Thursday, July 29, 2010
Two Minutes with Stephan Pastis
You need to know a few things going into today's Two-Minute Comic-Con Interview with Stephan Pastis, former lawyer, fellow Harvey Award nominee, and creator of the very successful syndicated comic strip "Pearls Before Swine."
First, Stephan and I coincidentally live in the same city. We also coincidentally live in the same neighborhood. In fact, our homes coincidentally have exactly the same floorplan except his is a mirror image of mine. We even coincidentally work in the same room of our respective houses. For me, visiting Stephan is like traveling to a Bizarro universe where left is right, right is wrong, up is down, and cartoonists earn enough to live on.
When Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow came out last summer, I had the idea of hosting a live webcast "virtual launch party" to celebrate. I figured I'd show off the book, do some drawing, maybe take some Q&A, and I invited Stephan to drop by as a Very Special Guest. He said he'd be happy to do it, on the condition that he could be the Worst Very Special Guest Ever. He was as good as his word. Stephan brought beer, Cheetos, balloons, a paddleball, and a blatantly disruptive attitude to the party, and made it a . . . magical . . . evening.
With that background, here are two minutes with Stephan Pastis. See you on the other side.
Not everyone knows that Stephan works part-time for Creative Associates, the studio that oversees the "Peanuts" empire built by Charles Schulz. Cartoonist Paige Braddock, who makes a cameo in the Two-Minute Interview, is Creative Associates' creative director. That explains why they both participated in a Comic-Con panel on "Peanuts at 60." (As I mentioned in my post-Con post, I tried to get in to watch that panel but the room was over capacity, which was nice to see.) The new animated special that Stephan co-wrote is the upcoming "Happiness is a Blanket, Charlie Brown," which will feature Linus.
The idea of the man who created the cynical, misanthropic Rat putting words into the mouth of the wise and sensitive Linus unnerves me. But then, Stephan also created the wise Goat and sensitive Pig, so perhaps he has it in him after all. He is a man of hidden talents. He's also a good guy, but don't tell him I said so. I'll surprise him with it at 9 a.m. next Sunday.
Tomorrow: my last Two-Minute Comic-Con Interview. Don't look so relieved.