Hookah Pipes, Duck Mistakes and Spoilers

My Sunday strip is almost guaranteed to raise complaints, despite the fact that I went out of my way in the Friday strip to mention that these pipes are used in the Middle East to smoke tobacco.


(Warning: don’t read this next part if you don’t want me to give away some of the stuff that’s going to happen with Guard Duck in upcoming strips.)

Moreover, today’s strip contains a big goof.  Guard Duck is supposed to be gone from Rat and Pig’s house for awhile, going through his dark days following the break-up with Maura.   As you’ll see in the next couple weeks, he is living somewhere else now, drinking by himself and miserable.  Then I was going to reintroduce him back into Rat and Pig’s life  triumphantly a few months from now (in a strip I’ve already drawn). 

But  lo and behold, I look at today’s strip and see that he has somehow popped back into Rat and Pig’s life, screwing everything up.   Ah, the perils of long plotlines.  Remind me to never write a novel.

Now I have to figure out a way to separate him from Rat and Pig again.  Either that, or I need you all to erase today’s strip from your collective memory.  Since I’m not that smart, I will depend on the latter.

59 thoughts on “Hookah Pipes, Duck Mistakes and Spoilers

  1. Hey babe,
    Don’t sweat it too much , after all..it’s a fricking Comic strip for chrisssake! lol..and after all…you HAVE to stir up the pot every now and then..keep the readers on their toes!
    It could be a “hookah induced” dream ….All this strip reminded me of was the one peanuts strip with them looking at the coulds , “I see a duckie….”
    remember?…lol But man, you drew it SOOOOOOOOO nicely! well done!
    Anyway, dont for get the chesire cat popping in there sometime..HAHAHAH
    later gater,

  2. He was visiting for a moment. He just dropped in to say hi and was caught up in event that was portrayed.

    (Marvel No-Prize winner here. 😉 )

  3. Everyone seems to love the new strip (including me), so in my opinion you should keep with your original idea for the progression of the Guard Duck story line but introduce it as a flash back.

    Alternatively, you could make one separate strip where pig asks guard duck what he’s been doing all this time… that is, assuming you don’t have this covered in the future strip.

    Either way – flash back. Minimal effort – maximum clean-up.

  4. I have found that often Sunday comics are completely unrelated to the weekly strip theme that is happening. I was just thinking about this before I was checking out my favorites on comics.com today… kinda creepy. But of course, yours is kinda related as the hookah was in Friday’s, so a little harder to claim that.

  5. Aw,don’t worry. Alot of comics with a weekly story line break from it with the Sunday strip, then carry on as usual during the week. Don’t sweat it.

  6. I was cracking up this morning when i read it, because I realized the mistakes you made. I say don’t worry about it. Those guys who can’t take Rat smoking a hookah pipe can go back to their Garfield.

  7. nice! this is a real pickle that Pastis is in, but he could just change this for the better and just invent an artistic Croc. I was wondering why guard duck wasn’t drinking himself stupid in france. Since this is a comic, everything is possible.

  8. the next strip could be pastis fighting the artistic croc that screwed up the strip, setting the record straight.

  9. This has got to be one of the best PBS plot lines ever. Comics like this one is how I got hooked on PBS. Keep it up.

  10. I think the “suspension of disbelief” applies to comics. I’m fairly observant, and the appearance of Guard Duck didn’t phase me in the least. Not to mention that the cartoon kicks butt – made my Sunday morning!

  11. thats funny. i can’t remeber the strip that well even though i read it just a few minutes ago. Maybe in your up coming strips rat could tie gaurd duck to a rocket and send him to the moon! thats an ok idea but, it needs work.
    Love, cartoonie

  12. Cartoon Boy, I’d love to comment on what you just wrote, but I’m laughing too hard. I have BreezyMoments, could you just have had a PastisMoment? BTW, your drawing has gotten much better! 🙂

    BTW, a BreezyMoment is when you really screw up bad, it’s totally your fault and no matter what you do or say really doesn’t make any difference! *LOL*

  13. ‘I will depend on the former’. ‘Latter’ means you’re relying on the ‘collective memory’ part of your plan.

  14. meh, i watch Lost, so characters being where they aren’t supposed to be is no big deal. this is the funniest strip i have read in a while. thank goodness for the interwebs, none of my local papers carry PBS.

  15. I wouldn’t worry about it. I noticed that Sunday strips of Bloom County were often out of the continuity.

    If it’s good enough for Berkeley Breathed it’s good enough…. hell, it’s actually too good for you.

  16. Hey Steph…Ya NUT! The answer is right in front of you, and was obvious to me when I saw guard duck here today instead of being an assh@!e to people in Paris. He “UnSeparated”. If you can Undie characters at will, you can sure as heck transport them instantly across vast distances and pull them into whatever plot lines suite your need for the here and now. Verily verily I say unto you, Thou art the God of this Pearls Universe indeed!!!!

  17. I think we can handle a slight storyline inconsistency, especially if it helps you cling to your sanity. It’s especially forgivable as a Sunday strip… just look at Mark Trail and The Phantom! They don’t even try to be consistent on Sundays. I applaud the extra effort to tie a Sunday strip into the weekday plotlines.

  18. Solving the problem of having Guard Duck in the cartoon is not a big problem. Just explain that Guard Duck is a figment of Rat and Pig’s imagination from too much Hookah usage. As Jimmy Buffet once crooned: “I spent four lonely days in a brown heavy haze…”. The continuing sage of Lil Guard Duck should be a blast to read in the next few weeks!!

  19. When you get the chance, sneak in a strip or two that Rat’s simply hallucenating Guard Duck (and maybe a few other characters).

    Quick and easy solution d:

    Excellent and funny strip, btw 🙂

  20. I’m not offended with you forgetting Guard Duck was gone, because the joke worked really well. It would help to have the Duck disappear for a time now. Then the easiest and cheapest way to explain his return is to have Rat or someone blame you, since you are an occasional recurring character.

  21. This actually raises a question I’ve had for a while:

    I’ve always had the impression, especially from what I’ve read on Scott Adams’ blog, that Sunday strips and daily strips are not synchronized, due to the way authors are required to stockpile them in advance, or something to that effect. So there is little to no effort, usually, to coordinate the plot between the two.

    But Pearls is the only strip I read that keeps the plot synchronized smoothly between the Dailys and the Sundays.

    For what it’s worth to you, I’ve been trained by other comics to not try to link Sunday strips into the plot of the Dailys. Unless it’s blatantly obvious that the Sunday strip is supposed to play into the plot, I don’t assume it does until the following Monday strip confirm it. So no need to apologize, do whatever you want on Sundays.

  22. Sundays are stand alone strips and exist in their own time and space. I don’t think they are ever considered as part of any existing long term narrative. That’s how I’d explain it to myself.

    The reality is, you’re slipping, Pastis. Get it together. “Fred Basset” is looking better everyday.

  23. The pipe is the least of my worries in this strip, but at least I feel better knowing that Pastis has a lot of us crazed fans in his corner.

    Stephan Pastis is our Attaturk!

  24. Hey, I like goofs!
    I was just happy to see the Duck again!!!! (Guard Duck rules!!!!!)
    And usually collectibles get even more valuable, if they are flawed. So keep the flaws at a minimum!
    You’re only human. Mistakes happen.

  25. Hello Stephan,

    I have been a fan of your comic strip for years, and was pleasantly surprised when I ran into your blog a while ago. Compelled to write my first comment following your Sunday strip. Why do you think it is almost guaranteed to raise complaints? Nothing is wrong with it in my opinion, and I live in Turkey. 🙂 I am especially impressed with your drawing of Hagia Sophia. It’s pretty cool!

    Smoking nargile (hookah in Turkish) has become the latest trend among teens and young adults, and it is considered cooler than smoking cigarettes. Of course, it can never replace the latter, but I often see young girls and boys sitting in bars, and smoking hookah. I think they think it is fun. I would not know being a non-smoker myself. 🙂 There are even special hookah bars for this purpose, because you cannot find them everywhere. In short, no worries about your strip. 😉

    By the way, translating comic strips is not easy at all, but if you ever consider having your strips translated and published in Turkey, pls let me know. I am a translator, and would be more than happy to introduce this hilarious strip to fellow Turks. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  26. Stephan, thanks for Pearls! My world would be a worse place without it. Guard Duck is my favorite character. He’s kind of a composite of several of my buddies from my Army days. Why not have him wander into a C-130 bound for Afganistan and kick some Taliban butt with his trusty RPG. Then the Army could send him home to Pig when his tour was over. Then, back to guard duty, which he did so well!

  27. I must be too innocent. It actually never occurred to me before reading this blog entry that Rat was smoking anything other than tobacco. The Mid-Eastern references had made it pretty clear that this was a tobacco pipe. Although come to think of it, the no-sense-of-humor crowd has a lot of trouble with just tobacco these days.

    As for inconsistencies between this Sunday strip and the rest of the Pearls world, it’s pretty common for Sunday strips to have separate story lines from the rest-of-the-weekly ones, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

  28. Ahhh, continuity! It’s destroyed many a cartoonist. Think of Garry Trudeau! Up there wherever he is, curled into a ball under his desk, trying to remember who is related to whom….

  29. Perhaps this is Guard Duck’s evil twin? Of course the problem with that is that the evil twin always has a goatee, which this Guard Duck does not. I always used to think I had an evil twin named Duane, but then I realized that I have a goatee, which can only mean one thing…

  30. I’ve always figured that Sunday strips take place in a different continuity. They almost never match whatever strip you’ve been following (like Monty LOL). If anyone complains – stick ’em in the box! You might need a bigger box though.

  31. Stephan,

    The last panel of Rat from Friday’s strip was priceless (although if you ever drew it bigger and priced it, I’d probably buy it)!
    If you are ever down north in SF and want some great hookah, it’d be a pleasure to serve you at my penthouse in SOMA.

  32. I just realized I said “down north” … for some reason I find it impossible to conceptualize San Francisco as being “south” of anywhere in California, especially after living in SoCal.

  33. I’ve always seen the Sunday strip as the “bonus round” that doesn’t necessarily have to coincide with the weekly run. The “Sunday Dimension” has long been theorized by physicists of renown although not currently adopted by Texas school systems. So I’m thinking you’re safe – except for the Lone Star State.

    Then again Rat can be fiercely jealous and could take great affront to Guard Duck’s fallacious attempt at Hagia Sofia – thus kicking his smokin’ ass to the curb where he can wallow in his own misery. Guard Duck can simply state that “he has yet begun to defile himself” and must move along to self-deprecating behavior.

    Or else I’ll just comply and ignore the lapse.


  34. What’re you talking about? Guard Duck isn’t actually there, Rat and Pig are just hallucinating because of all the smoke.

  35. Well you really screwed up.

    Looks like you’re going to have to ask for a bailout.

  36. Didn’t you once have Rat sell Pig for $1 million, then have everything right again the next day…in a daily strip?

    Frankly, I wouldn’t sweat it.

    Looking forward to reading about the Guard Duck’s exploits in the upcoming weeks.

  37. Just because he lives somewhere else doesn’t mean Pig hasn’t had him over to visit… I’m sure Rat wouldn’t invite him over (unless he needed military firepower). No big deal…

  38. Hey Spider, does Stan Lee still give out the Marvel “No-Prize”??

    Jeez, he’s been doing that since the late 60s….

    I never earned one…but then I never wrote in.

  39. Fast Trains. Very fast trains. Maybe he forgot his bazooka.
    Coming from a cartoonist who ‘un-died’ characters, including himself, I’m sure a little continuity issue isn’t going to be a problem. I mean, could it be any worse than Rat blowing up trying to smile and you ditching a whole week’s worth of strips to explain it?
    All I have to say it that duck has had some long practice sessions. I like it.

  40. Chiming in late, because I just found the blog.

    As soon as I saw this strip my immediate reaction was “yay, Guard Duck’s back from France”. I wasn’t sure whether to expect subsequent strips to explain his return, or whether we were to simply take it in stride. But it’s disappointing to learn that it was a mistake, and that he’s still gone.

  41. Guard duck got kicked from France for being involved in those last protests. Then, he decided to go back an enroll in the French Foreign Legion

  42. i thought guard duck was out for a few months. but after today’s strip i think Steph opted for an early return. all the better. i really like that crazy duck.

  43. How come LGD has 4 feathers an waterfouler has 5.
    IS this the PBS dr jerkyll an mr hyde arc

  44. Hi, I love smoking hookah pipes. smoking hookah pipes is safer than smoking cigarettes. But nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re using a shisha or hookah pipe to smoke fruit-scented tobacco it’s not safe and actually dangerous to your health.

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