think it's good that McGruder is taking a break if he needs it.

    When I read an article a while back in which a reporter described McGruder phoning in the strip idea to the person who actually makes it, I was disappointed. But if that's how he works, that's cool.

    Obviously, it isn't the four sentences that are the issue. It's the concept. And when McGruder is weak, he's very weak.

    And when either are strong they're really incredible.