I May Be Contacting a Lawyer

For those of you wondering if I’ve seen today’s Family Circus, the answer is yes.  In it, creator Jeff Keane mocks Pearls Before Swine.

If you haven’t yet seen the strip, I present it below.  Please take a close look at the book in Daddy Keane’s hands.


If you can’t read it, the book’s title is “Pig and Rat Get Lost.”  And it bores the Keane kids so much, they leave the room.

I am now thinking about filing a lawsuit against the Keane family for their appropriation of my characters’ names.  But having been a lawyer, I know the hardship involved in a protracted legal fight.  So instead of continuing this blog entry, I need a few moments to think. While I do, here are some random Pearls strips to entertain you.


82 thoughts on “I May Be Contacting a Lawyer

  1. It’s obvious from the strips you posted that Mr. Keane has an unreasonable and irrational vendetta against Pearls. I say you send in Guard Duck.

  2. Wow Stephan! That’s amazing you thought up & drew all those comics in just a couple hours since today’s Family Circus reference. It’s almost as if you knew it was coming, and had prepared the response! LOL. Good stuff. Classic!

  3. Hmm…you may have a case. By the way, “Hasta la vista, Jeffy,” might be my favorite Pearls gag ever. I had tears in my eyes laughing at it.

  4. When I got up this morning the first thing I did was read the comics. When I got to Family Circus, the first things I noticed was the title of the book, which had one of my favorite comic strip characters on it. The second, was that when the kids left the room, the thing they were watching on TV was, The Simpsons.

  5. I don’t think thi is the first time he’s (Bil Keane) messed with Pearls. Right?

  6. Hm. If I had any idea what his genuine attitude toward your strip was there’d be a good way to gauge this. Is Keane really without a sense of humor on this score? Sad.

  7. Heh heh ! Man, a few more of these and you could probably bring out a special edition ‘Pearls meets FC’ collection !!!

  8. I was wondering how long it would take him to get you back. That just made my day.

  9. It’s obviously a message, but how much of a message is it?

    Is “Pig and Rat Get Lost” just a way to incorporate Pig and Rat into a children’s book title, or is he saying, “Pig, Rat: Get lost”?

    Is he doing more than just taking a jab at your strip, is he also telling you to bug off?


  11. Hey I think you should make rat reading a book that says jeffy’s adventure then have rat say the book sucks then throw in some random punch line because you can do that kind of stuff right?

  12. hey guys, keane did a funny one. pastis says so on facebook that they are all in it together, so its ok i guess!
    btw, luvd the strips..!!!

  13. In the future, you should publish a collection of all of the “Pearls” strips that lampoon (or even pay homage to) other comic strips. I would buy it!

  14. I think Rat should sue Keene. Hahaha there’s so much potential in this situation!

  15. How dare he! This is how he repays your support of his strip….by mocking? Sad, Sad and shocking. Shame on you Mr. Keane. I’m sure Dolly and Billy are both crying over this.

  16. I think the problem issues started when “Bil” decided to drop that extra “L” on the end of his first name. so, so, so… unamerican.

    therefore any retaliation is worthwhile.

  17. how long before all-out comic war breaks out?

    forget about marvel comics: civil war. we’re looking at syndicated comics civil war.

    Who’s side are you on?

  18. If you get Keane in court and can manage to call up Not Me as a prosecution witness, you’ll win over the judge and jury right there.

  19. I say you behave like a real lawyer..serve papers on them, get the sheriff in there. Tie them up forever in court with discovery depos, etc.

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  21. I presume the lawsuit is a jest — wasn’t there an interview somewhere saying that you and Bill Keane are (or were) friends? Besides, if you keep poking fun at Family Circus (not that I am a fan of Family Circus or anything), now or later, you’d get poked back.

  22. Made my day! (Everyone at work thinks I’m diligently squinting into my computer monitor at work-related items, but I’m actually taking a break to read the teeny, snort-inducing text of the _Family Circus_ spoofs. It’s a win/win!)

  23. I’ve identified some marks in the word balloons over everyone’s heads which I believe may be writing. I’m trying to line up some time on a scanning electron microscope to see if I can confirm my hypothesis.


  24. Payback time Pastis! Eat this! 🙂

    Next, I’ll get the kids some nice croc boots, and a zebra jacket.

  25. I’m surprised that guy would do that. I mean, he writes a comic about kids. And it’s not even a funny strip. It’s too cutesy.

    Do you comic guys have it out for each other, or is it fair game to poke at each other? Because it was done so badly in his strip, I barely noticed it until you pointed it out. I actually remember reading that and thinking “Wow, that was bad even for this comic.” You, however, do an excellent job. He reminds me of a kid who can’t give a good comeback. “Oh yeah? Well, uh, maybe YOU should go take a bath, because you stink!”

  26. Upon closer investigation of the book “Pig and Rat Get Lost” in the 7/19 Family Circus comic, there is a gray mass on the cover below the title, which appears to be a rat that looks nothing like the character Rat. The rat on the cover of the book walks on all four legs and has ears that are more in scale with the common house rat. Rat, as we all know, is bipedal and has ears more similar to another Disney character we all know and loathe. Therefore, it would appear Bil Keane isn’t ripping Pearls but instead is making a socio-economic commentary on the preference of video media by today’s younger generation. That said, this is sadly the funniest Family Circus strip I’ve ever seen.

  27. If you go to familycircus.com and click “Files” you will see Bil Keane giving homage to other cartoonists you have lampooned his strip, however, PEARLS is not listed. WTF? Bil must be on board with an enemy syndicate or something. However, I’m still laughing at the future Jeffy with a beard. That’s hilarious…thanks for revisiting some great classic material.

  28. I think this is the funniest ‘Family Circus’ ever. I’ve been noticing that over the last few years more and more cartoonists are becoming much more edgy in their work, and I think that they are just following your lead. Good work Stephan, you’ve single handedly made the funnies funny again.

  29. Even better when followed up by today’s efforts to save the newspaper – Keane bashes Pearls and Pastis reaches out to everyone, makes his look even worse

  30. Looks more like Family Circus is just responding to your constant jabs at it. I don’t see how Bil Keane is instigating anything.

  31. It made me sad, because PBS only is shown Monday-Saturday in my town paper. (Yes I contacted them, and there was never a reply.)PBS was in Get Fuzzy the week before and Lio a few months ago. It’s genius on Stephan Pastis’ part, too, but it still made me feel blue.

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  33. I say give Bill Keane a Don King hairstyle….along with the duck. 🙂 Great stuff!

  34. Yes there’s a pattern. “Bil” Keane and “Jef” Mallet both taking pop shots at you. Clearly just jealousy as they shortened their names to move in on the three lettered names of the great Rat and Pig.

  35. The “Hasta la Vista, Jeffy” was one of the first Pearls strip I ever read.

  36. Plus, I wonder why he was saying Pearls Before Swine was boring (HIS strip is boring). The Family Circus parodies you do aren’t saying the strip is bad, just using it to contrast Pearls’ darkness.

  37. “Family Circus grows up” is still one of my favorite comics of yours 🙂

  38. They are still coming at you in Family Circus!!! Today’s Family Circus is clearly a cry for attention. I think that they are trying to recapture their youth riding on your young and hip coattails. (It is amazing what being over 40 does to your perspective on “youth”). Today’s FC was actually pretty *&%^ing funny only because it was a clear shot at PBS’s frequent use of punctuation and typography.

    By the way, it was nice to see Andy back in the strip! Keep up the great work.

  39. Bill Keane is complimenting you. Now if your humor was appreciated and enjoyed by Billy, Dolly, Barfy and Jeffy, THAT would be an insult.

  40. Most everyone here seems to have missed the point that Mr Keane and Mr Pastis seem to be friends. And being comrades in humor and comics is sure fodder for their craft.
    Kudos to you both!
    (and, PS, PLEASE revisit the Isla Stupida…and pre-emptive strikes on stupidosity…you sucked me and my coworkers in as fans with that stuff!!!)

  41. It is on w/FC. Today they are rippin’ on the crocs eating KFC. You must have really made them mad!!!

  42. ha ha ha! I watched you talk about that at the comic con! I wonder if Keane was laughing?

  43. Ironically, the father remains engrossed in the more sophisticated political complexities of Rat and Pig. It is the immature and attention-span deficit brats who run off (as MyDog has noted), bored. I actually see it as an homage to Pearls rather than a dig at it. Frankly I know few 5-year-olds with the political sophistication to appreciate Pearls. Maybe I just run with the wrong crowd of 5-year-olds.

  44. I remember e-mailing Stephen about the Family Circus stuff, and he says Keanes likes and usually pre-approves the Pearls rips. So in fact, this is a shout out of the most encouraging kind. I love the friendly cross-strip rivalry Stephen has encouraged on the newspaper page.

  45. Anyone else notice the Mr. Keane comment??? I think this means war!! One that I’ll be excited to follow up on…even if it is Family Circus lol (no offense to likers of that strip, I just mainly cannot find anything funny about it, and the cute-ness has been repetetive lately…except for this week… 🙂 )

  46. Thanks. I needed that. I really enjoy the Fred Allen/Jack Benny quality to your relationship with Jeff Keane, if that is an accurate analogy. 😛

  47. No, we can’t “… take a close look at the book in Daddy Keane’s hands…” because you’re too stupid to post a a readable image.

  48. If you read an earlier Get Fuzzy with Robs dad, Someone calls and Bucky says its just some jerk, The name on the phone is Stephan Pastis

  49. y’know, there was a comic with the sister saying to the brother “you didn’t brush your teeth, i still smell peanut butter!” on family circus. if that’s supposed to be a joke, then the chicken crossing the road joke should be on saturday night live.

  50. As the old adage says: The only bad publicity is no publicity.” This looks like a win-win for Pearls and Family Circus.

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  52. I thought yesterday’s strip was great. Where “Mr. Death” agrees to wear a Pro-Life shirt. Very good.

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