Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine is my current favorite comic strip for the oddly skewed way in which it presents the world. No happy families learning lessons or blandly reassuring oneliners here.

Pearls Before Swine comic April 19, 2006

In the current storyline, the stupid crocodiles have given their zebra neighbor a basket of Trojan Easter eggs. Weird a concept as this is, it gets stranger when the pop culture references start appearing, culminating in a John Lennon tribute. Today, it seems to conclude with an ever-timely Bible reference.

I find it interesting how many of these strips revolve around feeling insecure in your own home. The zebra just wants to be left alone, but with a group of his natural predators, the crocodiles, living next door, he can’t even get his mail safely. There’s a similar storyline (although even more exaggeratedly funny in appearance) with a seal being stalked by his killer whale neighbor. That’s a modern cultural concern, wondering just what’s going on next door.

18 Responses to “Pearls Before Swine”

  1. Larry Simmons Says:

    My favorite strip, too. You might check the Get Fuzzy strip for this past week, also – seems to be a very strange little crossover going on…

  2. Johanna Says:

    That IS really weird. I can’t wait to see the punchline for that series.

  3. Scott Says:

    Why? Why? WHY?

    Is it an age demographic thing or a particular brand of humor?

    I do not understand the appeal of this strip and have never found it funny in the least.

    However, I am curious about the types of folks that do find it funny.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Maybe it’s a reaction to strips like Garfield, where an animal looks like an animal but thinks and acts like a human. Here, the animals look like people — they stand on two legs and live in suburbia — but they still behave like animals.

    I dunno. I fear too much dissection of the joke will kill it.

  5. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Scott, your not alone. I have never found this comic strip funny either. But, a lot of people I know love it. Can’t say why it just doesn’t gel with me.

  6. Larry Simmons Says:

    I think Johanna pretty much sums up the appeal of the strip for me. I guess I’m also kind of a cynical person, and, well, this strip is about as cynical as you can get on dealing with people (or animals). At least in a nationaly syndicated strip.

  7. John Says:

    I have to categorize myself with the ‘just don’t get it” group with respect to Pearls Before Swine. Get Fuzzy and Unshelved are probably my two favorite comics in the traditional newspaper format at the moment.

  8. Lyle Says:

    I love Pearls Before Swine. It pulls on a little of my love of absurd humor (rat escaping and kidnapping Cathy, for example or the most recent whale/seal strip) and I like the odd mix of complex (the joke about the little crocs singing “Give Peace a Chance” gets funnier when you connect it to the previous strip). It has some moments that are a bit “Garfield” but sometimes those moments work so well because of the kind of humor those characters have been through before.

  9. Johanna Says:

    John, I often don’t get Get Fuzzy, so maybe there’s a kind of conservation of humor going on. :)

  10. Scott Says:

    Get Fuzzy (and – earlier – Liberty Meadows) took a while to find my funny bone.

    My favorites at the moment is Mutts, which has a similar sweetness as Rose is Rose (a strip that the local newspaper axed in favor of PBS… ).

    Hmmm… maybe I am getting less cynical in my dotage.

  11. Mark Says:

    looking at it now I think in a way PbS does same thing Gary Larson often did by letting animals play out human situations in an absurd setting.

    I’m not reading PbS regularly but when I read one usually I kinda like it.
    And I love Gary Larson’s stuff.

    My favourites at the moment are Dilbert and the Boondocks, btw

  12. Roger Says:

    I do find Pearls Before Swine amusing when I read it. That’s not often though as I find the art very unappealing and often pass it by. (But that goes for Dilbert and Fox Trot for me as well.)

    Mutts is my fave at the moment.

  13. Larry Simmons Says:

    As with anything, to each their own. I do like the Mutts Sunday strip, if only for the wonderful homages in the title panel. Otherwise, its a little on the precious side for me.

    As for the art for PBS… yeah, it’s pretty basic, but it seems to add to the absurdity of the whole thing.

  14. John Armstrong Says:

    Johanna: I think the deal with “Get Fuzzy” and “Pearls…” this week is based on vacationing cartoonists and guest cartoonists. So often, the guest basically writes their own strip but with the hosting strip’s characters rather than bothering to write anything like the style of the hosting strip. Pastis and Conley are taking this to the extreme by just having Pastis’ guest strips be exactly his own strips again, but with Conley’s characters (badly) pasted over Pastis’.

    Of course, on Wednesday they implied that Conley is stealing Pastis’ artwork, but I read that as just another level of the joke for those who don’t get the satire of guest strips.

  15. James Schee Says:

    I really enjoy Pearls. Not every strip is a winner, I personally didn’t enjoy the whale and seal ones, until the cartoonist admitted a fault in the premise in the strip itself.

  16. Bob Schmeem Says:

    I like the crocs! They are awesome and the Zeeba’s are so smaht it scarwy!

  17. Q Says:

    i think pearls is hilarious. i find mutts boring, zippy the pinhead and family circus are horrible

  18. Pearls Before Swine iPad App Launches » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Books has released “Only the Pearls“, a Pearls Before Swine iPad app. I haven’t had a chance to try it, but it reportedly consists of 22 videos with […]




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