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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 03/16/2009

Pearls Before Meta-Swine: Oh, We Relish This 'Reality'

By Michael Cavna

M.C. Escher, that great master of optical-illusion illustrations, would surely appreciate the pure and blissful meta-tude of today's "Pearls Before Swine."

So let's pause long enough to break it down:
Rat -- the COMIC character -- is viewing the webcomic "Garfield Minus Garfield," which itself could be called an existential metacomic playing off a real print comic, "Garfield," which has itself been directly mocked by Rat and company in "Pearls Before Swine."

My head would be spinning if I weren't already pretty much rendered senseless after this Meta-Vertigo Spin Cycle. Which actually, in Pastis's world, feels kinda cool. And speaking of mind-altering realities, it's time for...

TODAY'S "TRAIL WATCH":

Poor, poor Rusty. He's been reduced to a one-tyke Scout troop. ("Gee, why can't we hang with the other Scouts, Mr. Trail??") Mark has apparently forced Rusty to wear a "special" polka-dotted kerchief that looks as if it once belonged to Mark's great aunt (Berry Trail, perhaps?). And now Rusty is about to shoot himself into trouble with a coupla Token No-Goodniks.

How do we KNOW they are no-goodniks? Because thanks to Central Casting, the raven-haired dude is wearing the sweater of a Scandanavian whaler while in the middle of a forest. And worse yet, the fella on the left looks like a cross between a shaved, unctuous Dr. Phil and famed coattail-rider Clint Howard. With a touch of Jeffrey Tambor for good measure.

If only Rusty can fight them off with his magical kerchief before he flees this whole greasy affair.

AND LASTLY...

For nearly 20 years, the strip "Fusco Brothers" (drawn by the darned amiable J.C. Duffy, judging by our conversation some years back) has played coy about the species-dom of the white-furred, heavy-lidded smart aleck of a companion named Axel. Lo these many years later, the question has remained unanswered: Is he a dog or a wolverine?

Well, this Thursday, the Fusco clan promises to answer the riddle. Until then, though, you can go to their site and place your guess.

Me, I haven't made up my mind yet. I'm still not ruling out Peripatetic Wombat.

By Michael Cavna  | March 16, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Reuben Awards: Congrats to 'Pearls,' 'Lio' & 'Cul de Sac'

Comments

The kid flunks uniform inspection.

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34282.pdf

And they call it a neckerchief, Chief!

Posted by: MSchafer | March 16, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea what polka dot means in Leather Bar Hanky Code, but I bet it has something to do with hanging around overly fussy nature writers.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the meta-comic within a meta-comic is (IMHO) more nearly characteristic of Pirandello than Escher, but no matter. The fact is that even though "Pearls without Swine" is a horrible thought, it is still preferable to "Washington Post without Judge Parker".

Posted by: seismic-2 | March 16, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I think that Rusty from "Mark Trail" and Winky from "Brewster Rockit" are the same person.

Posted by: dstrachan | March 17, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Michael,
Thanks, but I am no longer darned amiable.
I'm now damned cranky.

Posted by: JCDuffy1 | March 18, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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