Here are this week's Pearls Before Swine...
Now, with only three panels to work with, it's difficult to provide a lot of backstory as well as including a joke. So what Pastis usually does is spread the backstory out over the week's strips. You'll note that he doesn't actually identify the characters until the Wednesday strip and, even then, he doesn't call Peter by name, only "the guy from B.C."
With Andy Capp, he smartly writes the jokes around the character's near-perpetual drunkeness and generally abrasive demeanor, but they don't require any particular knowledge of the character. "Gone with the Wino" is a fair enough joke on its own merits; that it's coming from Andy only adds some extra dimension to the gag.
With Peter, though, his appearances here make no sense. I mean, if you're familiar with B.C. and know how Johnny Hart did a fair amount of proselytizing in his later years of the strip, it kind of fits, but even then the "good news" line comes across as something of a non-sequitur. And then the "Gone with the Jesus" makes no sense at all, given that A) all but one of the letters are in place and B) there's not enough space for "Jesus" in the first place!
I can kind of see where Pastis was going with this, and he does a fair job emulating the differing artistic styles, but even in the gag-a-day format, you need to provide some basic storytelling and provide readers with sufficient context for a character's actions.
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