Comic strip switcheroo

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The Comic strip switcheroo (also known as the Great Comics Switcheroonie or the Great April Fools' Day Comics Switcheroonie) was a massive practical joke in which several comic strip writers and artists, without the foreknowledge of their editors, traded strips for a day on April Fool's Day 1997. The Switcheroo was masterminded by comic strip creators Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, creators of the Baby Blues daily newspaper comic strip.

According to Brian Walker's book The Comics: Since 1945, forty-six different syndicated artists participated. Some of these switches were one for one (Mike Peters trading with Lynn Johnston, Scott Adams with Bil Keane, Jeff MacNelly with Mort Walker, etc.), while several comics did a multiple swap (including a thirteen-way swap). As well, one artist (Kevin Fagan) just swapped hands for the day, while the writer & artist for Sally Forth swapped roles for the day. Charles Schulz (creator of Peanuts) and Patrick McDonnell (creator of Mutts) were slated to do each other's strips, but backed out because one of them didn't think it was a good idea. There were no rules to speak of; each artist was permitted to do what he or she wanted.

The one-day experiment proved to be a success, garnering some publicity and being a harmless yet amusing prank played on the newspapers, the readers, and the comic syndicates.

While characters making guest appearances in other comic strips is not an unusual occurrence (Dan Piraro's Bizarro and Stephan Pastis' Pearls Before Swine do it often), this was the most ambitious in scale. As of 2005, the phenomenon persists in webcomics, where Internet cartoonists occasionally switch places with one another. Guest character tributes have also appeared since 1997, notably on May 27, 2000 and on October 30, 2005, both tributes to Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts.

On April 1, 2005, Stephan Pastis of Pearls Before Swine, Bill Amend of FoxTrot, and Darby Conley of Get Fuzzy all ran the same comic dialogue in their respective strips, but with their own core characters saying the lines.

Strips and creators involved[edit]

The April 1, 1997 comics were swapped as follows:

Other notes:

  • Kevin Fagan drew his creation Drabble using his left hand instead of his right
  • The artist and writer behind Sally Forth switched roles for a day.

The Mini-Switcheroo

  • A few years after the Switcheroo, Bill Amend (FoxTrot) made a Sunday strip in which Jason Fox, Andy Fox, Roger Fox, and Peter Fox changed looks: Baby Blues, Calvin and Hobbes (which had ended roughly 15 months before the original Switcheroonie), and Doonesbury were three of several parodied strips.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Zitz, Michael (April 1, 1997). "April Fools: This is some funny business". The Free Lance Star. p. D1. 

Further reading[edit]