While I like the accessibility of web comics, there is just something delightfully visceral about print. The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories is a collection of comic strips from The Perry Bible Fellowship is a wonder to behold, bright and colorful with a red ribbon bound to the spine. While the cover is reminiscent of the children’s board game Candy Land, the scene of a candy character about to be burned at the stake by a candy mob is a dead give away that something is not quite right.
It has been said that the line between madness and genius is narrow. Nicholas Gurewitch is erasing that line with The Perry Bible Fellowship. An important question remains… can this delicate balance of two minds produce something that is actually funny? After reading The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories, I must admit that I am the type of person who ‘laughs on the inside’. Thankfully, The Perry Bible Fellowship makes me giggle like a school boy peeking at naughty pictures.
Artistically both adept and dynamic, Gurewitch is sheer genius. His parodies of other famous comics are stylistically precise, delivering punchlines that on many levels are hauntingly familiar. You always knew you wanted to see in these types of jokes in some of the more mainstream comic strips that have gotten tired and boring over the years. Ironically, Gurewitch’s own signature style usually involves wonderfully expressive ‘blank’ humanoid characters. The beauty (and once again, madness) is in the simplicity of these characters. They are not important… but the ideas and thoughts that they represent ring through loud and clear. These are not your father’s funny pages.
A bonus for those who buy the book is a section at the back called ‘Lost Strips’, including commentary by the author. Run, do not walk, and get this very funny and irreverent collection!
Thanks to Dark Horse Comics for the review copy of this amazing book.
Review by Wes Cowan