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CREATOR PROFILE:

JEFFREY BROWN

Biography:

“...I think Jeff Brown’s cartoons are really great. He gets closer to the feeling of real experience better than most cartoonists, yet he works in a very unaffected, diary-like style… In fact, his work is at its best when it’s not drawn at all, when you can actually feel him trying to just find the figures on the page; he’s not trying to be fancy or anything.”
Chris Ware

“I was born in 1975 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My Dad was a minister. I grew up reading comics and drawing. In high school I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I next went to college and became an atheist. In 2000 I left my job at the wooden shoe factory (in Holland, Michigan) and moved to Chicago to attend The School Of The Art Institute. My MFA thesis was my first graphic novel Clumsy. Since then I quit my bookstore day job for a career in comics. I live in Chicago with my partner Jennifer and our son Oscar.”
Jeffrey Brown

Essential Reading:


Clumsy
Top Shelf, 2002

Clumsy is the bittersweet story of a year long, long distance relationship, told through snippets of everyday life, drawn in a simple and elegantly awkward style that heightens the emotional impact and leaves you reminiscing about your own past love affairs. It also has a lot of sex.

James Kochalka says:
Clumsy is the story of a new relationship and is stunning in it’s realism and honesty. The frailty of the drawn line perfectly matches the human frailty portrayed within the story. It’s just so damn human. This is my favourite graphic novel ever. Even if Jeffrey Brown never draws another line again, he has already won a permanent place in my heart. Still, I want more.

Jeffrey Brown says:
Basically when I did Clumsy I was in the middle of my MFA at School Of The Art Institute here in Chicago. I was in the painting and drawing department and I was kind of trying to reject a lot of things. I wanted to draw comics like I did when I was a kid. So I tried to forget everything about rendering to react against a lot of things at art school. I wanted to create something completely human and honest to try to have a purity of expression… It has less to do with the skill than what you are trying to express. I found that when I was drawing in my sketchbook that the stuff that was speaking to me the most was this crude simple cartoony drawings much more then the heavily rendered realistic stuff which people tend to like. But I felt those drawings don’t say as much.



Unlikely
Top Shelf, 2003

The tear inducing tale of Jeffrey Brown’s first sexual relationship, the build up to that telling moment and the inevitable complications that follow. Unlikely is a tale of young love, sex, drugs heartbreak and comedy.

Daniel Clowes says:
Mr Brown seems to understand perfectly the day-to-day rhythms of the modern young adult relationship. Unlikely, like his first book Clumsy, is pretty much impossible to put down.

 



Any Easy Intimacy (or AEIOU)
Top Shelf, 2005

AEIOU is the final chapter of Jeffrey Brown’s so-called Girlfriend Trilogy. It continues to explore the subtleties of relationships explored in Clumsy and Unlikely, concentrating this time on the differences between knowing and loving someone, invoking the reader’s relationship with the book as a parallel to being involved with someone. The story is told with Brown’s trademark expressive drawings and juxtaposition of humor and heartache.

 



Little Things
Simon & Schuster, 2008

Jeffrey Brown says:
Well, right now I’m actually working on a collection of short stories… They’re autobiographical like the other books, but they’re not just about relationships. Well, I mean, there’s some stuff about relationships, but that’s not the focus. There’s stuff about, um, well, there’s some car accidents, and there’s some stuff about friendships, and there’s when I had my gall bladder taken out… and there’s a story about visiting my friend who was a park ranger.. and one about, um, well, buying CDs and how that… uh…but I guess it’s a collection of stories about… well… it’s about how things interconnect in life, you know, how these different things mean something to us? Like the way certain songs become associated with specific events or people and, um… how everyday stuff is what we, um… how we find meaning in our lives in… uh… how these little moments… um… uh… um… anyway, they’re a bunch of autobiographical short stories and they’re funny sometimes.

 

Bibliography:

Incredible Change Bots Vol 2 (2011)
Cats Are Weird & More Observations (2010)
Undeleted Scenes (2010)
Funny Misshapen Body (2009)
Sulk Vol 3 (2009)
Sulk Vol 2 (2008)
Sulk Vol 1 (2008)
Little Things (2008)
Incredible Change Bots Vol 1 (2007)
Feeble Attempts (2007)
Cat Getting Out Of A Bag & Other Observations (2007)
Every Girl Is The End Of The World For Me (2006)
Minature Sulk (2005)
Bighead (2004)
AEIOU or Any Easy Intimacy (2004)
Be A Man (2004)
Unlikely (2003)
I Am Going To Be Small (2003)
Maybe We Could Just Lie Here Naked… (2003)
Clumsy (2002)

DVD:
Drawing Between The Lines (2009)

Interviews:
The Comics Journal #287

Links:

Official Sites:
Jeffrey Brown: Comics
Jeffrey Brown: Blog
The Holy Consumption

Publishers:
Chronicle Books
Simon & Schuster
Top Shelf