STEPHAN PASTIS’s BIG ‘FAILURE’: ‘Pearls’ cartoonist’s new kids’ book is poised for success

STEPHAN PASTIS has a weak spot for blind spots.

The creator of the popular “Pearls Before Swine” comic, like most cartoonists, has his favorite comedic twists and tricks. So when he set out to write his first children’s book, he thought about two of his favorite fictional characters: the quirky and quixotic Ignatius J. Reilly from Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces,” and self-deluded middle manager David Brent, as played by Ricky Gervais on the original “The Office.”


Stephan Pastis (Susan Young Photography)

The result in kid-lit form is his new character Timmy Failure, a “defective” boy detective who, in his impassioned hunt for clues, proves utterly clueless. The results are very funny, yet writing for Timmy comes with its own writing challenges.

“I have an unreliable narrator,” Pastis says of the title character in the new book, “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made.” “I have to remind myself every chapter: He gets everything wrong.”

“Timmy Failure” hits bookstores and online shelves today. To read Comic Riffs’ full article on Pastis and his new ad­ven­ture as a first-time author of youth books, click HERE.


WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: Comic strip artist Stephan Pastis' first book for kids "Timmy Failure, Mistakes Were Made.” (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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