Phil is a fictional character in Scott Adams's Dilbert comic strip. He is the Prince of Insufficient Light and the Ruler of Heck, abode of the darned. He punishes people (usually Dilbert) for minor infractions not worthy of damnation in hell, such as using copier paper for the printer or stealing a chair from another cubicle (both of which Dilbert has done). He also serves as manager of limbo, which in the strip is a subsidiary of Heck. He is the Pointy-Haired Boss's younger brother, though this has been mentioned only twice, most recently in a strip involving Phil outsourcing the housing of sinners who partake of carbohydrates to the Pointy-Haired Boss's workers' cubicles. Adams says that Phil's relation to PHB came from the suggestion of several readers, due to the character's similarity to the Boss in early strips.
Originally, Adams planned to have Satan, the Prince of Darkness, become a regular member of the Dilbert cast, but eventually softened the character after suggestions by his editor. Instead of a pitchfork, Phil carries an enormous spoon, which Dilbert was once condemned to wax, and "darns people to heck" instead of damning them to Hell.
Often, the punishments Phil gives are meant to annoy the person, rather than torment them outright. For example, Dilbert might be forced to sit at the female receptionist's desk and endure the stale wit of his co-workers, who make bad jokes centering around the idea that Dilbert is the female receptionist.
Phil has been inconsistently drawn throughout the series, which Adams mentioned several times in Seven Years of Highly Defective People. Sometimes Phil has a pointed tail, carries a pitchfork, or, most commonly, wears a cape, because Adams forgets that Phil isn't supposed to be wearing them.
- ↑ http://www.dilbert.com/fast/1989-05-03/
- ↑ Miriam Van Scott (1999), Encyclopedia of Hell, p. 70, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=I9QNUhT4besC
- ↑ The Door, p. 44, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VCXfAAAAMAAJ
- ↑ Nathaniel Wice, Steven Daly (1995), Alt. culture: an a-to-z guide to the '90s : underground, online, and over-the-counter, p. 63, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OOvtAAAAMAAJ
- ↑ http://www.dilbert.com/fast/1989-05-01/
- ↑ Adams, Scott. Seven Years of Highly Defective People
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