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March 1, 2013
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'Pearls Before Swine' takes a turn on the comics page

An award-winning comic strip in 650 newspapers worldwide and drawn by a cartoonist nominated for his industry’s top award each year from 2009-2011 returns to The News-Review today.

“Pearls Before Swine” is the latest comic offered as a replacement for “Cul de Sac,” which was discontinued in September when cartoonist Richard Thompson was forced to retire because of Parkinson’s disease.

News-Review readers got a taste of “Pearls Before Swine” during a trial run in 2009. Because it’s been difficult to find a comic satisfying to readers, it seemed time to sample this wildly popular, but off-beat comic strip.

Drawn by former attorney Stephan Pastis, “Pearls” tells the tale of two friends: the megalomaniacal Rat who thinks he knows it all and the slow-witted Pig who doesn’t know any better. Pig is protected by a violent, albeit delusional Guard Duck.

Together with Zebra, the activist, and Goat, the reluctant brain, and the predatory Zeeba Zeeba Eata Fraternity of Crocodiles, Rat and Pig are said to offer “caustic commentary on humanity’s quest for the attainable,” according to its syndicator Universal Uclick.

The strip has been described as sly, subversive, smart and shocking. It draws praise from Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert,” who says it’s one of the few comics that make him laugh out loud.

“Pearls before Swine” began in 2002 and the following year was named Best Newspaper Comic. It garnered the award again in 2006. Two hundred more newspaper have begun publishing the strip since The News-Review considered it in 2009.

Since losing “Cul de Sac,” readers have had a look at “Baby Blues,” “Flo & Friends” and “Arlo and Janis.” Based on the readers who have called and written, neither “Flo” nor “Arlo and Janis” should be included in the future. “Baby Blues” had a fair number of fans, but not an overwhelming number. Upon reflection of the samples, readers may reconsider.

Readers who want to offer their thoughts on “Pearls Before Swine” or the other comics we’ve sampled can leave a voice message at 541-957-4230 or email comics@nrtoday.com.

The comic strip will appear for at least 30 days because it takes some time to grasp the story line and get to know the characters. Comments can be left anytime during the sample period.

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The News-Review Updated Mar 4, 2013 01:53PM Published Mar 4, 2013 08:54AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.