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.