What started as a doodle has turned Scott Adams into a superstar of the cartoon world.
Scott Adams is the world famous cartoonist who created Dilbert, the most photocopied, pinned-up, downloaded, faxed, and e-mailed comic strip in the world. Dubbed “the cartoon hero of the workplace” by The San Francisco Examiner while Adams was in the tech department at Pacific Bell. Adams continued to work at Pacific Bell until he was voluntarily downsized in 1995. Dilbert has been syndicated since 1989 and now appears in 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries and 25 languages. In 1993, Adams became the first syndicated cartoonist to publish his e-mail address in his comic strip and Dilbert became the first nationally syndicated comic strip to appear on the Internet.
Adams held a variety of (in his words) “humiliating and low paying jobs” during his eight years at Crocker National Bank and eight years at Pacific Bell where he continued to work until he was voluntarily downsized in 1995. He’s been a bank teller (he was robbed twice at gunpoint), computer programmer, financial analyst, product manager, commercial lender, budget manager, strategist, project manager, and pseudo-engineer.
During this time, Adams entertained himself during boring meetings by drawing insulting cartoons of his co-workers and bosses. Eventually a bespectacled character named Dilbert emerged from the doodles. In 1988 Adams mailed some sample comic strips featuring Dilbert to the major cartoon syndicates. United Feature Syndicate plucked Dilbert out of thousands of submissions received that year and offered Adams a contract. Dilbert launched in about 50 newspapers in 1989.
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Now days Adams lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and devotes his entire day (and much of the evening) to Dilbert, including speaking, writing, doing interviews, designing licensed products, and answering hundreds of e-mail messages per day.
More than 20 million Dilbert books and calendars have been sold to date, and more than half of Adams’ books have made The New York Times best-seller list. Among these publications are 21 comic strip reprint collections published by Andrews McMeel. The Dilbert Principle, Adams’ first full-length hardcover book, has sold more than 1.5 million copies.