Saturday, February 08, 2014
In my opinion “Pearls Before Swine” is one of the best comic strips currently running in newspapers. As is often the case, much of the humor in this collection of "Pearls Before Swine" strips, RAT’S WARS, comes in the form of witty one-liners, witty puns, and extensive verbal gags. The book features strips that ran from December 5, 2011 to September 3, 2012. Pastis' pleasure in using Sunday strips for elaborate puns continues. Some of the storylines I really enjoyed in this collection include: the Crocs continued attempt at getting over Zebra’s wall; Rat joining the Occupy movement by occupying Sesame Street; Rat getting sent to Siberia with the rest of Stephan’s missing luggage and Rat’s revenge afterwards; Larry the Croc getting caught in a compromising photo with his Zebra neighbor; Rat being hired to revise Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood; the break-out of the East Coast-West Coast Cartoonist War; Larry’s son becomes friends with Freddy the Frog; and Guard Duck’s “adoption” of Dinky Duckling. Characters from the comics “Blondie”, “Mutts”, “Beatle Bailey”, “Cathy”, and “Family Circus” all make appearances at some point. I’m not completely sure, but the cover RAT’S WARS (which is a parody of Star Wars) seems partially inspired by the Sunday strip on August 6, 2012 where Stephan is reading letters from “fans” and one of them says: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do something with Star Wars where everyone blows up. STAR WARS ROCKS!!!!!!! Also, the introduction of the book Stephan describes part of his experiences visiting troops in Afghanistan for the USO with other cartoonists. Overall, RAT’S WARS is another fine collection of "Pearls Before Swine" comic strips.