Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis has been B-U-S-Y. On top of staying nearly a year ahead of his daily comics schedule, he's been wrapping writing a screenplay, seeing the sights of the Southern United States and preparing for his multi-city tour promoting the upcoming Pearls Hogs the Road: A Pearls Before Swine Treasury. Needless to say, he DOES NOT have time for a bunch of questions designed specifically to undermine his former-lawyer-like by-the-second schedule. So naturally, that's the approach we took with our interview.
And we were suitably punished.
It's the kind of sparring that benefits you, the reader, and we wouldn't have it any other way (because we... don't know how to do it any other way). Read on to learn a least a little about Pearls Hogs the Road, which you can preorder here, and the tour, which you can see a full list of dates for, here.
Stephan Pastis: …(laughs) 8.5. I would say 10 if you call me Stevie.
GC: Got it, thank you, Steven. You had some pretty big creator moments of mentorship early in your career. You met Charles Schulz before you started Pearls and a few years later Scott Adams endorsed you out of the blue and pointed his readers toward your then-new comic. Our research indicates that you've never helped anyone. This isn't a question, just an attempt at shame.
SP: (laughs) Well I’ve helped myself. And that counts for a lot.
GC: In real life, you’re much healthier than your comic avatar in Pearls. Is that like a Dorian Gray situation or do you just drink enough water and go to the gym?
SP: I wouldn’t know. I don’t pay them. I'm just a lazy cartoonist.
GC: You not only draw at work, you also perform live -- illustrating in front of crowds of people, to be captured on film and put online. Have you ever let the pressure get to you and missed a jump and gotten a compound fracture or anything? If no, why not?
SP: No injuries. I'm heavily protected by security, as most cartoonists are.
GC: You're a lifelong Californian, having lived in both the southern and northern regions. How will your state's inevitable collapse into the Pacific affect your legendary 9-month lead time on Pearls Before Swine?
SP: I see no reason why I can’t draw just as well as I do now from the center of an island. I don’t draw that well to begin with.
GC: On the back cover or one of the interior covers of the collection there’s a pic of you with a very sexy tattoo. Is this your only tattoo? Or are there more to be revealed in future collections?
SP: That is not my ass on the back cover of the book. I have a very fine ass.
GC: So you have a stunt ass, like many celebrities?
SP: I do. It’s a perk of being a syndicated cartoonist. Security and stunt asses.