As I mentioned in a recent post, (Terry and the Pirates: Death and Rememberence) death in the daily comics is rare. And while it sometimes occurs in adventure/drama strips, death in humor comics is almost unheard of. But that's exactly what happened in Pearls Before Swine. And Stephen Pastis' handling of it fit quite well into the quirky worldview of the strip.
The sequence involves Andy, a dog who's escaped from his master (note the broken chain hanging from his neck) to be with his dying father. Although the father isn't particularly interested in seeing him -- especially when his game shows are on the TV. It's an experience I think many readers with aging parents can relate to. Andy wants to talk to his dad and tie up loose ends, something his father doesn't want to do.
Overall, the situation was handled humorously, as in the sequence below (click on image to enlarge).
But then the end comes. On Christmas day, this sequence appeared.
Pastis' understated simplicity delivered the message effectively. We feel sad for Andy.
The following day, this sequence was run. And the reader -- along with Andy -- reach some type of closure.
Most comic strips are content to deliver a gag a day. But the ones that deliver more -- like Pearls Before Swine -- are the ones that keep me reading every day.