It's No Joke (Actually, It Is): Three April Fools' Comics Share Same Theme

By: Dave Astor At least three cartoonists did April Fools' Day comics containing similar content.

Today's "FoxTrot," "Get Fuzzy," and "Pearls Before Swine" strips shared a Ouija-board theme.

"It is an odd coincidence," quipped "FoxTrot" creator Bill Amend, adding that he was too close to deadline on future strips to speak more with E&P about the matter.

"Pearls Before Swine" creator Stephan Pastis declined to comment, referring E&P to a United Media spokesperson. (United syndicates Pastis and "Get Fuzzy" creator Darby Conley, while Universal Press Syndicate distributes Amend's comic.) The United spokesperson subsequently e-mailed E&P a pair of tongue-in-cheek statements from Pastis and Conley (reprinted after the next paragraph).

In the first panel of each of the three strips, a character is shown playing with a Ouija board and explaining to another character that it spells out messages from the beyond. In the second panel of each comic, the Ouija-playing character spells out an insult and threat to the other character. In the third panel of each strip, the insulted/threatened character says: "Somehow I imagined the afterlife to be a more peaceful place."

Conley's statement about today's "Get Fuzzy" strip: "I can tell you that I wrote it. Some months ago, Stephan Pastis had run a very bad idea, which did involve an Ouija board, by me to see if it was funny. It was not. During that conversation, however, I gave him a brilliant joke to use for this idea, but he said that he wasn't going to use it. Having written it myself, I decided to go ahead and use it in my strip. And you can ask Bill Amend about it, because I mentioned the whole thing to him that day, and he'd tell you what I just did."

Pastis' statement about today's "Pearls Before Swine" strip: "All I know is that I wrote what I thought was a pretty decent strip and then ran it by Darby to see if he thought it was funny or not. Apparently, he liked it too much. I had no idea that he was so desperate for material. I know he's close to deadline, but that's not an excuse. In the future, I'll keep my ideas to myself. How it ended up in 'FoxTrot' I have no idea."


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