Will SW's Comic be the Next Dilbert?

Or at least the next Get Fuzzy?

Or at least the next Get Fuzzy?

As noted earlier this month, Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has taken a strong interest in Seattle Weekly's back-of-the-book comic, Basic Instructions and so have his fans. "Holy crap, I don't think I've ever seen such a positive response to a new comic," Adams wrote, after first posting links to BI.

Since then, BI has become an Adams fixation (one that has even his fans a little concerned.) In a very public mentoring process being played out on the Dilbert blog, Adams has been suggesting ways that Basic Instructions--which currently runs only in Seattle Weekly, and on author Scott Meyer's website--might be made ripe for daily-newspaper syndication. Adams' gigantic, and vocal, audience has been serving as the focus group as Meyer has tried various tweaks: limiting the strip to a single panel; shrinking the four panels into daily-newspaper strip size ("it looked like the back of a Nyquil bottle," Meyer says); sticking to "relationship" humor. None of these have gone over as well with the commentators as BI in its original form.

"I'm keeping an open mind and giving a shot to anything he suggests," says Meyer, whose strip has been running in the Weekly for about a year. A former Seattle stand-up comedian, Meyer moved to Florida when his wife got a steady acting job at Disney World. He now works there, too, "training people how to operate one of the larger, more complicated ride systems" (i.e., the Tower of Terror).

This week, Meyer's assignment is to produce seven 3-panel strips, while also considering whether he could actually do this for the rest of his life without going insane. "At this point, I'm torn," Meyer says. He thinks the weekly format might ultimately be better. Either way, he's already signed a "right of first refusal" agreement with Dilbert's syndicator, United Media, just to be able to post his work on Adams' site.

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