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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 08/14/2008

The Morning Line: When Comics "Pull a Pastis"...

By Michael Cavna

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE: Oh, Rat leaves his mark all right. (UFS)Enlarge Comic

In today's "Pearls Before Swine," Rat coins a phrase that we feel compelled to appropriate without shame, embarrassment or royalty payment.

The new phrase is "Pulling a Pastis," which means -- as Rat tells the Stephan Pastis avatar -- "To fail, to fall on one's face, to turn one's own life into a gross abomination of all that is wonderful."

So in honor of the soon-mangled Rat, we cite several strips today that Pull a Pastis -- or at least a Demi-Pastis:

JUDGE PARKER: In terms of miscues, "JP" shoots a double-"bogey." (NAS)>Enlarge Comic

1. JUDGE PARKER: Sam Driver has been on this golfing kick (despite his self-described loathing of the sport) for -- what? -- months now. The story's moving painfully slow, and the reader has no option to "play through." Chatter about Harvey Penick's yammering about golf...zzzz....the longest long-drive competition in recorded cartoon history. But after all that, you'd think the golf-steeped strip would at least spell "bogey" correctly? Or that the cartoonists would decide which hand to put Cheatham's golf glove on -- it appears to change day to day. Yep, tally the score and today's strip pulls a double-Pastis.

FRANK & ERNEST: Looky-here. Somebody needs a stale-gag "ad-visor." (NEA)Enlarge Comic

2. FRANK & ERNEST: Talk about your long "knights." This is -- what? -- perhaps the strip's third punning off of "knight/night" in as many months. Wethinks "F&E" got took when they bought in bulk from the same gag writer. This hack Homonym Humorist needs to move on to the "L's" in his dictionary but quick.

BLONDIE: No dithering when it comes to conspicuous casting. (KFS)Enlarge Comic

3. BLONDIE: Blondie has never been noted for its pioneering diversity so it's all the more head-turning when a Character of Color makes a one-panel cameo....just so he can join in a round of office basketball. My, my -- now that's pulling the Full Pastis.

Have any pet peeves in today's comics? We invite your "Pull a Pastis" comments.

By Michael Cavna  | August 14, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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The knightline (hmm... not a bad name for a show about news in Arthurian times) wasn't bad, IMO. Pun of the week has to go to Mutts. Even though they're doing a week of mussel/muscle puns, this one was contrived enough to be funny.

And tell Jerry Scott to stop listening in when I talk to my teenager on the phone! BTW, Jerry, my kid says he wants his size 18 sneakers back.

Posted by: f2 | August 14, 2008 6:40 AM | Report abuse

My biggest complaint about this "hard-hitting" thread in Judge Parker is the type casting: the long-ball hitter is named Driver, and the slimey guy who's trying to stiff the Judge on his book advance is named Cheatham. It's as if we can't tell one player from another without a program...

Posted by: Seismic-2 | August 14, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

"Judge Parker" gets my rant for the day and "Pastisissness" probably doesn't apply. I don't read "JP" on a daily basis, and wouldn't even know that it existed were it not for this blog, but:

- why in the heck does he either always look like Christopher Reeve (c. 1979 "Superman") or Matt Murdoch of "Daredevil" fame?

- does the man's mouth NOT move? In all of the blog-referenced strips, he's always got some closed-mouth smug smirk on his face.

- who in the heck reads "JP" anyways? We've already covered that it's going to take this guy a month to line up a golf shot, which isn't great storytelling. For Pete's sake, since this blog started "JP" has been stuck in that danged golf cart with that creepy guy.

- artwork aside (even though we could easily make templates of "JP's" two facial expressions and then copy them around day to day to fill in the panels) it seems to be a BORING strip.

Rant over.
Must. Get. Coffee.

Posted by: erin | August 14, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

The Post's server is "pulling a Pastis" this morning, because I'm getting "page not found" errors when I try to get my morning fix of Dilbert, Peanuts, and Pearls!

Posted by: Nick | August 14, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Erin: Reading JP is an existential experience all it's own. It's slow moving, appropos-of-nothing story line symbolizes the classic human struggle to define one's own idiom.

Plus, the chicks are hot. That's why this story line is going nowhere fast. Not enough estrogen.

Posted by: JkR | August 14, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

What's next on JP? A week's worth of panels about watching paint dry.

Posted by: M Street | August 14, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

What's next on JP? A week's worth of panels about watching paint dry.

Posted by: M Street | August 14, 2008 9:53 AM

Excellent idea! Do the authors read this blog?

Posted by: JkR | August 14, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Check the archives. In the week from Feb 5 2001 thru Feb 10 2001 the main plot line in Judge Parker involved watching paint dry, leading up to Sam's Valentines Day gift to Abby (which lasted until April 21st).

During that time, Spiderman ran out of webbing and took a taxi from 39th street up Broadway to 53rd street. Traffic was not a factor in the two month trip.

Posted by: f2 | August 14, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

f2 is in the house!

Posted by: JkR | August 14, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Re: Blondie. What do you expect ... that's how things were in the 1930s.

Posted by: Horacio | August 14, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

By Pastis coining "Pulling a Pastis," if Pastis isn't "Pulling a Pastis" or hasn't already been "Pulling a Pastis" he is at the very least "Marrying Irving" to borrow from Gene Weingarten

Posted by: David Bruggeman | August 14, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"This hack Homonym Humorist needs to move on to the "L's" in his dictionary but quick."

HE'S DEAD! He can't move on. And neither can we, until the Post finally drops this tedious, repetitive zombie.

Posted by: Tom T. | August 14, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Self-deprecation in and of itself is not necessarily funny. Pastis needs to quit breaking the fourth wall and come up with decent gags.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

You want to talk about "pulling a Pastis"? Check out the glurgefest known as "For Better or For Worse". From the smug sanctimony of Elly and John to the self-centered idiocy of Michael (who famously abandoned his wife and small children and rushed back into a burning building for his LAPTOP), from the parenting failure that is Deanna to the limp dishrag Elizabeth...oh, how I could go on. And to top it all off, Lynn Johnston is (finally!) ending her strip with the tackiest, most implausible wedding ever, that of former high-school sweethearts Anthony and Elizabeth, who both ended relationships with mature, interesting adults (Anthony's marriage to smart career woman Therese and Liz's romance with hunky Constable Paul) in order to settle for a bland, passionless marriage to one another. Johnston is apparently a staunch believer that one should always marry one's high-school squeeze, live in the same suburbs (if not the same HOUSE) as one's parents, and never do anything that might be remotely construed as interesting. Her "jokes" are recycled enough to make the staunchest tree-hugger sick, and her "serious" strips ooze enough sugar to be classified as biohazards. Pastis on his worst day is fresher and funnier than Johnston on her best...maybe we should call it "pulling a Johnston" instead.

Posted by: Casey | August 14, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

geeze louise that is some built up hostility towards fbofw.

Posted by: Kevin | August 14, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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