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Stephan Pastis
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    (January 16, 1968- )
    Born in San Marino, California
    Created the comic strip ‘Pearls Before Swine’
    Wrote a series of ‘Timmy Failure’ books for young readers
    Won the Reuben Award for cartoonist of the year (2015)
    He started as an attorney, but quickly grew to hate ‘the anxiety and tension it produced.’
    When he spotted ‘Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz having coffee and introduced himself by blurting out, ‘Hi, Sparky, my name’s Stephan Pastis and I’m a lawyer,’ Schulz initially thought he had come to serve a subpoena on him.
    Several early ideas for strips were rejected by the syndicates.
    He was so afraid of further rejection that he sat on ‘Pearls’ for two years.
    He said, ‘People say that they like my strip's simplicity, but I'm doing the best I can to just to get up to that level. I'm not dumbing the art down.’
    He drew a pair of strips featuring a llama named Ataturk, who is a United Nations diplomat who spits on the other diplomats. The Turkish ambassador to the US demanded an apology, claiming the strips mocked Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (2007).
    He began drawing in grade school to pass the time when bronchitis would force him to spend up to a month in bed.
    After the death of a friend who was a ‘free spirit’ and encouraged him to be the same, he submitted ‘Pearls’ to three syndicates (1999).
    United Features decided to run ‘Pearls’ on its website to gauge reader response.
    After ‘Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams endorsed ‘Pearls,’ online interest took off and United decided to run the strip in newspapers.
    He frequently pays tribute to his favorite comics – including ‘Peanuts,’ ‘Bloom County,’ ‘The Far Side,’ ‘Dilbert’ and ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ – in his strip.
    He got ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ creator Bill Watterson to come out of retirement and collaborate with him on a week’s worth of ‘Pearls’ strips (2014).

Credit: C. Fishel

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