Mimsy Review: The Desert Peach
“If we lose, we can always say we came in second. Want some tea?”
Daniel Pinkwater described them as “Hogan’s Heroes with Homos” in the introduction to the first collection. This is, well, that’s probably the best description you’re going to get.
Manfred Pfirsich Marie Rommel is Erwin Rommel’s younger brother, the Desert Peach to Erwin’s Desert Fox. He’s a handsome, well-dressed, aryan who always knows how to maintain posture, hold his tea, and have wild sex with aviators. Despite Donna’s misgivings, it was brilliant from the start. The Peach takes the Fox to a picnic and enemy fire destroys his favorite china. The Desert Peach captures a Hawaiian soldier, and the Desert Fox takes them all surfing to look for enemy submarines. Hilarious stuff. But, believe it or not, you’re going to get caught up in the characters as well. The Peach’s command includes the sorriest misfits ever to venture into literature, lost puppies who Donna gets you feeling for, even though we beat the crap out of them, or because we beat the crap out of them. These books are not to be missed. I cannot recommend them highly enough. If you don’t have them already, get them.
You’ll need to look for the collections: early issues have become honest-to-God collector’s items. Probably because they didn’t print that many. Who wants an overstock on gay Nazis? Even some of the early collections are no longer available on-line.
At one time, the collections were “The Beginnings”, which reprints the first issues, and “Politics, Pilots, and Puppies”, and “Foreign Relations”. After that, Barr began publishing larger issues less often, and each issue is itself available. Now, however, it looks like a new reprint series is starting, beginning with “Seven Peaches”. (Though it may be that this is out of print, too.)
There is also an issue of “Peach Slices”, which collects some otherwise unpublished short stories about the Peach. (If you think the “normal” Peach stories are risqué, you probably want to say away from this one! But if you want to see Pfirsich and Rosen in the sack in “for the glory of greater Germany”, hunt this collection down.)
Finally, “Ersatz Peach” is a collection of Peach stories written by people other than Donna Barr. Barb Rausch, R.L. Crabb, Matt Howarth, and Trina Robbins, among many others, all contribute tales of the Peach “mythos”. None of them are canon, but what the hell does that word mean when it comes to Donna Barr? They’re good stories.
Many of the older books are out of print, so you’ll have to haunt eBay and used book stores to get them.
If you enjoyed The Desert Peach…
If you enjoy satirical, you might also be interested in Being There, Better Than Sex, Dark Star, Doonesbury, Fahrenheit 451, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972, Generation of Swine, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, Mike Royko: A Life in Print, Mike Royko’s Opinions, Songs of the Doomed, South Park Volume 1 through 6, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Team America, Fuck Yeah!, Thank You For Smoking, The Complete Lewis Carroll, The Futurological Congress, The Great Shark Hunt, The Siege of Harlem, and Wag the Dog