Pearls Before Swine (comic strip)

Pearls Before Swine (comic strip)
Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Characters.jpg
The four main Pearls Before Swine Characters.

From left to right: Zebra, Rat, Pig and Goat.
Author(s) Stephan Pastis
Current status / schedule Running
Launch date December 30, 2001 (Orlando Sentinel)
December 31, 2001 (The Washington Post)
January 7, 2002
Syndicate(s) United Feature Syndicate
Publisher(s) Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre(s) Humor

Pearls Before Swine is an American comic strip written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis, who was formerly a lawyer in San Francisco, California. It chronicles the daily lives of four anthropomorphic animals, Pig, Rat, Zebra, Goat and the crocodiles (known as "crocs" in the strip). Although created in 1997, it was not published until 2000, when United Feature Syndicate ran it on its website. Its popularity rose after Dilbert creator Scott Adams, a fan of the strip, showed it to his own fans.[1]

United Feature launched the strip in newspapers beginning December 31, 2001, in The Washington Post.[2] On January 7, 2002, it began running in approximately 150 papers.[3] The strip currently appears in 650 newspapers worldwide.[4]

The strip has become somewhat controversial due to its use of adult humor, mock profanity, violence, drinking and drug references and references to Middle-Eastern terrorism.



Prior to creating Pearls Before Swine, Pastis worked as a lawyer in California.[5] In law school, he became so bored during classes, he started to doodle a rat, eventually casting it in a non-syndicated comic strip he called Rat. The title character of Rat would later become one of the main characters in "Pearls Before Swine." The "Pearls" character of Pig also came from a failed strip called The Infirm, about a struggling lawyer.

In 1999, he submitted Pearls Before Swine to syndicates. Several expressed interest and about three accepted it,[6] but they could not convince their sales staff that it was marketable. However, Amy Lago, an editor at United Media, saw the strip's potential and launched it on the United Media website in November 2000 to see what kind of response it would generate. When Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert and supporter of the strip, told his fans about "Pearls Before Swine", interest skyrocketed, and the strip was taken to print. Aiding Pastis in the artistic elements of the strip was Darby Conley, creator of the comic strip Get Fuzzy.[5]

Comic strip influences

Pearls' style and humor are inspired by several comic strips, chief among them being Peanuts, Dilbert, Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County and The Far Side. Pastis regularly puts tributes to them in his strip. When asked in an interview about whether his profession as an attorney inspired the humor in the comic, Stephan said, "I was very unhappy as a lawyer, and humor is a reaction to and defense against unhappiness. Also, the law inspired me because if you dislike what you’re doing to the extent that I did, it gives you the impetus to get out."[7] Pastis also regularly parodies comics he finds stale or unfunny, including Cathy, The Family Circus and Garfield. The relentless and merciless riffing on classic comics (i.e. a series where Osama Bin Laden comes to live with the Family Circus, causing the parents, Billy, Jeffy, Dolly and PJ to be sent to Guantanamo Bay detention camp) has earned Pastis the disdain of many comic artists, which Pastis referenced in a later storyline where the Pearls cast is not invited to the 75th anniversary crossover party of Blondie.[citation needed]

Stephan Pastis has also mentioned that the fact that the characters of the comic are cute, and that the humor is usually gallows humor, leads to incongruity, which is funny.[8]

Main characters


Frank Lloyd Rat (debut: December 30, 2001) always referred to by his surname, is a narcissistic, misanthropic rat, and is an anti-hero. He frequently breaks the fourth wall, as well as being aware of his implementation as a fictional comic strip character. Because of this, Rat is often critical of the comic strip's style and artwork as well as the other characters in the strip and many other living things. Often self-employed, most of his businesses involve either punishing or defrauding people for their ignorance, much in the same vein as Dogbert, though with a darker humor. Rat is often rude, and he can usually be found criticizing or insulting someone. Rat lives with Pig and Guard Duck in a house somewhere in Albany, California.

Rat is an insensitive character in the strip, whose interactions with others are typically sarcastic, condescending, self-centered, insulting and sometimes violent.[7] It's stated during a storyline where Rat dies and subsequently returns that nobody really likes him other than Pig. Rat frequently breaks the fourth wall to berate his creator on various topics, including joke writing, artwork, or the general content of the strip itself.

In his spare time (almost always on Sunday), Rat writes one of three stories:

  • The Adventures of Angry Bob: A novel series about a 39-year old man who is always angry, attempts to find happiness, eventually does, then dies a horrible death immediately afterward.
  • Danny Donkey: A children's book series about a donkey who tries to teach children morals by drinking, smoking, stealing, violence, hating people, and various other methods. However, in the treasury "Pearls Sells Out" Danny Donkey is at some point a real character, before Stephan gets complaints and is forced to keep him as a character in Rat's book.
  • Elly Elephant: A series about a female elephant who is extremely friendly, thoughtful, and helpful toward other people, but does not receive the same consideration. These stories often end with Elly crushing those people by pouncing on them.

Pastis has mentioned that the character of Rat is his "voice" and that he identifies himself with Rat more than any other character.[8][9]


Pig (debut: December 30, 2001) is the character that receives the most abuse from Rat. He is kind by nature, but very naive.[4][7] Pig's jokes generally involve his incompetence and not knowing his true surroundings. His on-again-off-again girlfriend, Pigita, is driven insane by his naivety, but she can never bear to dump him. Pastis says that Pig has a habit of talking to inanimate objects such as food, stop lights, bait, and various other things. His dimness is often exhibited in the strip. Pig's least appropriate characteristic is his love of pork products; He likes bacon, ham, corn dogs, and so on, making him a cannibal, although he appears to misunderstand this. He is also sometimes able to tell which member of his family has been made into the food product. Pig is one of the few characters that does not utter mock profanity in the strip, however he did do so in the June 23, 2003 strip, for the first time; He tells Zebra the secret password to Rat's club, "Why should i tell you, dumb @#@&@*# pig?" He has a teddy bear named Mr. Pitters.


An intellectual goat who interacts sparingly with the other characters, Goat (debut: January 18, 2002) usually appears whenever there is a small issue dealing with a character or a conflict to be mediated.[4] Goat has an equally hard time dealing with Pig's incompetence and Rat's cruelty and occasional ignorance. Goat maintains an internet blog that, as Rat likes to point out, receives no hits. Goat in turn tends to criticize Rat's forays into writing, often telling him not to write them at all. In early strips, Goat had a beard; he first appeared without it in the March 31, 2004[dead link] strip.

In a few strips, he is seen telling Rat and Pig about various philosophical, political, and social issues. However, Rat and Pig don't pay attention, and usually start talking about something else, like baseball or The Apprentice.

Goat dislikes conversing with the other characters at all; he much prefers reading. However, it seems that he most tolerates talking to Zebra; he is least tolerant when talking to Rat (although he tends to be equally hostile towards Pig). It is actually debatable if he dislikes talking to Rat or Pig more, Rat for his ego and self-centered remarks, which anger Goat greatly; However, Pig's stupidity has, on multiple occasions, equally driven Goat over the edge, particularly when he attempts to explain something simple to Pig, and Pig continues moving further and further into the wrong direction and misunderstanding everything Goat says. Goat's real name is revealed as "Paris" in the September 21, 2007[dead link] strip, claiming "Goat" is his stage name.


Zebra (debut: February 4, 2002), also known as "zeeba neighba" (zebra neighbor) by the Fraternity of Crocodiles next-door (Zeeba Zeeba Eata), is a zebra who is often seen trying to patch up relations between his herd back home and its predators, lions and hyenas. Pastis has also stated that the only goal of Zebra is to keep from being eaten by his inarticulate next-door neighbors, the Fraternity of Zeeba Zeeba Eata crocodiles.[4]

Because Stephan Pastis was once unable to draw lions, these particular predators were not shown in the strip until May 31, 2007,[10] when two were shown moving next door to Zebra, on the opposite side from the crocodiles. They are the second-most mentioned predators, behind the crocodiles. Prior to their appearance Zebra has been seen corresponding with them via letter, attempting to give them more culture than just eating zebras and establish a friendship between their species. Instead, the lions' replies are always terse responses, often featuring them taking his advice the wrong way by eating a zebra. Zebra's lion neighbors, however, are male lions, which do not hunt, and they seem to like Zebra, often giving him advice on how to avoid their wives, who actually would hunt him down if given the chance. However, the lion neighbors also caused some bad things to happen to Zebra (albeit unintentionally), such as suggesting that Zebra redecorate his house with Girls Gone Wild merchandise to be more macho when his mother comes over to the house once.

One time, Larry sent a cat to Zebra, but in the first years, the cat, which was named Snuffles, was harmless to Zebra. However, in early winter 2008, Zebra was arrested by the FBI because of the cat's terrorist activities, although Snuffles loves Zebra, and he didn't mean to put his owner mistakenly in jail. In one strip, he was revealed to be a big fan of Peanuts (a strip Pastis cites as one of his many influences), which the crocs attempted to exploit, without success.

In the Pearls Sells Out collection, Pastis explains that Zebra has three neighbors: The Zeeba Zeeba Eata fraternity house, Larry the Croc and his family, and Max and Zack, the Lions. Larry's house is, in fact, behind Zebra's house (the houses are next to each other via backyards) while the Lions and the Zeeba Zeeba Eata are on either side of Zebra's house.

Guard Duck

The Guard Duck is, as his name implies, the "guard duck" for Pig and Rat's home,[4] and still lives with them despite often taking on different occupations. Pig has described him as "very sensitive and having an anger management problem". He's known for a short temper and a violent streak. He has gone to several anger management seminars, but he leaves with more issues than he had before.

His first appearance was March 14, 2005 [11], when Pig bought him because a proper Guard Dog was too expensive. Pig's neighbors frequently laugh at the Guard Duck, but the neighbors usually then get beaten up or blown up by various types of weaponry. He often suggests militaristic solutions for neighborhood problems, often getting him locked in a clothes hamper by Pig.

Originally, Guard Duck was a violent duck with anger management problems, but he eventually transformed into a duck associated with the army, seeing the world as his battlefield. He has occasionally referenced the Vietnam War and war movies such as Apocalypse Now. In one of his "missions" that he was given, he teamed up with Zebra's cat Snuffles to invade Cuba, but mistakenly invades Jamaica. While in Jamaica, the also shoots a Sheriff and his deputy. The moment he gets to Cuba, he and Snuffles are arrested, but released. He is also a member of the Order of Panelwalkers and taught Pig how to do panelwalking. In a series of strips, Guard Duck is seen training gophers to use grenades which causes problems in the neighborhood. Most recently, the Grenade Gophers went renegade & joined the Crocs as assassins.

In the treasury The Crass Menagerie, Stephan Pastis remarks that the Guard Duck has become so popular that he's become a sixth main character (after Rat, Pig, Zebra, Goat, and the crocs).[12]


The Fraternity of Crocodiles are the main antagonists and villains of the strip, described by Pastis as "inept and inarticulate neighbours" of Zebra[4] and while they are indeed on very poor terms with all five main characters (with the possible exception of Rat), they are usually involved in various attempts to kill and eat Zebra, all of which fail. The fraternity name is "Zeeba Zeeba Eata" (although one of them called it "Zeta, Zeta, Epsilon" in their first appearance in a botched attempt to fool Zebra).

The Crocodile Family

In addition to the Zeeba Zeeba Eata fraternity of crocodiles, there is a separate family of crocodiles that live in the neighborhood and are also neighbors to Zebra. The family consists of Larry, his wife Patty, and their son Junior (originally named Billy). Larry is one of the typical dumb crocodiles in the strip, speaking in the same language as the fraternity ("Croc-ese", which is actually the reader's own language spoken with exceptionally improper grammar), which he is often seen with plotting to kill Zebra. By contrast, both his wife and son are intelligent, with Junior being particularly gifted. Larry is (or at least was) a huge fan of the Nintendo Wii and tried to encourage his son to drop out of school so he could play with him. He is also very childish, appearing when ever Simon says to do so, and is easily convinced to do stupid things such as when he stapled his head to a wall on a bet and shut off Zebra's water pipes in an attempt to force Zebra to drink from the fraternity's swamp, unaware that Zebra bought his water from Sparkletts.

Patty is a housewife with a beehive hairdo who loves both her husband and son, although she is continually frustrated with her husband's failed attempts to kill Zebra- which more often than not, result in Larry being forced to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken and purchase food, which he eats by himself in shame (although Patty does do some grocery shopping and Larry once stole a frozen zebra from a pair of male lions that also moved into the neighborhood, which he claimed to catch)- as well as his lack of intelligence and common sense which led to her leaving him at least once.

Junior is the most intelligent and perhaps most refined member of his family. He is a vegetarian who can't understand why his father constantly wants to kill Zebra, believes that crocodiles should wear clothes because being naked is undignified, and is friends with his neighbor. Despite all his faults, Junior loves his father as well as his mother, but infuriates them with one small action- his love for a zebra (specifically, Zebra's niece). Surprisingly, despite her attitude, Patty is much more offended about this than Larry, considering it an embarrassment to her family and believing that simply grounding him will cause him to stop (although all it did was cause Junior to run away) However, it is expressed that Larry does not like Junior becoming a vegetarian, telling Zebra that Junior was "a big disappointment" .


Stephan Pastis appears self-reflexively in the strip. He is often seen with Rat who criticizes his jokes and artwork. Rat recently (April 22, 2011) challenged Pastis to an ugly face contest and said, "Whoa, you win," as soon as the contest started. Rat enjoys using dark humor around Stephan and once purposely spilled beer on a strip, despite warning. After seeing its effects on the strip, he said "I should really take your word for it." However, the special effects on the strip seen that day had been Photoshopped, not water damaged. In the strip, Stephan expresses common sense, unlike Rat and some of the other characters. His character has also expressed his hate of being an attorney, which was his former career.


Snuffles the cat is a character sometimes seen with Guard Duck, because of his lack of logic. He was first bought by the crocs to kill the zebra, but Snuffles like the zebra. Snuffles is often shown doing vile acts, such as stealing credit card numbers or selling nuclear technology. This character doesn't speak, as most of the strip's characters do, but rather he uses the phrase "meow" while the other character(s) in the scene speak for him, similar to a silent protagonist.


The strip is set in a fictional suburb within or around Albany, California, where Pastis currently lives (at least two strips have stated that the characters live in "Albany"). Every house appears to have siding on it. There is one brick wall, a beach, and the street which is usually littered with the same soda/beer can. Stephan says in a treasury that the can is the only piece of trash he knows how to draw. He then later exercises trash-drawing by adding a banana peel and crumpled up paper in another strip.

The continuity of the strip is very loose, and Pastis even says that "sometimes characters get jobs once, and you never hear about it again." Many storylines are left with open endings, and sometimes continuity leaps are made, especially when characters die (he says they "un-die", a word which has been added to the Urban Dictionary due to Pastis creating it).[citation needed] Usually, relationships between characters are left unaltered. (Farina, who appears infrequently for long periods of time, has a relationship with Rat that usually picks up where it left off.)

Meaning of the title

The title Pearls Before Swine refers to the admonition "Neither cast ye your pearls before swine" that Jesus gave according to Matthew 7:6 in the Bible. According to Pastis, Rat, who considers himself a genius, casts his "pearls" of wisdom before Pig ("swine"), who is the only one naive enough to seriously listen.


Artistically, Pearls is extremely simple. Most of the characters have either mouths represented by lines or no mouths at all, dot eyes, and stick limbs; those shown with lips are generally big and puffy in this area, and the lips are merely a visual cue that they are unintelligent or ignorant. However, characters do have mouths when yelling (similar to Dilbert), or in the crocodiles' case, open their mouths when yelling. Pastis stated,

People say that they like my strip's simplicity, but I'm doing the best I can to just to get up to that level. I'm not dumbing the art down. [13]
—Stephan Pastis

Pearls is also a meta-comic in that it often satirizes the comics medium, and allows its characters to break the fourth wall and either communicate directly with the author or with characters from other strips, which they often do. Pastis will often employ a shaggy dog story, using a great amount of dialogue to spin an elaborate yarn often resolved with a character's unforeseen death or near death. A variation known as a feghoot builds to an intentionally bad pun in the penultimate panel, with the final panel showing the cartoon version of Pastis as the target of criticism, hostility, or even physical violence from the characters, usually Rat. Once, Rat sensed a bad pun coming, and stopped it with dropping an anvil on Pastis' head. The characters also frequently acknowledge the fact that they are in a comic strip published in newspapers; the strip published on January 14, 2008 had a "roof fish" sitting on top of the panel fishing for the characters, and other strips have had such events as smeared newsprint or beer affected the appearance of the strip or strips in which it seems as if the paginators had laid out the strip wrong. Other comic strips are often the butt of punchlines, and several cartoon characters from outside Pearls have appeared, most frequently the main cast of The Family Circus, and even in one circumstance, Stewie from Family Guy appeared in the strip on April 20th of 2008, holding a candy cane, for a reference to the saying, "It's like taking candy from a baby." During that appearance, Stewie said two of his more famous phrases ("Touch it and you die, fat man" and "What the deuce are you staring at?") to Pig. The presence of the characters often affects the goings-on in the other strips, either directly (through their presence) or indirectly through setting or dialogue, such as when Rat replaced the words of a Family Circus comic with a quote from Benito Mussolini.

Pearls is notorious for its large amount of dark humor; topics such as death, depression and human suffering overall are common themes, and Pastis has recalled receiving complaints, including hate mail and occasionally death threats from people who have been offended by his strips; two strips that portrayed a llama United Nations diplomat named "Ataturk" who spits on other diplomats, prompted a letter to then-President George W. Bush from the Turkish Ambassador to the United States demanding an apology, seeing it as a mockery of former Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Pastis has mentioned in his treasuries that the cartoonists whom he mocks (a trademark characteristic of Pearls) often take the insults in good humor, even occasionally asking for an original strip.

Controversial strips

As written above, Pearls often contains dark humor. Some of the strips have been seen as controversial or offensive. Such strips include the following:

Satanic Visit

from March 1-5 2004, Rat's old friend Satan comes to visit him and Pig for the weekend as a houseguest. Rat and Satan go to a seafood restaurant where Satan orders the sole, causing the waiter to run away screaming in terror. The reason for Satan's vacation is that the streets in Hell are being renovated by "Good's Carpentry Service" owned by Mr. Good, and the Chin brothers (of which there are 10), causing the pun that the "road to hell is paved with Good and Ten Chins". The strip caused some outcry amongst the religious right.[14]

President Bush strip

On August 17, 2003, the Pearls Before Swine strip featured Rat writing a letter to then-president George W. Bush. In this letter, Rat tells Bush that if he is to bomb every country on earth before leaving office, he must bomb three countries every month. Goat warns Rat that if he sends the letter, the government will see him as a "whacko" and investigate him. However, in the last panel, Bush seems to accept Rat's plan to bomb three countries every month, saying, "Okay... October is Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii," apparently not realizing that Hawaii is part of the United States. Pastis writes in his treasury that many people were offended by the negative depiction of Bush and criticized the strip, while an apparently equal number of people appreciated the mockery and praised the strip.[15] (Other real-life figures have been portrayed this way in Pearls, albeit not as directly.)

ADHD strip

The Pearls Before Swine strip for November 9, 2003 featured a "'Pearls' Walk Through Alternative History." In this alternative history, the parents of musicians Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Miles Davis, and Paul McCartney are shown accepting medication for ADHD to give to their children. In the final panel, Rat and Pig are shown at a record store. Rat is sighing because the only records available are those of Pat Boone. The inference to be drawn is that the medication that the three musicians took as children prevented them from producing the music that (in true history) they would go on to produce as adults.[15] The strip's message, that ADHD is a source of creativity and uniqueness, has some supporters. Some people believe that some of the characteristics of ADHD are positive, such as creativity, courage, a broad worldview, energy, versatility, and an enjoyable disposition.[16] According to Pastis, many readers sent him e-mail concerning the strip, some of which criticized the strip, and some of which praised the strip.[15]

Jerusalem Bus strip

On December 28, 2003, the Pearls Before Swine strip shows a television set on which a news program is being aired. The news program describes a bus that exploded that day in Jerusalem. The announcer talks about the humanity of the children who died in the explosion, emphasizing small characteristics of their lives that show them as normal children. The announcer strays off topic as he or she attempts to convey that the children have similarities to the people watching the news program. In the final panel, however, the announcer reminds those watching the program that the children are now dead. The strip is sad and sympathetic, in that it laments the loss of the children, and unusual in that it does not attempt to be funny and shows none of the strip's regular characters. Pastis says that some readers were angry because it (apparently) showed only Israel's side of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. However, he also says that many more readers loved the strip. In all, the strip prompted around 2,500 emails to Pastis.[15] Pastis said that while readers who wrote to him were almost unanimously supportive, letters written to editors were more "50/50", with the other half expressing concern over the topic being addressed in a humorous part of the paper.

"Desperasexual" strip

On July 2, 2004, Pearls Before Swine showed Rat introducing his friend Bennie to Goat. Rat explains that Bennie is physically attracted to both men and women. Goat says that this means that he is a bisexual, but Rat says that Bennie is attracted to both sexes only because he is lonely. Because Bennie does not choose to be attracted to be both sexes, Rat does not consider him to be a bisexual and instead calls him a "desperasexual." Many readers were offended by the strip's assertion that a bisexual chooses to be attracted to both sexes, taking as a comment on the political aspects of homosexuality,[15] though Pastis has denied any political meaning one way or the other.

Rat the Babysitter

In a series from March 20-25 2006, Rat was hired to babysit Zoe and Hammie from the family-geared, tyke-focusing strip Baby Blues. Instead of responsibly watching the children, Rat began to drink from a beer hat and do tequila shots. He then forced Zoe and Hammie to go to the liquor store to get him more alcohol. On the way to the liquor store, Hammie ran over Jeremy from the comic Zits, instantly killing him and then crashing the car into a gas pump causing a massive explosion. Rat then left baby Wren alone so that he could catch a movie, causing the infant to nearly be attacked by the Crocodiles, who were ultimately killed by Wren, who was portrayed as a "street-smart" and swearing character capable of talking. The series caused quite a fervor, and Pastis claims it to be one of his most upsetting comics. Angry letters were also sent to Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, the creators of Baby Blues, for letting Pastis use their characters. According to Pastis, "mixing kids and alcohol and having Rat babysit while drunk just threw some uptight readers over the edge. Many of them responded like I had actually endangered real kids, making no allowance for the fact that the Baby Blues kids are pen and ink. In the next Monday's Baby Blues strip, Rick drew a beat-up crocodile on the floor of the kids' living room, proving to everyone that Rick and Jerry knew about this in advance. I think that quieted down some of the outrage toward me."[17]

The Midget strip

On November 15, 2005, a farcical strip in which Pastis pretended to be on hiatus ran. In his stead, Rat "wrote the comic" that day. In the strip Rat decides to throw a midget off a pier to see how much distance he could get. Despite the general idea of the strip being to parody Pastis's history of offensive strips, an angry letter ran in an Oklahoma newspaper (The Stillwater Newspress), outraged that it was supposed to be considered humorous that someone would propose throwing a midget off a pier ("as though this sort of thing goes on all the time in Oklahoma," remarked Pastis, commenting on the strip in the treasury The Crass Menagerie). "Pearls Before Swine" was canceled from the paper. Pastis retorted, "Is there even a single pier in Oklahoma?" in the same comment.

Ataturk the Llama strips

As is written above, two Pearls Before Swine strips (January 9 and 10, 2007), which showed a llama named Ataturk, caused the Turkish ambassador to the United States to send a letter to George W. Bush, demanding an apology. In these strips, Ataturk is a United Nations diplomat, whose form of diplomacy is to spit on other diplomats. Many readers of Turkish descent were offended, seeing it as a mockery of former Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Their interpretation of the strip was supported by the fact that Pastis is of Greek descent, and Greece and Turkey have historically been enemies. Pastis denied that the strip was mocking Mustafa Atatürk, saying that he knew almost nothing about Atatürk and used the name simply because he liked the sound of it.[18] He received angry, hate-filled emails (some of which contained death threats). Pastis calls it the single biggest controversy he has ever experienced in the history of Pearls.[18]

Lou Gehrig's Disease strips

In an introduction on one of his books, Stephen Pastis wrote that "Pearls" was hated by Lou Gehrig fans because in one strip, Pig thought it was a coincidence that Lou Gehrig would die of a disease that had the same name as himself, not knowing that the disease was named after Gehrig.

Other media

In an interview on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch that aired February 7, 2008, Pastis mentioned that he had been approached by producers about an animated TV series based on Pearls.

In 2009, a line of Pearls plush dolls was released by Aurora World, Inc.,[19] featuring four characters (Rat, Pig, Zebra and Croc) from the comic, to which Pastis jokingly said he would use for reference when unsure how to draw the characters.[20]

On October 20, 2010, RingTales launched their series of animated "Pearls" strips on Babelgum. Pastis has since begun to release these cartoons on YouTube.

Technical aspects

Cartoonist Darby Conley, creator of Get Fuzzy, helped teach Pastis the technical aspects of cartooning.[21] The two remain friends, sometimes poking fun at each other in their strips. In Pearls Blows Up, Stephan says that he replaces some of the usual squiggle-marks indicating swear words with a poorly drawn picture of Darby Conley's head. In a Get Fuzzy strip, Rob asks Satchel if an annoying lawyer named Stephan called. Satchel has a Pearls book next to him. Conley also drew Pastis in his strip twice during a week where the two cartoonists decided to play a prank on their syndicate by having Conley copy and paste Get Fuzzy characters over Pearls strips.



After being nominated for the National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Newspaper Comic Strip in 2002 and 2003[citation needed], Pearls Before Swine won the award in 2004 and again in 2007.[22]


  1. ^ The News & Observer (November 24, 2006): "Stephan Pastis: Pearls Before Swine", by Matt Ehlers[dead link]
  2. ^ Pastis, Stephan, Sgt. Piggy's Lonely Hearts Club Comic (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2004; ISBN 0-7407-4807-6), p.5: "Pearls was supposed to launch in newspapers on January 7, 2002. But just prior to the launch, the Washington Post bought the strip and wanted to start running it a week early. Thus, this week of strips [dated beginning 12/31] was quickly put together just for the Post, and this [12/31] strip became the first Pearls strip, published in exactly one paper".
  3. ^ "''This Little Piggy Stayed Home'' (March 2004): "Product Detail"". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "About « Pearls Before Swine". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  5. ^ a b Pastis, Steven (2003). Pearls Before Swine: BLTs Taste So Darn Good. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 7–8. ISBN 0740734377. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  6. ^ "Forum Interview with Stephan Pastis, Creator of Pearls Before Swine". Phi Kappa Phi Forum. 2004. 
  7. ^ a b c November 06, 2006 in Attorney Career Success Stories (2006-11-06). "Interview: Stephan Pastis: Attorney Turned Cartoonist". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  8. ^ a b "Artist Interview: "Stephan Pastis: Animal Attitude"". Crescent Blues. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  9. ^ "Strip deals wry Pearls of wisdom /". 2006-12-24. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "Pearls Before Swine Comic Strip, March 14, 2005 on". 2005-03-14. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  12. ^ The Crass Menagerie. p. 32. 
  13. ^ ""Forum Interview with Stephan Pastis, Creator of Pearls Before Swine" (Summer 2004)". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  14. ^ Night Hogs Treasury
  15. ^ a b c d e Pastis, Stephan. Lions and Tigers and Crocs, Oh My!. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2006.
  16. ^ "The Good Side of ADHD." Vaxa. Web. 7 Mar 2010.<>.
  17. ^ The Crass Menagerie ISBN 0-7407-7100-0
  18. ^ a b Pastis, Stephan (2009). Pearls Sells Out. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 77. 
  19. ^ "Pearls Before Swine at Aurora". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  20. ^ Cavna, Michael (2009-03-25). "Plush 'Pearls' Toys? Indeed-What a Croc!". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  21. ^ Leopold, Todd (2006-05-04). "A Rat, a Pig and Some Really Dumb Crocodiles: Stephan Pastis dives deep for his 'Pearls Before Swine' strip". CNN. 
  22. ^ "Division awards". official website. National Cartoonists Society. 2009. Retrieved 22 Nov 2010. 


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  • Pearls Before Swine — refers to a quotation from the discourse on holiness, a section of Jesus Christ s Sermon on the Mount.Pearls before swine may also refer to: *Pearls Before Swine (band), an American psychedelic folk band * Pearls Before Swine (comics), an… …   Wikipedia

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  • List of Pearls Before Swine books — This is a list of collections and treasuries of the popular comic strip Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis.Collections …   Wikipedia

  • Comic strip — This article is about the sequential art form. For other uses, see Comic strip (disambiguation). This article is about the publishing form. For the medium in general, see Comics. Winsor McCay s Little Nemo (1905), an American Sunday comic strip… …   Wikipedia

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  • Nancy (comic strip) — Ernie Bushmiller s Nancy (June 5, 1960) Nancy is an American daily and Sunday comic strip, originally written and drawn by Ernie Bushmiller and distributed by United Feature Syndicate. The character of Nancy, a slightly chubby and precocious… …   Wikipedia

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