2009 book Comics review

little things

I am a complete nerd for Jeffrey Brown, ever since stumbling upon Clumsy years ago in Foyles waaaaaaay before I worked there, emokid that I was at the time (oh yeah, I’ve totally changed now) I fell in big love immediately. Right the way through the girlfriend trilogy he kept me just on the right side of melancholy.

I eventually got around to reading Little Things this week and it was awesome. It reads like something of a mix between Unlikely and MiniSulk with a little bit of Cat Getting Out of a Bag, thrown in. That is to say all of Brown’s trademark motifs are present. It’s the kind of book that makes you remember why you fell in love with indie comics in the first place. Sure, it can be argued nothing happens. But isn’t that the whole point. Meaning and beauty in the mundane. If you’ve got that down the whole world gets a bunch more interesting, lets face it, we’ve all got plenty of mundane. Brown is a little like Coupland in this way, super simplistic and up to you the reader to find what you’re looking for in it.

He presents his Chicago to you in a way that makes you feel familiar with the Coffee house he frequents and the neighbourhood he lives in. Almost everything Brown has done has been autobiographical but this book in particular resonates with reality. I loved the story about going to visit his friend who is a Mountain Ranger in the Pacific Northwest. I loved the story about how he started writing comics in the first place, and I loved that he was still hoping he’d make enough off of comics to go part time at Barnes and Noble.

Don’t get me wrong, Jeffrey Brown isn’t for everyone, and you either love his art or hate hate hate it. But if you’ve ever been young, in love, broken hearted, a struggling artist, underpaid or had a cat then you should find something here.

A picture wouldn’t really do it justice, so I chose the video he animated for Death Cab’s directions collaborative DVD. Warning, it’s a little sad.


art stuff

It’s one of those posts where I actually write about something. WOW. I was looking around my room at the artwork on my walls, and remembered back a couple of years to the time I was gonna do comic book and art stuff for a living (not like when I ran Graphics in Foyles, like as a proper job) , and sort of missed it. I figured I’d write a blog about my favourite artists, and then you can look ’em up and the world will be a better place for it.

Christy Roads – I first stumbled across Christy’s stuff when I ordered Insubordination in at Foyles, her artwork is girlish without being cute and punk without being scruffy. I love it. She did the cover art for a million and one things that you own ( the good replacements tribute record – dan padilla/chinese telephones split..) She has a new TPB – Bad Habits out on Soft Skull in October.

Tara McPherson – I met Tara a few years ago after reading an interview with her in Punk Planet and findind out she was putting out a book with Dark Horse, I got in touch with her to see if I could book the london date of the tour. We became instant friends sharing a healthy love of all things comic and alcohol related. She is still the hardest working and most talented person I know. Roll on this years visit.

Nate Powell – I want to make it clear that I adored Nate Powell’s artwork and comics long before he was pictured wearing a jawbreaker shirt in the Thurston Moore edited Punk House book. Cos he is awesome. Tiny Giants is my favourite, you can get it from Soft Skull and probably nowhere in London, London SUCKS for indie comics. Okay, maybe you can get it from Gosh, they’re pretty good with Soft Skull and Top Shelf.

Adrian Tomine – The only man who is better at line art than Dan Clowes, well, in my opinion anyways. And if you’ve read the early Optic Nerve collection then you’ll remember how clunky and scruffy his lines used to be. Everything he draws is amazing – this makes up for the fact that all his comics are slightly depressing¬† looks at Asians in America. So beautifully drawn though. You should buy Summer Blonde

Kurt Halsey – Alright, I am blantantly a 14 year old girl for Kurt Halsey, he’s just so darn good at making me feel all emo. A couple of years ago Jamie bought me some Kurt prints and Robyn cried instantaneously on looking at one of them. Kurt Halsey melts punk rock hearts. And makes you want to be in love, and listen to mixtapes. I have been thinking about getting some Halsey ink forever. Downside is you can buy limited edition runs of some of his stuff in UO in the States now. That being said, I did get my vinyl bat for about $20 or something.

Jamie McKelvie – Look – someone from England! This is testament to how much I like Jamie’s artwork. I’ve known him a while now and his work gets better and better. He may read this so I don’t want to get too gushy. You should pick up Phonogram if you’re old enough to remember the early 90s and Suburban Glamour if you enjoy well drawn attractive girls. Both are available on Image.

This stupid wordpress theme is sort of limiting for inserting images, so you’ll have to just click the links.