Scott Adams picks Justin Thompson to be the new artist for
his Mike Belkin’s syndicated comic strip Unfit.
Adams writes: “The decision was Mike’s alone, but I would have made the same choice.” Given that many suspect Belkins is just a pseudonym for Adams I guess that’s not surprising.
Adams claims that “[Justin’s] art has to appeal to every generation, particularly the generation of newspaper editors. JustinÃ¯Â¿Â½s take on the characters evokes the feel of LilÃ¯Â¿Â½ Abner (the best drawn comic of its time) while still looking current.” Looking at Justin’s entry, it actually reminded me a bit of Bill Holbrook‘s work.
Justin is also the creator of Myth-Tickle currently published on Comic Sherpa.
I’m still vehemently bitter over my entry being disqualified out-of-hand, but even if I had been allowed to compete I still would have given my vote to Justin Thompson. The linework is clear and purposeful, the styling retains classic retro elements from the days when people actually had to be able to draw to get their comic published in the paper and yet has a hip, modern vitality to it. Characters are fluid and expressive.
One of the problems with Belkin’s artwork is all the people were stiff cardboard cut-outs. It was like the same pose copy and pasted turning it into a “talking head” strip. The Mike’s wife ended up coming off as a total bitch in the strip. It seemed like their relationship was based on nothing more than mutual loathing and you wondered “why the hell are two people so obviously miserable together forcing themselves to continue this charade of a relationship”. Thompson adds body language to the characters that allows them to convey emotions beyond the text. You get the idea that they are a couple in love, but they flirt with one another through teasing insults. I’ve known many couples like this. The relationship makes sense now.
One thing I noticed with the entries was some of the people drew the fat woman pretty, and some of the people drew the fat woman ugly. If this strip is going to succeed it’ll be important that the far woman is drawn pretty. It gives the character some dignity. If she’s drawn fat and ugly the strip ends up seeming very bitter and hateful. Mike Belkins comes off as some sort of bully making “ha! ha! Fat people are ugly and stupid” jokes. The only way they’re going to be able to avoid that in a strip which is basically a collection of “fat jokes” is to give the fat girl a little dignity. Have her pretty and that helps, and there are plenty of pretty fat girls out there.
As for Mike Belkins being a psudonym for Scott Adams, there’s no way that could be. For one thing, as bad as Scott Adams’ artwork is, Mike Belkins’ is even worse. Belkins also doesn’t display the same wit as Adams. What I suspect is Belkins is probably someone close to Adams. He might be a nefew, or a friend, or a son of a friend. I suspect his close connection to Adams is what got him into the syndicate in the first place (because let’s face it, the comic as it currently stands would not even be able to cut it as a webcomic much less a syndicated comic). He’s likely a 19-24 year old, inexperienced, and just learning as he goes the way most of us webcomic artists are. He’s fortunate in that he’s appearently got Scott Adams as a tutor. It’s obvious there’s definetly a lot of inspiration being drawn from Adams work in Belkins’ comic but unfortunately for Mike he didn’t realize that if you’re going to copy from Scott Adams, you want to copy his writing, not his artwork.
As well as those reasons for why I doubt Belkins and Adams are the same person, the number one reason I doubt it is… well… I’ve seen photographs of Scott Adams. I don’t think he’d know too much about gym humour (no offence intended).
It’ll be interesting to see if this strip is able to reach any success with its new overhaul.
Still bitter… so very bitter… damned anti-nipple society.
Ghastly, I finally got a chance to see your submission on your LiveJournal. It was awesome – especially the “Jim North” enhancement version. I entered that contest too – and lost. But hey, it was a good opportunity to get my work out there. In all fairness, they should have included your submission.
Someone should tell the winner…
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’RE POOR!
Or… “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’LL BE MEDIOCRE IN NO TIME!”
Ow! Shit! Dude, I’ve got a broken rib, making me laugh like that was totally not cool. Heheheheh-owie-owie-owie….
Please send the hospital bill to my ENTERTAINMENT AGENT. He’ll take care of you.
But he was the bastard who broke my rib in the first place! I told ya, I just need a little more time. I’ve got a sure thing lined up. A SURE THING! I’ll have your money, just give me a little more time!
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