CNN’s Jake Tapper is many things. He’s a TV man, a person who says words in public. He owns multiple suits. He is overly concerned about people being mean to him on Twitter. That last point is relevant because Tapper has put aside his fear of getting mildly criticized in a public forum in order to flex his art skills by drawing today’s “Dilbert.” The text of the comic was, as ever, written by nth-dimensional-chess genius Scott “the Brain” Adams, and the original will be auctioned off to benefit a veterans’ charity.
“Dilbert” is a daily comic strip that appears in newspapers, which are, if memory serves, inexpensive daily publications that offer information and commentary regarding recent events. The title character is an office worker who deals with arduous and arcane corporate bureaucracy as well as managerial incompetence. Dilbert’s struggles are very familiar to many people over the age of 50; they are unrecognizable to everyone under the age of 30, all of whom work from their cars and whose “boss” is an app that tells them where the next delivery drop-off or rideshare customer is located. Still, “Dilbert” remains an indelible portrait of yesteryear’s office culture. Anyway, here’s Tapper’s take on Dilbert.
Judging from the the 200-plus comments left on today’s strip, “Dilbert” acolytes are not happy. Tapper’s more detailed art style is unsettling, revealing the texture of Dilbert’s nostrils, the unnatural design of the flesh-color lumps on his head. Pointy-Haired Boss is no longer a beady-eyed dope but now bears the menacing visage of Oswald Cobblepot.
Every single “Dilbert” strip on the site has an individual comments section and allows users to rate it on a five-star scale. Tapper’s has an average of three stars right now, which is respectable until you notice that every other “Dilbert” comic this month is rated at four and a half stars. Devastating.
“I need three more cups of coffee just to burn my eyes so I can forget this drawing,” writes a user with the handle “Lithuanian Survivor.” Dilbert-heads gotta have their java. Many subsequent comments echo this sentiment. “Please don’t draw Dilbert like that,” one pleads. “I am not drunk enough to look at this,” adds another.
Another notes that Tapper shouldn’t quit his day job, which is a fun burn except for the fact that Tapper also draws cartoons for CNN. In exchange for performing his normal State of the Union duties for the network, he is allowed to produce 2005-era Flash animations and air them for his audience in a segment called “State of the Cartoon-ion.” For instance, what if Sean Spicer did “Gangnam Style”?
Still, some readers appreciate the fan service Tapper has included in his Dilbert. For one thing, the tie is back! “Nostrils on Dilbert are a bit unsettling, but I like the style and I’ve really missed that tie,” a commenter notes. Back in 2014, as we all remember, Dilbert switched to more casual workplace attire, discarding his button-down and curvy tie for a polo and a lanyard. Seemingly unable to resist the call of drawing a canonical Dilbert tie, Tapper has added it back. And I’m living for it.