‘Lame’ Syndicated Comics Explained

By: Dave Astor

Readers sometimes wonder why a number of comics in daily newspapers are so bland. Stephan Pastis offered his theory in a humorous “Pearls Before Swine” strip published yesterday.

Titled “The Sad, Lonely Journey of a ‘Pearls’ Comic Strip,” the Sunday cartoon opened with a self-caricature of Pastis looking at one of his drawings and saying: “Hahaha…this one is really edgy and funny….People will love it.” But, in the next panel, his wife tells Pastis he has to change one word because “United’s not gonna allow it.”

“Pearls Before Swine” is distributed by United Feature Syndicate.

Pastis agrees to change the word. Then three United editors are shown calling the cartoonist to tell him he “can’t show that one image in the third panel.” Pastis agrees to delete it.

Then a newspaper editor is pictured phoning Pastis to say: “Listen, we simply cannot allow you to make a reference to that topic, because if we do, four grandmothers in Provo will complain and we’ll have no choice but to drop your strip and replace it with ‘Mary Worth.'” A disgruntled Pastis replies: “Okay, okay.”

The cartoonist is then left with a boring strip showing his Rat character saying, “What a pretty day, Pig.” To which Pig responds: “It sure is, Rat.” The two animals then joyously raise their arms and shout, ‘Yay!'”

Pastis concludes his Sunday satire by showing two readers looking at the watered-down ‘Yay!’ strip. “Man, are the comics today lame,” says one. “It’s these cartoonists,” agrees the other. “They’ve got nooooooo creativity.”

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