Monday, March 27, 2006

Comic Wars

Well, Aaron McGruder's taking a hiatus from his brilliant comic, "The Boondocks." He's doing both the animated cartoon and the comic, and has decided to take six months off from the strip to recharge his batteries.Apparently, Huey's running out of things to say, too.

Everyone's favorite cartoonist, Scott Adams, the always-inventive (note: deep sarcasm) creator of "Dilbert" has a few things to say about that. According to the industrious Mr. Adams, McGruder's comic work isn't all that hard, since he's not actually drawing the strip anymore. (This isn't exactly a new revelation. The fact that McGruder hires an artist came out in a New Yorker profile in 2004, which Adams sorta cites.) Since he's only writing the scenes, not drawing them, it should be child's play. In fact, says Adams, it's the easiest job in the world.

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.

I suppose it's not very hard when you're just coming up with the latest riff on efficiency reports, failed motivation strategies, and office politics. Boondocks, on the other hand, tries to not only go after real issues, but stay current. I think McGruder's four sentences (to use Dilbertman's snotty terms) are significantly more work than, say, Jim Davis' three sentences, or Bil Keane's twelve words.

And while I'm on the subject, is Stephen King the only author that Scott Adams knows by name?

And while I'm at it, if there's a Scott Adams boycott being organized somewhere, count me in. That motherfucker hasn't been funny since I was in college.

It's been common knowledge for a while that Aaron McGruder was feeling pressured by too much work and the constant pressure of deadlines. (I'll refer to the same New Yorker article. Also, this interview with Salon reveals his own internal and external pressure.) His comic did seem to be losing some energy in recent months. Here's hoping the time off helps invigorate his work.

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