Reuben Nominee Profile: Stephan Pastis

Stephan Pastis

The Punmeister
The pun has been around for thousands of years, but Stephan has co-opted its use. These days when cartoonists puts a pun in their comic they are accused of stealing the idea from Pastis.
Those puns are part of what has made his Pearls Before Swine one of the most popular comic strips created in the 21st century. The other parts include the fact that the cartoonist is genuinely funny. Stephan Pastis makes people laugh. That’s a pretty good feat for someone who doesn’t seem to hold humanity, as a whole, in high regard.

Tom Heintjes, introducing an interview with Stephan, described the comic strip:

Pastis suffuses his work with misanthropy that is rare on a comics page widely perceived as the domain of the inoffensive. His characters—especially the rampaging id known simply as Rat—routinely harm each other physically and verbally…Pastis has created a platform that allows him to expound on politics, social norms, relationships and even, on occasion, other comic strips.

About those social norms mentioned above – Stephan does, on occasion, feel the need to get serious. And he has proven very adept at that also. From earlier this year:

The strip has become so popular that the book collections, issued regularly and in variety of formats, are constantly best sellers. To join his Pearls Before Swine collections he has created the pre-teen character of Timmy Failure to sell more books, going on annual tours to promote and sign them.

How does he find the time? As he told Minnesota Public Radio last year:

“I’m six months, 12 days ahead. That’s how anal I am about it. I know the exact amount. So what I do is I create 10 a week. That gives me three extra a week.” Those extra strips leave him free almost five months a year.

This will be Stephan’s tenth consecutive year as a Reuben nominee. Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine has been nominated for The Reuben (he’s picked up three comic strip divisional awards) every year since 2009.

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