My editor thinks this comic is inappropriate for newspapers. He might be right. You won't see this one published anywhere else.


One of the tricks I use as a comic writer is the imaginary last scene. In this case, the funny part is what you imagine happening after the comic is over. Your mind fills in the details. If I do my job right, everyone fills in the last scene with whatever works best for them. Some of you imagine something subtle and some of you have a more graphic interpretation. Personally, I see a time-lapse scenario that features bulging eyes and seasons changing. The important thing is that each of you imagines a scene that is customized to your sensibilities.

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May 3, 2012
I had no idea I was that 'dirty-minded'
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 2, 2012

I received notifications of comments on my email but they are not on the page!

Here is one I received in the inbox:

@DNA - Right there with you on PG Wodehouse :) it's humor that women enjoy too! Funny, my imaginary follow up was the bosses tie becoming like Dilbert's, lol. And yeah I get that it wouldn't be appropos in a newspaper. XKCD or The Oatmeal -- really Scott you should volunteer a few contributions to those web comics - love to see that!

Here is another:

A character in a video game said this, and it's my favorite line from any video game: "Before I read the paper, I was uninformed. Now that I have read it, I am merely misinformed. Which is worse?"

Neither of them are displayed on the page while I'm writing this.

I've refreshed the page several times. No good. (I know I should have guessed that something is wrong after refreshing the page just once. But it's an old habit from the age of the diode radios when we shook and kicked it around till it started. But thats not the point. Where are those comments?)

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 1, 2012

It could be something to do with the mental switch. Happens to me quite often.

For instance, I remember when I first read Nietzsche's words, "God is dead, Man is free.", I memorized it as, "Man is dead, God is free!".

Like a paradigm reversal at an event horizon. I pictured it as something that may occur after the end of life on earth.

For a long time after this, I could never figure out why my audience always laughed every time I said that.

One of my friends once noticed that I was saying it quite seriously and showed me the correct line in the book. I was quite surprised, and read the whole book again to correct my impressions.

I conceded the mistake as it was, but I don't think I was too far from what I had really felt! 'Man is dead, God is free!' That was my fourth frame of the comic Zarathustra!

May 1, 2012
The economy is in ruins. The United States seems determined to go to war with someone. Politicians cannot get their heads out of their collective asses. People are starving. Disease is everywhere. Class inequality predominates.

And some namby-pamby editor gets bent over a slight sexual innuendo? Seems to me what is currently considered indecent is far less worrisome than what passes as normal behavior for politicians.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 1, 2012
What your editor should have done:
1) change "lust" to "crave" in the first panel, it better implies consumption
2) change the last panel to read "You'll get used to the taste eventually".

It still leaves that unspoken 4th panel, but allows for imagination along the lines of the other meaning of consumption -- food! Bugs, dust, stale chewing gum, etc. could have been what he dropped it on.

of course, I'm not your editor. he gets paid to merely reject some things and laugh early at others.
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
May 1, 2012

The imagined part of the humor that you mention, reminds me of a couplet in a language called Urdu.

(Note: In Urdu, like in Sanskrit, objects have a gender. So, a 'bottle' is feminine and takes feminine pronouns)

The couplet goes as follows:

Tuuti nahin saakiya, rindoh ke haath se
Khud hi nashey me chuur thi, boatle sharaab se

... ... ... She did not break at the hands of the drinkers, my dear,
... ... ... The bottle herself was drunk, with all the wine inside her

(Translation mine)

You are absolutely right. Each reader laughs over the fourth frame of the strip, filled with their own perceptions.

May 1, 2012
BTW - on a completely unrelated note have you ever noticed that Jake the Dog from "Adventure Time" (a stupid kids cartoon mine unfortunately like right now) bears a striking resemblance to Dogbert? may want to talk to the lawyers about that one...
May 1, 2012
I still think my idea for your next Dilbert book, that is, one made up of all your rejected strips and perhaps some you write that you think might be rejected, is a great one.

That aside, I agree with your thesis that letting people use their imagination is better than forcing the actuality down their throat. Might not be a good analogy based on the subject of this strip, but I digress.

In the days before television, families used to sit around the radio and listen to drama and comedy series. As you were unable to see anything, your mind had to imagine what the situations would have looked like. Movies took away some of that, but you saw usually no more than one movie per week.

Then came the television. Imagination went out the window. About the only thing left to the imagination was the sex act and extreme violence. Our minds no longer had to exercise themselves by creating the visual world that radio lacked. It was all laid out for us.

I appreciate any attempt to restore the mind-exercising power of imagining something visual. It's good to know you include it in your strips. Even if those strips get you in trouble with your editor.
+12 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 30, 2012
Very funny. After my mind automatically went to the PHB indulging in some self love for an extended period, I suddenly realised that they dust theoretically would work on others. So when he leaves the office to head out, everyone he walks past would suddenly lust after the PHB's crotch.

The mental picture of Alice fighting Carol and Asok to get to the PHB's nether regions is something that is going to take a while to erase.
Apr 30, 2012
Great use of transference AKA "taking it home." The reader internalizes and completes the joke to her / his own taste and humour. Hat tip for poking fun at Apple Fanboys using the timeless D$%K Joke.
Apr 30, 2012
Love it! But frankly I was expecting Dogbert to leave to go thank Dilbert for having him fixed, so my imagination took a left turn from yours.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 30, 2012
Hmmm . . . the imaginary 'last scene' is one way of putting it. I see it as a general form of
vagueness parked at the end. It's the same essence that makes all great Rock 'n Roll lyrics work.
Basically, it means nothing, because it means something entirely different to each individual listener. Maybe this is the same dust that makes 'The Odyssey' great literature . . .
Apr 30, 2012
The imaginary follow-up comic of Alice punching the PHB out of fusteration because he is so lusty now is even funnier than the imaginary last scene.

cgarret, Apple doesn't have "one of those" products that you can do that with yet? Freaky.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 30, 2012

I think my sense of humor was triggered when I was an infant.

My grandma would work real hard trying to get some sort of reaction from me. She'd sing song in a strained voice which I believe could easily wake the dead. And sometimes make faces that were, for some reason only known to her, supposed to make me smile. But that never got anything out of me. I just stared at her as if there was some serious error in the program.

And then, after her efforts were done and she turned her tired face away, I'd give a wide smile from here to here.

You can imagine her dismay...


My first encounter with humor on paper were the writings of PG Wodehouse. It is, as you'd know, comic humor without the comics.


The next one that came my way in comic humor was the real thing - Legionnaire Beau Peep. Every character is over the edge; and each strip is consistently ridiculous.


And now, at 48 years, I've found Dilbert. Dry, bitter and politically smart.


I just won't grow up...


Apr 30, 2012
Taking this trick a bit farther, I've noticed Garry Trudeau (who sticks to one serial topic for days) often employs the "imaginary last strip". After 2-3 days you can see where he's going, but then he doesn't bore you with the finale which you've already painted in your mind, he just goes onto the next topic.

I suppose the ultimate would be just to introduce characters and let the reader write all the cartoons in his mind. I'm sure it's already been done, I just haven't run into it yet.

Apr 30, 2012
This is a real thing:
Apr 30, 2012
have you ever thought about forking a different comic for more mature audiences? sort of xkcd-ish? I'd love to see Scott unleashed!
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 30, 2012
Inappropriate, really? Apparently your editor thinks people have sex with Apple products.

Or is it simply the crotch? What if he had spilled the dust on a box of tissues? Would that make it better, or worse? How about on a coffee cup? Or on Alice? Or Wally?
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