I’m planning to take a month off from cartooning, sometime soon, to finish work on the Dilbert movie script and launch a start-up that’s just about ready. The only wrinkle in my plan is that I need to create a comic every day.
So…here’s my tentative plan. I’m looking for four artist/writers to do one week apiece (six daily strips and one Sunday) of Dilbert, with full credit, and modest pay. (Negotiable.) I would provide the Dilbert comic panel outline in a digital file and you would fill in the art and writing. My syndication editor and I would guide you.
But there is a twist.
I don’t want you to produce the normal Dilbert comic. I want you to introduce a new character or a new perspective so we see something entirely different. I’d love to see any workplace perspective that is not a generic white guy. Show me a new point of view – female, gay, Latino, African-American – whatever you want. Introduce a new character and see if it sticks.
For background, the reason Dilbert lacks diversity is because the market does not yet allow a white male to write humor about well-organized minority groups. The problem is that all comic characters have exaggerated and stereotyped flaws. That’s what makes them funny. I can write about white-guy-nerd flaws because I am one. And I can write about white guy leaders who are jerks because leaders have power. But I could not introduce a gay or African-American character and assign that character a stereotypical flaw. The market is not yet mature enough for that.
But you can. If readers like your character, perhaps I can keep it. But no promises. (For practical reasons, the copyright has to stay with me. You would have contractual rights to republish later for your own purposes, so long as an explanation is included.)
You would also have total freedom to mock the original Dilbert comic, and me, as much as you want. As long as it is funny. Shine a light on my narrow focus and the lack of diversity. Whatever.
You would have to stay within the G-rated not-too-controversial zone of family newspapers, so don’t get wild. That’s the hardest part of the job. Dilbert would be edgier if it only ran on the Internet.
Realistically, I will probably find some cartoonists through my industry contacts, but I wanted to spread a wider net just in case there is some hidden talent lurking.
If you want to be considered, draw a one-panel first-draft and put it in the comments. You can use Dilbert characters (for this) and add your own. It doesn’t have to be hilarious. I just want to see your artistic “voice.” I’ll ask for more samples if interested.
If I don’t find replacements, I’ll abandon this idea and just take a month off.