Nicholas Gurewitch interview

I love the Perry Bible Fellowship, by Nicholas Gurewitch. The artwork is fantastic, the jokes are completely off the wall, and the humor is blacker than the way I take my coffee. I’ve been following PBF since it first started running on GoComics on November, 7, 2014.

(The first PBF to run on GoComics)

But, you know how when you’re interviewing someone, you sometimes have to just stop asking questions and let the other person do the talking for you? Yeah, that’s why I’m ripping off Nicholas’ GoComics blurbs: “The PBF (for short) first started publishing in Syracuse University’s The Daily Orange in 2001. In the following years, it ran in a number of alternative weeklies, including The New York Press, The Ottawa Xpress, The Portland Mercury, as well as the G2 section of The Guardian. After 3 years of weekly production, Gurewitch disappointed his fans by switching to an irregular schedule, citing mental and physical strain.” And, “Ever since he was little, Nicholas Gurewitch has been told that he holds his drawing utensils in an uncommon way.” Finally, “The origin of the comic strip’s name is completely uninteresting.”

(from the Perry Bible Fellowship.)

BC: So, sir, what personal information do you think readers should know about you?
NG: Having an audience sometimes means you learn to take a step back and see how other people see you or your work. Sometimes this means stepping so far away that you lose your footing. Sometimes you never regain your footing and start to go mad.

BC: How did you get started cartooning and what have been your biggest breaks?
NG: My biggest break was probably having a wild imagination in a boring town as a kid. Keeping things interesting was kinda like weight-training in high altitudes. By the time I eventually encountered genuinely interesting things, I was prepared to deal with them.

BC: What’s your artistic background?
NG: I went to Syracuse University for film-making.

(from the Perry Bible Fellowship.)

BC: What artists/writers do you follow and why?
NG: I follow my friend Jackie’s (Evangelisti) webcomic, “Underpants and Overbites“. She started doing comics kinda recently, and it’s fun to see her growth.

BC: What do you look for in someone else’s cartoons?
NG: Strong visual information about a specific topic.

BC: What makes for a good cartoon?
NG: Perhaps the above.

BC: What were your biggest influences?
NG: Artistically, probably Gary Larson, Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick.

BC: How do you approach that blank sheet of paper when you start a new panel or strip?
NG: I think a blank sheet of paper is practically the last thing I approach. There are shit loads of ideas typed, scrawled, drawn, and sketched in various places. Clean sheet of paper only after those messy pages are seasoned, shaved, primed and timed.

(The “Masculator,” from the Perry Bible Fellowship.)

BC: You seem to have a variety of art styles in PBF (comparing the Happy Birthday Miggs strip to the Masculator); What is your approach for matching a style or “look” to a particular gag?

(“Happy Birthday, Miggs,” from the Perry Bible Fellowship.)

NG: If a gag allows me to journey into a genre, it’s fun to go there. I usually just consider what images I’ve seen associated with the tropes I’m utilizing. Or I’ll just opt for that basic colorless-person style I often use as a default.

(All artwork here has been reproduced with the permission of the artist. Copyright Nicholas Gurewitch © 2016.)
(This interview is the copyright © of Curtis H. Hoffmann 2016. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the author.)

Poll: Did you buy a Masculator when you were a kid?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.