Q&A with Nicholas Gurewitch
Nicholas Gurewitch’s ‘The Perry Bible Fellowship’ is printed in Maxim, The Guardian (UK), The Boston Weekly Dig, The Baltimore City Paper, The Chicago Reader and several other publications. A Syracuse University alum, Gurewitch first printed ‘The Perry Bible Fellowship,’ or ‘PBF,’ in The Daily Orange, where he was art director for a semester in 2002. Current art director Evan Reiser conducted a Q & A with him last month.
Daily Orange: How important is humor to you in comics?Nicholas Gurewitch: I prefer a crudely drawn funny comic to an expertly drawn unfunny comic, any day. Comedy to most people is expected. [Comic strips] are referred to as ‘comics,’ and they’re on the ‘funnies’ page. (pause) It’s interesting that we make room for comics in papers. But yeah, humor’s important. If a comic isn’t funny people can respond in disappointment, even hatred.
DO: So which comics would you say have influenced you the most?NG: ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and ‘The Far Side.’ I don’t know if those inspired me so much as they’re my favorite comic strips, however.
DO: You were a film major in VPA at Syracuse. Did your film classes here serve as an influence?NG: Sure. I use a lot of film rules when constructing comics, a lot of the aspects of visual storytelling in general.
DO: At what point would you say the comic really took off, in popularity?NG: I think I can remember the exact date. It was October 30, a few years ago [laughs]…
DO: Do you receive much feedback from readers?NG: (pause) Sometimes. The most feedback I’ve gotten were in response to two strips … One was an homage to (pen and ink illustrator) Edward Gorey, another was drawn to look like the old Nintendo game Punch-Out. A lot of people really liked that one. It’s surprising how humor travels, really. When I first started, I always thought of it as a college comic.
DO: I read it occasionally in high-school, on your Web site. I personally know a handful of people from my school that read it, or at least had seen it.NG: That’s interesting. I guess the humor isn’t so specific. I probably think of it that way because I started it in college.
DO: What is the origin of the doughy, stark white character in ‘PBF?’ Or rather, the character design, since you’ve drawn many characters with the appearance.NG: That was determined by my attempt to show as minimal an amount of information as possible. I often like to keep the scene completely clean, visually. I opt for that, just as a default.
DO: But you do emulate other artists and reference other media frequently.NG: Yeah. I guess emulating other people’s styles is like, playing dress up. The Edward Gorey comic is a good example.
DO: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?NG: Well, I guess you could say I’m an aspiring filmmaker. I’d like to make more films. But right now I’m putting together a collection of ‘PBF’ for Dark Horse comics.
New installments of ‘The Perry Bible Fellowship’ can be seen every Wednesday this semester in The Daily Orange.
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