An upcoming storyline in “Pearls Before Swine,” the popular comic strip created by Santa Rosa cartoonist Stephan Pastis, has been pulled from 850 newspapers by its distributor because five installments scheduled to run next week depicted a military coup.
Pastis submitted the strips more than a month ago and never meant to comment on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., by supporters of President Donald Trump as Congress met to recognize the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden, a syndicate spokesman said.
Rather than risk reader misperception that the strips had been inspired by the uprising, Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes “Pearls Before Swine,” decided to withdraw them from the publication schedule.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat interviewed their hometown cartoonist:
Pastis offered a succinct summary of the strips in question involving two ongoing characters, series star Rat, who has been posing as president for years as a running gag in “Pearls Before Swine,” and the militaristic Guard Duck.
“Guard Duck, in his little army helmet, invades the White House to remove President Rat, whose elite guard unit (the crocodiles) are lured away from their post by a Cinnabon. Rat scrambles to pardon himself before he is dragged from the Oval Office.”
“There are five strips. Two of them were drawn in 2017 and for whatever reason, I just never ran them. Three of them were drawn in early December 2020,” Pastis explained. “I normally work around eight months in advance, but lately I’ve been substituting strips in so that I could cover the pandemic. The syndicate has ‘Pearls’ strips that run through the end of August 2021.”