Another cross-comic allusion

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:


That’s obviously no groundhog, but some kind of crocodile, so the strip works at one level. But that’s not just any crocodile; it’s one of the crocodiles from Stephan Pastis’s comic strip Pearls Before Swine. What makes this especially entertaining is that Pearls itself is exceptionally rich in cross-comic allusions.

This is not MGG‘s first adventure in cross-comic allusions. Two examples reported on in this blog: in #2 on 6/26/13, Charlie Brown appears as a character, and on 11/19/13, the dinosaur Dino and the caveman Fred Flintstone from the animated tv series The Flintstones.

Now on Pearls in general, from Wikipedia:

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 five anthropomorphic animals, Pig, Rat, Zebra, Goat, and Guard Duck, as well as a number of supporting characters. Pastis has said each character represents an aspect of his own personality and world view. Pearls is distributed by Universal Uclick as of 2011; previously, United Media’s United Feature Syndicate distributed the strip.

It first was published in 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.

United Feature launched the strip in newspapers beginning December 31, 2001, in The Washington Post…

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

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.” Pastis also regularly parodies comics he finds stale or unfunny, including Cathy, The Family Circus and Garfield (although in the case of The Family Circus, Pastis actually is a fan). 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.

Stephan Pastis has also mentioned that the incongruity between the cute characters and the dark themes surrounding them is a source of humor in the strip.

Pastis himself often figures, self-referentially, as a character in Pearls; many examples on this blog.

Now about the crocodiles:

The Fraternity of Crocodiles are the main antagonists and villains of the strip, described by Pastis as “inept and inarticulate neighbors” of Zebra and while they are indeed on very poor terms with all five main characters (with the possible occasional 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). They have very bad grammar, speak in upper- and lower-case captions (most Pearls characters’ captions are in all-capitals) and also have an expanded and a slightly smaller font size.

An example, in which language plays a central role:


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: