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Comic Strip / The Wacky Adventures of Pedro

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Pedro as drawn by Tom Eaton.

"In my wildest dreams I never imagined I'd be aboard an alien spacecraft doing Abbott and Costello!"
Don Juan Pedro Ladino de Philmonte

The Wacky Adventures of Pedro was a comic published in Boys' Life (now Scout Life) magazine, documenting the exploits of their long-running mascot, Pedro the "Mailburro" (previously the star of short stories and one-panel strips shown in the Boys' Life letters column, Hitchin' Rack). Tom Eaton wrote and drew Wacky Adventures from 1990-2014. His run started out as page-long Slice of Life gag strips, but gradually sent Pedro on wacky adventures spanning everywhere from his hometown of Burropolis, to the far reaches of time and space. Stephen Gilpin took over the comic from January 2016-February 2022. His run retooled the series into a Work Com set mainly at the Boys'/Scout Life publishing office.

The Scout Life website has an archive of Pedro comics from The New '10s onward, while even older comics can be found in Google Books' collection of Boys' Life issues.

This comic contains examples of:

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    Pedro in General 
  • Ancestral Name: According to the Generational Saga "The Totally True Story of Pedro's Ancestors" (first published in 1958 as "Pedro -- My Story"), Don Juan is the abbreviated name of Pedro's first "foreburro" to reside in the United States, and Don Pedro the first to live in North America at all.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: In the time that passed since Boys' Life started recording Pedro's exploits (back in 1947), he's gone from being an apparently normal burro, to one who could stand on his hind legs, speak and write in English, and engage in human activities.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Pedro's friends don't think much of befriending a talking burro, but still doubt the stories of his outlandish Wacky Adventures.
  • Art Evolution: Pedro's design experienced gradual updates under Eaton, and another one after Gilpin replaced him.
  • Big Eater: Pedro eats and prepares a lot of plant-based foods.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite his many talents, Pedro still seems like a simpleton who takes his duties for the magazine progressively less seriously.
  • Civilized Animal: Aside from his eating habits and the occasional bray, Pedro talks and acts pretty human for a burro (though his boss wouldn't call the gluttonous slacker "civilized").
  • Dreadful Musician: Pedro's attempts at playing musical instruments annoy others.
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: Before The Wacky Adventures..., Pedro answered letters from Boys' Life readers on the Hitchin' Rack page, a feature that continued even after the comic began.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Pedro's made a number of interesting inventions over the years.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pedro usually only wears purple sweaters.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": "Don" was both a title applied to Pedro's Spaniard ancestors, and an abbreviation for "donkey".
  • Meaningful Name: Regarding the "Ladino de Philmonte" section of Pedro's full name: "Ladino" was a name given to his ancestor, Don Juan, for his fluency in various kinds of human language, translated in "Pedro — My Story" as both "One who speaks more than one language", and, "sly, shrewd, a big talker." "Philmonte" refers to Philmont Scout Ranch, where Pedro resided before getting shipped to Boys' Life.
  • New Job Episode: Pedro has had several short-lived side endeavors in addition to being the Boys' Life mailburro.
  • Odd-Shaped Panel: Neither Eaton nor Gilpin has a standard panel layout.
  • Older Than They Look: In response to readers who wonder how Pedro has worked at Boys' Life since 1947, Pedro explains that mailburros age more slowly than regular burros.
  • Overly Long Name: Pedro's full name seems like a mouthful.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: As Pedro's Anthropomorphic Shift progressed, he gained his purple sweaters, and lost a bridle.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Tumbleweed tacos, alfalfa milkshakes, and apparently any kind of ice cream. The oldest comics used hay as his favorite food instead.
  • Trash of the Titans: Pedro keeps his office very messy.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Pedro's Generational Saga has a "flunky" debunk some of his boasts.
  • World of Pun: This series sure loves its wordplay.

    Tom Eaton's Wacky Adventures 
  • Aborted Arc: A storyline in which Pedro jumped time periods with the Green Crystal of Time ran for eight stripsnote , the last of which takes place in an undisclosed time period. The comic then entered reruns for two monthsnote , then resumed with Pedro inexplicably back in modern-day Burropolis.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Pedro has some rather trippy, sometimes scary nightmares whenever he eats junk food too late at night.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Eaton's narration boxes and dialogue demonstrate a knack for this.
  • Alien Abduction: Eaton's first Pedro serial to run longer than a yearnote  had Pedro get abducted by aliens from the planet Zorg, who took his "I Am Great!" Song about being "The Great Deep Thinker" to mean he could solve an issue with their teleporter. Zorg turned to him again several years later, to try and stop their land from getting sold off and turned into sports fields. In between, Pedro found himself captured by several other alien tribes.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Many of the more benign aliens Pedro's met have an appreciation for American media, including Gilligan's Island and I Love Lucy.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Some of the aliens Pedro has met can speak English, but others require a translator. One set of comics plays with this by sending Pedro to an asteroid on which most of the aliens speak Wingdinglish, until he meets a Jive-talker who learns English from watching American TV shows and movies.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Pedro rarely needs a spacesuit on any of the planets he visits. One of his adventures even takes him to an asteroid with an air supply, and unique kinds of fruit trees.
  • Always Night: One Wacky Adventure sends Pedro to the Far End of the Universe, landing him in a city lit only by a few stars.note 
  • Author Appeal: Alien encounters, unrealistic inventions, and unusual transformations feature heavily here, as well as in the comics Eaton started producing for Cub Scouts beforehand (including Dink and Duff and Webelos Woody).
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Pedro gets chased off of Zorg before he can finish thwarting the efforts to convert the planet to sports fields.
  • Bad Moon Rising: Pedro's visit to the 31st century has him get abducted by aliens living on the Ruby Moon of Doom, who turn him and their other captors into robot slaves.
  • Beauty Contest: Pedro helps judge the "Miss Galactic Nebula" pageant on planet Owrplannit.
  • Camera Fiend: Eaton's final story arc sees Pedro take up wildlife photography as a hobby.note 
  • Cassandra Truth: Pedro's adventures become this when he can't find someone who believes his recollections of them.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Pedro has a mirror that can bring reflections to life, or open a portal to another dimension or time period. However, since it has nondescript technological equipment hooked up to it, it apparently doesn't count as a Magic Mirror.
  • Colony Drop: One storyline has Pedro divert an asteroid away from crushing the Earth.note 
  • Cool Plane: Pedro has his own aircraft, the Burro Blaster Buggy.
  • Detachable Lower Half: A time-jumping adventure inspired by readers' fanart has a crack in Pedro's mirror-turned-time machine send his bottom half to AD 2 Tarentum, Italy, and his top half to AD 71,000 IO.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Pedro has a three-layered one as a result of napping in his own dreams.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Pedro falls into a funk after diverting the aforementioned asteroid, but returning to Earth with no tangible proof of his accomplishment. His friends cheer him up with a special medal.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
    • Pedro's snout became more wrinkled the longer that Eaton drew him.
    • Emeralda Von Snootz's nose shrinks after she becomes a more active participant in Pedro's adventures.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Emeralda Von Snootz, the richest woman in Burropolis, becomes one of the first people to purchase some of Pedro's green, plant-flavored ice cream, after she decides to throw a "green party". When Pedro gets whisked to Owrplannit on the way to the party, Emeralda dons an alien disguise, and wins the Miss Galactic Nebula pageant, in order to reclaim "Burro Boy" and the ice cream.note  Pedro himself also becomes this after his green ice cream becomes an intergalactic success.
  • Evil Twin: Pedro's efforts in constructing a mirror portal turned his reflection into a troublemaking Mirror Self named Ordep. Inverted when the mirror later turns Ordep's reflection into the goody-goody Erpod (who later experienced a Sudden Name Change to Derpo, originally an alternate alias of Ordep).
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Sometimes Eaton reused gags from comics that the then-current generation of Boys' Life readers seemed unlikely to have read themselves.
  • Forced Transformation: Several Wacky Adventures make Pedro take on new forms.
  • For the Evulz: Ordep usually precedes his evil plans by carrying out miscellaneous misdeeds, such as tormenting the rest of the Boys' Life staff.
  • Genie in a Bottle: Pedro summons a "Cleanie" to clean his office, but the Neat Freak gets carried away.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-universe, Pedro struggles selling his green ice cream on Earth, but he finds more success in selling it to aliens from other planets.
  • Gladiator Games: Pedro gets mistaken for a gladiator while in Ancient Rome.note 
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Eaton only made Pedro wear pants on select occasions.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Eaton's serials often do this. One Wacky Adventure lasted from August 2001 all the way to March 2005 just because Eaton kept changing the plot (though each story does flow into another relatively well).
  • Heli-Critter: An overdose of Powerup Food causes Pedro's ears to stretch and rotate like helicopter blades.note 
  • Humongous Mecha: "Pedrobot" fights another giant robot, Kolossus, on the Ruby Moon of Doom.
  • Identical Grandson: Pedro's Great-Great-Great Grandson Podor looks essentially like Pedro with a Zeerust-style outfit.
  • In Medias Res:
    • The first storyline with Ordep begins after he has already replaced Pedro and started causing mischief. The first comic doesn't reveal Ordep until the last panel, while the following one provides a Whole Episode Flashback to his escape from the mirror and locking up of Pedro.
    • A storyline about Pedro getting roped into Ordep's scheme to scare a distant planet into submission also begins after Ordep has already started frightening the locals.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Ordep hatches a world domination scheme that involves shrinking everyone else in the world, including Pedro.note 
  • Instant Costume Change: Pedro creates "Digital Duds" that can easily change their appearance.
  • Look Behind You:
    • Pedro sends the Cleanie back into his bottle by pointing at it, and exclaiming that it has some dust. After the Cleanie rushes back in, Pedro swiftly corks the bottle up.
    • Pedro sends Erpod back into the mirror by telling him to look closely at it, then kicking him from behind.
  • Making Use of the Twin: In-universe, a storyline about Pedro appearing in the movie The Monster From Earth has Ordep get hired as his stunt double. Ordep decides to take credit for Pedro's performance, rather than let him take credit for the stuntwork, and boots Pedro back to Earth.note 
  • Magic Pants: Everyone Ordep shrinks into microscopic creatures regains clothes as they become normal-sized again. Pedro's digital outfit looks different compared to before he becomes Pedramoeba.
  • Magma Man: Pedro has a run-in with some Lava Lizards while on IO.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Ordep pitches a Boys' Life cover that would hypnotize readers into renaming the highest-ranking Boy Scouts from the Eagle Scouts to the Ordep Scouts. Thanks to Erpod, it never actually gets published.
  • Mega-Microbes: One storyline had Pedro and most of the town's inhabitants shrunk to microscopic size and fall into a creek. For the next several issues, "Pedramoeba" had adventures in the microscopic world until the local Mad Scientist scaled everyone back up (and also enlarged a few actual microbes, which was his original intention).note 
  • The '90s: Pedro's move from the educational The Pedro Patrol comics, to this silly and surreal series, coincides with this decade's dawning.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Pedro feels this way about the Jerkass Ordep and the nagging Erpod. The latter at least appears to have mellowed out by the time he became Derpo.
  • Our Founder:
    • The Yzzizks butter Pedro up into ruling their planet of Zzizk by building a statue of him before he even accepts their offer.
    • Burropolis has a statue erected in the wake of the popularity of Pedro's green ice cream. Subverted when revealed that the statue depicts not Pedro, but rather, a giant alfalfa milkshake.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: When Pedro searches for flavorful ingredients for blue homemade ice cream, he decides to expand his search to outer space after mishearing a remark about such flavors coming only "once in a blue moon", inspiring him to take a visit to the moon.
  • The Pollyanna: Pedro tries to laugh off and make light of some misfortunes in this strip.
  • Puppet King: The Yizziks appoint Pedro as the ruler of their planet, the "Grand Pooka-Jumjum of Zzizk", but just as a scapegoat for scams they pulled on other planets.note 
  • Scenery Porn: Eaton's otherworldly backgrounds could become rather colorful and abstract (same for some of the denizens of said worlds).
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Pedro's roughly two-year search for fruit that could make his homemade ice cream blue and flavorful becomes this when upon returning from outer space, a friend offers him some blue and flavorful indigo plum ice cream.
  • Silence Is Golden: This Christmas Episode has no dialogue.
  • Space Pirates:
    • Pedro gets robbed by some during his efforts to prevent an asteroid from colliding with the Earth. After they fall asleep, he sends them away in their lifeboat, then uses their rocket to throw off the asteroid's course.
    • Pedro and Emeralda face another band of pirates after escaping Owrplannit. Their leader, Pace Pyratt, gives a Forced Transformation to those he steals from, then banishes them to the desert asteroid Parch.
  • Space Western: Pedro becomes a space cowboy when some dinosaur-like aliens assign him with guiding their Curlyhorn Cattle.note 
  • Special Edition Title:
    • The comic becomes The Wacky Adventures of Pedrobot during Pedro's term as a robot slave on the Ruby Moon of Doom, with the title box having Pedrobot's name written on a bar apparently bolted over Pedro's.note 
    • The comic becomes The Wacky Adventures of Pedramoeba after Ordep shrinks Pedro to microscopic size.note 
  • Tastes Like Purple: Blue peaches apparently taste blue, but whoever eats one temporarily turns blue himself/herself.
  • Teleporter Accident: Pedro crosses over with Dink and Duff and Webelos Woody after Woody constructs a "matter transporter", which teleports all three series' main characters into and out of each others' stories. When Woody tries to wrap up the crossover by teleporting everyone back into their own comics, Woody's, Jake's, Duff's, and Pedro's heads end up on each other's bodies, with only Jake and Dink noticing.note 
  • Theme Naming: Pedro's human friends include Skinny, Izzy, Frizzy, and Foo.
  • Time Stands Still: Emeralda uses her Temporal Point Immobilization Unit to freeze everyone around her, if she needs to make an escape.
  • Trauma Button Ending:
    • When Pedro returns from the 31st century, he sees a floating red sphere, then screams that the Ruby Moon of Doom has found him again. After he faints from the shock, the strip reveals the sphere as merely a child's balloon.
    • In one storyline, Ordep had been posing as Pedro's butler, serving him alfalfa milkshakes to keep him off guard while he ruined Pedro's life. When Pedro finally escapes at the end, he says he never wants to see another one for the rest of his life, and runs screaming away when one of his friends comes by with a milkshake glass full of green liquid. It was actually a clover frappe.
    • After Pedro tells his friends about the horrors he experienced as Pedramoeba, an old acquaintance reunites with him, and remarks about their "small world." Pedro runs away screaming, to the acquaintance's confusion.
  • Undesirable Prize: Pedro wins an unidentifiable doodad in an undisclosed contest. He tries to pass it off to Skinny, but a few other trades result in it going back to Pedro.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The first comic boasted the title, The Wacky World of Pedro the Boys' Life Mailburro, with Pedro's name even written in a different style than in Eaton's following strips.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Pedro develops this ability after getting turned into Pedrobot.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The comic unfortunately does this whenever someone explains the easiest way to tell Pedro and Ordep apart.
  • Weird Weather: Pedro experiences some on Zorg, but the aliens who live there seem used to it. This wouldn't mark the last planet on which Pedro would get covered in purple goop, to boot.
  • Who's on First?: Confusion ensues after Pedro asks where exactly the Miss Galactic Nebula pageant will take place.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Eaton took several years to update Pedro's picture in Hitchin' Rack, highlighting the dissonance between the burro's appearances in the '70s and '90s. Additionally, after Pedro took on a cel-shaded, 3D-looking appearance in Hitchin' Rack and the Boys' Life website, Eaton continued to draw Wacky Adventures in a hand-drawn, 2D-looking style.

    Stephen Gilpin's Wacky Adventures