Basic Instructions
September 9, 2007 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Basic Instructions - Your all inclusive guide to a life well-lived

Basic Instructions has been getting quite a lot of attention lately as Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has been trying to help Basic Instructions artist Scott Mayer get national newspaper syndication, encouraging Mayer to experiment with the style and format of the comic.

Follow the story so far on Adam's blog [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and Mayer's Basic Instructions blog (starting here).
posted by MetaMonkey (25 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I like it. Needs more cheese. Scott Adams should stay away from it, because it appears to be funny.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:33 AM on September 9, 2007

He'll never get national syndication with that level of humor.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:40 AM on September 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

I like it as well. Reminds me a little of David Rees. (mnftiu / GYWO)

Loved the "quitting caffeine" strip.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:41 AM on September 9, 2007

Ha! That's good stuff. A lot of breaking-the-morning-quiet laughs on various panels four, here.
posted by cortex at 9:51 AM on September 9, 2007

I remember when BI started. I love it, and wish Scott Adams would stay the hell away from funny things.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:53 AM on September 9, 2007

That's great!
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:09 AM on September 9, 2007

It is interesting to see how much worse Scott Adams' advice makes them. Then again, if you read the Dilbert Blog, he admits that his advice makes them worse, so at least he can recognize it.

But yes, I love Basic Instructions.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 10:30 AM on September 9, 2007

It amuses me that Scott Adams still thinks that newspaper is the measure of success for comics.
posted by mendel at 10:30 AM on September 9, 2007

Funny strip, thanks.
posted by LarryC at 10:38 AM on September 9, 2007

That comic isn't just dry it's arid. It isn't just stilted, it scaffolded. Meh.
posted by jonmc at 10:41 AM on September 9, 2007

It is interesting to see how much worse Scott Adams' advice makes them.

In his defense, you could really rewrite that as "how much worse syndication-centric alteration makes them". Adams isn't really aiming for "make strip funny" so much as "make strip marketable". It's depressing how much the two are at odds, but that's the state of the newspaper syndication at this point. They've got a format, and you have to work within it if you want to play.

What clango is doing with the Diesel Sweeties newspaper strips is exactly that, and it's working well from the comics-staying-funny sideā€”the newspaper strips are less risque than the web strips, but not tame or neutered.
posted by cortex at 10:53 AM on September 9, 2007

The font used in the non-bubble text is Trebuchet, found thanks to Identifont. I really like how it looks at these point sizes.
posted by parallax7d at 11:36 AM on September 9, 2007

Oh man I am laughing out loud at most of these. I've never read such a comic right up my alley. It's like a new brilliant adult swim cartoon in it's first season before the writers get lazy and low brow. Here's a favorite.
posted by parallax7d at 11:53 AM on September 9, 2007

Many of these are stilted, but this one is great.
posted by Ryvar at 12:07 PM on September 9, 2007

I compare it to Married To The Sea--you need to dig, but it's there.
posted by wafaa at 12:46 PM on September 9, 2007

I was all set to forward the URL to a few close friends before it hit me that their first thought upon reading the comic would be something along the lines of, "What: this is really t2urner's way of criticizing me." Followed, of course, by the inevitable back-and-forth of email/telephone denials that I meant anything of the sort. I have got to get out more.
posted by t2urner at 1:58 PM on September 9, 2007

Add another one under the "Adams makes it suck" column.
posted by blacklite at 2:29 PM on September 9, 2007

Very funny stuff.

I didn't think Adams' influence did too much damage, and he did help to make it more newspaper-friendly. But, as mendel said, that's not the only measure of success for comic strips nowadays. He seems to be taking the "slap some ads on that bitch and call it a day" approach, which I support wholeheartedly.
posted by danb at 2:43 PM on September 9, 2007

Oh man, the wife pretending to like my friends up until the wedding night one made me laugh and cry.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:11 PM on September 9, 2007

BrotherCaine, do have the link for that?
posted by who squared at 4:04 PM on September 9, 2007

posted by BrotherCaine at 4:08 PM on September 9, 2007

posted by who squared at 4:14 PM on September 9, 2007

I've been reading this one for a awhile. I would have posted it but I was sure I found it here. Anyway, I love it. Thanks for posting it, Metamonkey.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:44 PM on September 9, 2007

Like many folks have said so far:

Lots of the strips are hilarious.

Notably, all of the ones aimed for mainstream syndication are not.

There are comic artists who get away with commercialisation with much more humour left intact than Scott Adams, and I highly encourage Mr. Meyers to find them immediately and get their help before all of his funny leaks away into the void created by Adams's "legendary" status.

Still...I don't read the Weakly, so this was my first intro to the strip. Thanks, MetaMonkey!
posted by batmonkey at 6:49 PM on September 9, 2007

Just so we have our definitions straight, a "funny" comic strip is one in which on the last panel, the straight man flies backwards and lands with an audible plop, with just his legs and the bottom of his shoes remaining in the frame.

A "dry" comic strip is when the straight man merely claps his hand to his forehead -- possibly sending his derby into the air -- with a wincing expression.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:43 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

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