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A Guest Strip is a episode of a webcomic that was not drawn or written by the current authors of said webcomic. Due to the communal nature of the Web and webcomics culture, this is much easier to organise than in other media. It is, perhaps, ascended Fan Art.

Usually, guest strips are Non-Canon and posted as Filler Strips. Entire "Guest Strip Weeks" are often invoked by webcomic authors when they need back surgery, a week in Tahiti, an opportunity to deal with familial issues, or a chance to attend a Con. Other comics, usually dailies, post a guest strip on Sundays in lieu of an elaborate Sunday Strip.

Nearly all webcomics have done this at some point; it's something of a Necessary Weasel.


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Examples:

  • Drowtales uses this to not only lessen the work load on the main artist of the comic, but to use the different art styles to fully show off the current narrative. These strips are just as professional grade as the main comic and just as canon as art done by the main artist, advancing the story along in their absence.
  • One special event in the history of guest strips occurred on September 17th, 2007. During the previous month, webcomic author Ryan Estrada drew an entire 48 guest strips for 48 different webcomics - by itself an impressive feat. What's more, he contacted all 48 authors of the 48 webcomics and got them to post each of his guest strips on the same day. So it was that, on a bright sunny morning in September, many webcomic fans woke up to find Ryan Estrada's artwork on dozens upon dozens of their favourite webcomic sites.
    • And guess what? He did it again, on September 18th, 2008 - but with 70 guest strips this time. Seventy guest strips. One of those guest strips was for a Comic Within A Comic. One of those guest strips was for a news blog.
  • xkcd:
    • Inverted in xkcd's Parody Week, where Randall Monroe drew five parodies of some of his favourite webcomics and posted them as part of his own webcomic.
    • XKCD did a guest strip week in November 2010, when Randall was struggling with a family illness.
  • And Shine Heaven Now has never missed a day in part because every break on the author's part is filled with guest strips. This has the interesting effect of limiting the length of any hiatus to the number of filler strips the readership can be coerced to produce.
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  • In the twelve or so year history of Penny Arcade, the need for a guest strip has only come up twice.
    • Once was after a PAX convention where the artist came down with swine flu (and then only because he was physically incapable of lifting a pencil to draw). The illness was incorporated into some of the strips.
    • Half a year later another was posted, with the explanation "There was a point after PAX East had come to a close and the second leg of our book tour was underway that we began to understand we had fucked up."
  • Sleepless Domain: The comic will often feature a guest page or two between chapters. Notably, many of these pages are written by regular author Mary Cagle, and as such most are still considered canon. There are, of course, exceptions.

Non-webcomic examples

  • The Comic Strip Switcheroo of April 1, 1997, where 18 pairs of cartoonists drew comics for each others' strips as an April Fools' joke.
    • To give an example, Garfield was drawn by Stan Drake, the then-current artist for the Blondie strips which featured Jon and Garfield moving in with Blondie and Dagwood until the paint dries in their house, Jon and Garfield are also drawn in a different style to fit in with the other strip.
  • Dilbert had a week of guest strips in 2003.
  • Fish Police, while under the publication of Comico, had guest strips in the back called "Fish Shticks". These were still written by Steve Moncuse, but drawn by guest artists.
  • Cul de Sac had several weeks of guest strips in 2012, as Richard Thompson was getting treatment for Parkinson's Disease. (Thompson would end the strip later that year.)
  • For a week in June 2014, Bill Watterson returned to newspaper cartooning by guesting on Pearls Before Swine
  • Fanfic example: The Official List of Unofficial Rules has rules written by guest authors mixed in.
  • A television example in the form of Adventure Time, which had four of its episodes written and directed by different guest animators in their signature styles, in addition to a special bonus episode that was co-produced by Mojang.
  • An advertising example was used in 2014 for the Monster Cereals, as part of their yearly gimmick. The boxes were guest drawn by DC Comics artists. Terry and Rachel Dodson drew Count Chocula, Dave Johnson drew Frankenberry, and Jim Lee drew Boo Berry.
  • Multiple television examples from the more recent seasons of The Simpsons. From time to time, the couch gag or even the entire opening sequence is done by a guest animator, including...
    • An infamous couch gag by Banksy which portrayed the animators as being in an utterly bleak sweathouse (much to the chagrin of the actual animators)
    • Two couch gags from the Robot Chicken crew
    • A whopping six from Bill Plympton (including a Shot-for-Shot Remake of one of his own shorts)
    • A crossover with Rick and Morty
    • A couch gag by Don Hertzfeldt which has Homer being transported to the far future and witnessing millennia of Seasonal Rot in action ("The Sampsans" degraded to surrealistic nonstop catchphrases, merch-shilling, and subliminal propaganda for the moon lord)
    • And an homage to Walt-era Disney done by Disney animator Eric Goldberg.
    • John Kricfalusi, in spite of being a vocal critic of the show, did two couch gags.
    • In a similar vein the Treehouse of Horror comics occasionally had guest artists, like issue 5 features a story drawn by Earthworm Jim creator Doug Ten Napel, and issue 11 features stories illustrated by comic book artists Gene Colan and Bernie Wrightson who specialized in drawing horror themed comics.
  • Some Franco-Belgian comic book series have contributions by guest authors/artists which don't necessarily count as Canon.
    • Asterix got two compilations with rather short guest stories.
    • Since 2016, Lucky Luke got five full guest issues.
    • Similarly, some of the Spirou and Fantasio "special issues" are guest contributions, including most of the "One-Shots" as well as Spirou in Berlin.

Alternative Title(s): Guest Comic

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