Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #125: Pearls Falls Fast by Stephan Pastis

Pearls Falls Fast is the seventh treasury-sized -- which means a large-format trade paperback with three dailies or a single color Sunday to a page -- collection of Stephan Pastis's syndicated strip Pearls Before Swine, which has been running for about ten years now.

(Interestingly, I seem to have at least written a little bit about every prior treasury: Sgt. Piggy's Lonely Hearts Club Comic; Lions and Tigers and Crocs, Oh My!; The Crass Menagerie; Pearls Sells Out; Pearls Blows Up; and Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out. Nearly as interesting is that either Pastis or his publisher no longer thinks readers can find his books if they don't have "Pearls" in the title.)

As usual, one treasury book contains about eighteen months worth of cartoons: in this case, from the end of February 2011 through the beginning of September 2012. And this book is a lot like the prior collections: Pastis's drawing skills are acceptable, but he's not going to thrill any art-lovers; his complicated puns are as Byzantinely pointless as ever; his annotations are generally interesting and germane; and his characters behave in the ways we expect, because this strip has been running for ten years. I think there's not quite as much death and pure gloom in Pearls these days as there was in the early days, but it can still be a pretty dark strip: about death and sadness and nastiness...and, more and more, about the character "Stephan Pastis" and how his strip is full of lame ideas.

If you've never heard of this strip, check it out online -- or in your local paper, if you're Luddite or lucky enough to both have one and have Pearls in it -- and then buy a book or two if you really like it. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: when there's something you like that comes to you for free, you need to find ways to throw a little money to the creators, to help make sure it keeps coming to you.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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