Y’all have probably all heard of The Perry Bible Fellowship; if you haven’t, it’s not a Bible fellowship at all, but an absurdist comic strip. It used to be weekly, but, sadly, it’s either defunct or in hiatus since February of 2008. It’s admittedly a little bit of an acquired taste — like, Achewood, it took me sitting down and reading about 10 or 20 strips back to back before it Clicked, and now I love it.
The new volume from Dark Horse, The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack compiles the complete run of the strip in a beautiful, full-color hardcover volume, including lost strips, notes, and an interview. (There is also a page-long forward from God’s Gift To Terrible Writing, Diablo Cody, but the less said about her, the better.)
The previous PBF collection, The Trial Of Colonel Sweeto looked like it was going to be taken out of print before this volume was published; I ended up ordering it, but it turned out I didn’t need to. All the material in that volume, including the bonus stuff, is reprinted in this one, so save yourself the money on that one.
Of course, since the strips are all available online, you might ask why you don’t just save yourself the FULL price and read ’em for free. And that’s a valid question, but the bonus material is really interesting. Lots of unreleased strips — and brief commentary on why they were unreleased (and some for a reason, though others could easily have been official strips), which give insight into Gurewitch’s process. And, given the high quality of the printing and the paper, it’s a proper venue for his often deceptively simple, but always outstanding artwork. And you also can’t use the snazzy bound-in ribbon to keep your place if you read everything on the website.
I’m not sure if PBF will come back — I hope so, but I’ll be looking forward to whatever Gurewitch’s next project is. I hope it comes soon, though — though there’s no hint as to what that may be. Perhaps Gurewitch doesn’t even know yet — or maybe he’s going the Bill Watterson route and just focusing on doing “serious” artwork. If that’s the case, I hope he differs from Watterson and shares his art with the world — I’d love to see it.