Good morning, everyone! We’ve got a real celebrity in today with Nicholas Gurewitch of the widely known and loved Perry Bible Fellowship, webcomic royalty! If you’ve never heard of PBF then you must not have ears. Go there now for chuckles, yucks and other assorted laughs. This was actually the first webcomic I ever read, way back in 2006 or something. Normally I have creators that are more involved with longform webcomics here for 9Q9A, but I couldn’t resist asking Nicholas to be a part, and he was kind enough to answer the questions with his trademark humor and panache. Here ya go:
Q1] What are you working on right now, art-wise?
A1] I just bought a basketball at a flea market. I’d like to work on improving my dribbling. I’m somewhat terrible at basketball.
Q2] What is your workflow like?
A2] It’s not a flow. It’s a hellish trudge up a ladder made of slime. Sometimes near the middle of the ladder, I realize it’s not a slime-ladder but a super fun slip-and-slide which leads peacefully to self-expression.
Q3] Who are your top three influences (any medium)?
A3] Stanley Kubrick, Carl Jung. Alcohol.
Q4] What is the one piece of indispensable advice you would give a comics creator for getting their work out there?
A4] The advice you create for yourself, out of necessity, is often more effective and long-lasting than the advice you get by asking someone else for it.
Q5] What do you think your duty is to the reader (if any)?
A5] Depends on the reader, really. If it’s a child of 6 years, I would feel a duty to speak to curiosities that exist for him- way different than curiosities that exist in someone aged 30. I generally do work aimed at friends and colleagues. For them I aim to make something that commiserates with their despair while subliminally dismantling it.
Q6] If you could do one thing better, in regards to graphic storytelling, what would it be?
A6] Drawing eyelids. They are wildly different from person to person, actually. You’d think they wouldn’t be, but they are, and they make all the difference.
Q7] What, if anything, do you prefer to listen to while you work?
A7] Music without words, if it’s an early stage the creative process. Music with words if it’s a later stage. I do know that after about 4am, if I’ve been working all night, music isn’t necessary at all. If I got a good thing going, I don’t even need food.
Q8] What is the one comic story you read that has stuck with you throughout the years?
A8] My siblings and I used to love extracting a Gahan Wilson book from a lockable glass cabinet of my dad’s. It’s hard to forget how it felt to look at a drawing of a skeletonized Santa Claus. I don’t think any of us knew what it meant. Perhaps, still believing in Santa, we knew it signified the truth.
Q9] What do you consider to be the greatest power of graphic storytelling?
A9] Providing safety. If you’re standing near an electric fence, and nearby you see a sign that shows a man touching an electric fence and getting shocked, an artist has had a considerable power over you. That’s a tiny example, but providing safety and shelter from destructive elements is probably as effective as most art can expect to be. I believe there are instances where it can inspire physical growth and increased health -in addition to awareness- but I can’t make those claims on record.
So there’s just three of many, many, many damn funny strips. Big thanks again to Nicholas for taking the time and if you’re so inclined you can pick up his print copies of Perry Bible Fellowship. Alright, friends, till Monday!