I enjoyed this brand new book from Jeffrey Brown a lot. I was a bit worried when I heard it was coming out as I thought it would be another nerdy kid getting bullied at school book and there are too many of them and they bore me. But happily it’s more about his time at college and art school than about high school.
If you have read his long and very interesting interview in The Comics Journal you will have heard the basics of the main story, it’s all about how he became a cartoonist. He wants to be an artist since when he’s young but doesn’t have any clear ideas about what kind of artist. He tries painting for a few years but after a very harsh critique of his work by all the art teachers wonders if it’s really for him. In the end he kind of stumbles into cartooning via illustrated poetry. It probably helps that Chris Ware comes and gives him advice on his art work at college. It ends with him spending all his money having 2000 copies of ‘Clumsy’ (his first book) printed up and him stacking them all up in his bedroom. ‘Now I just have to sell them….’ he thinks.
There is also the story of how he suffered with Crohns Disease as a teenager. It must have been very embarrassing and stopped him socialising as he had terrible farts and was prone to crapping himself until he had an operation. He shows everything in very honest detail without sparing any of his embarrassing stories.
The other chapter is about how he drank for a while and smoked a bit of pot at college. Nothing especially bad or good happened to him with it, and then he gave it up. Not particularly interesting you may think, but as he went to a Christian college it’s quite interesting as it seems very weird to me, used to English universities and that. They have a pastor to look after them and sleep in weird dorms with lots of rules.
It’s a very good book and if you like the rest of Jeffrey Brown’s books I’m sure you will like this one.