‘Dilbert’ Blog Seeking New Artist for ‘Unfit’ Comic

By: Dave Astor

Here’s an interesting use for a blog: Seek an artist for a syndicated comic.

In his “Dilbert” blog Wednesday, cartoonist Scott Adams invited visitors to try to become the new artist for “Unfit” — the Mike Belkin strip, set in a gym, that was launched last April by United Media.

Applicants are being asked to redraw any of the recent “Unfit” comics using their own poses and perspectives, and adding characters if they so choose. Then they can e-mail their artwork along with a resume.

Why is Adams, who is also syndicated by United Media, involved in seeking a new artist for someone else’s comic? Actually, there has been speculation that Belkin is a pen name for Adams, because the drawing in “Unfit” is so “Dilbert”-like. But Adams denied this. “Mike is a real person,” he told E&P Thursday.

So why is the “Unfit” art so similar? The “Dilbert” creator explained that a business partner who runs his two California restaurants asked for career advice for her husband (Belkin), and Adams suggested that he try a comic.

“He’s funny,” Adams said of Belkin, and added jokingly: “As an ‘angry loner,’ he also has the perfect cartoonist personality. He was either going to be a presidential assassin or a cartoonist, so I thought I’d do my part for the country and steer him toward cartooning! He was game.”

Adams said he trained Belkin to draw, which resulted in “Unfit” looking like “Dilbert.” But “Unfit” hasn’t been selling that well, so it was thought a better artist might help. Adams, who’s in more than 2,000 newspapers himself, declined to say how many clients subscribe to “Unfit.”

About 10 submissions have come in so far, reported Adams, who said many are professional-looking. People have until Jan. 30 to enter.

“The artist who is selected, if any, will get a cut of the revenue from newspapers and Web syndication of ‘Unfit,'” Adams explained on his blog (www.Dilbert.com). “At the moment that wouldn’t keep you in tube socks. You’d be betting on the future. But you will get a lot of attention, both on this blog and with whatever publicity is generated.”

Adams said the best submissions will be posted on his blog, giving visitors input into who might get chosen.

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