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November 10, 2007

{     Perry Bible Fellowship - The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories - by Nicholas Gurewitch     }    

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I often imagine Nicholas Gurewitch looks something like a cross between Bob Ross and the Hostess Fruit Pie Magician. Perhaps that's just a side-effect of having been religiously devoted to his comic-strip, The Perry Bible Fellowship, over the past couple of years; it's dreamy surreal mix of childhood whimsy and dark reality somehow forces me to perceive the author as existing in the crossroads between the beloved (and be'afroed) cheesemeister star of Public Broadcasting's most popular paint-at-home show and a cartoon snack-cake sorcerer. So be it.

Gurewitch's strip has appeared in a remarkable number of newspapers, magazines and student publications, but this marks the first time the strip has been printed and bound as a collection on it's own (with considerable thanks to Dark Horse for making that happen). It's a treasure-trove of wicked belly-laughs, the Brothers Grimm meets John Waters in comic-strip format. People like to throw the word "dark" around a lot these days, using it to describe everything from plot twists on Desperate Housewives to the new Mountain Dew ad campaign, but Gurewitch's re-purposing of childhood imagery and his ability to exploit otherwise naive subject matter for a laugh is so dark it's positively candy-coated pitch-black. If you haven't had the pleasure of dipping your toe into the PBF pool as of yet, here's a little taste:
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For those who've been fans for a while, The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories offers you a chance to finally sit down and enjoy the strips en masse while also providing some commentary on selected strips by the author and a small but delectable chunk of "lost" strips that have until now avoided widespread publication. There's also a forward by Jim Woodring, which to me is the equivalent of having received a letter of recommendation from God to attach to your resume. The whole affair is bound in hardcover, swathed in an original painting depicting the Candyland-esque Lollytown preparing to deliver a little bit of old fashioned mob justice to the traitorous Colonel Sweeto.
Whether you're new to the PBF, a longtime reader glad to finally have a nicely gathered collection, or if you're just looking for a gift for some unsuspecting friend or loved one for this upcoming holiday season the price is right and the time is nigh, you need to pick up a copy today before the limited first edition sells out.
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