How Far in Advance do Cartoonists Work?

    People always wonder how far in advance I work because Dilbert sometimes matches the headlines. Take this week: The site was attacked by foreign hackers who launched multiple DDoS attacks.┬áBy coincidence, this week’s Dilbert strips are about Elbonian hackers breaking into Dilbert’s company network.

    If you didn’t recognize the real source of the Dilbert strips this week as the alleged North Korean hack on Sony, you might think I created this comic series based on my experience this week. One of the things I learned as a cartoonist is that the news doesn’t actually change. I can do a comic on a current event in June and be confident the news will still be similar in November. Sometimes the names and details change, but the general topics in the news stay the same.


    And the effect is weirder than you imagine. Obviously there will still be the same wars and political battles next year as this year. But if the media picks up a story about some celebrity sticking a ferret up his ass you can be sure there will be seven more stories of the same nature before the end of the year. The news follows themes when certain types of stories get popular. When I see a theme developing, I feel safe assuming it will be in the news in a few months.

    The comic I create today will run April 20th. If it were a Sunday strip my syndication partners would need more lead time for production and printing, so the next one I draw will be for May 17th. My internal deadlines are far tighter because the strip needs time for editing, coloring, and distribution to clients.

    Anyway, I think you’ll enjoy the Elbonian hacking series. It starts with this one.

    Scott Adams

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