Thursday, January 3

Comics celebrity playlist: Jeffrey Brown

In the last few years, Chicago-based Jeffrey Brown has emerged as one of the most celebrated creators in indie comics. Since making a name for himself with acclaimed mini comic I am Going to Be Small (2003), Brown has teamed up with Georgia's own Top Shelf Productions to release a series of well-received titles.

Superhero parody Bighead (2004) has received attention here before, and his "Girlfriend Trilogy" including Clumsy (2003), Unlikely (2003), and AEIOU (2005) is virtually required reading for fans of autobiographical comics. The latter trio recount some of Brown's early and failed relationships, often capturing familiar moments of both happiness and heartbreak. While those books are sometimes serious in tone, Brown's self-parody Be a Man (2005) is a hilarious account of how things should have gone if he were less like Lloyd Dobler and a lot more like Glenn Quagmire -- it's best read, I'll add, after completing the trilogy it follows.

From "Cat Power Will Save Me!"

More recent works include the Minisulk collection of cartoons, girlfriend trilogy epilogue Every Girl is the End of the World for Me, and a collection of stories and cartoons titled Feeble Attempts. These efforts are all over the place in terms of content and tone, demonstrating Brown's versatility and craft.

From Minisulk

In 2007, Brown released some lighter fare including his Transformers homage/parody The Incredible Change-Bots and the hilarious Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations. The robot book tugs at my nostalgic heart strings, but I can appreciate the cat book much more after having my own feline roommate for a few months. In fact, he's laying across my forearms as I type this. Brat.

From The Incredible Change-Bots

If you haven't taken a look at Brown's body of work, I'd suggest giving it a go. There's a lot to choose from, and the styles and content are quite diverse. Most of these works are available from Top Shelf Productions. To keep up with Brown's work, be sure to visit the website of comics consortium The Holy Consumption.

As other comics creators have in the past, Jeffrey Brown has been so kind as to contribute a playlist to Cable & Tweed. Thanks Jeffrey!

Jeffrey Brown's Comics Celebrity Playlist

1. "Bruised Ghosts" Broken Social Scene, from 'Live From Paris EP' off itunes
Yeah, Feist is getting all kinds of good press with her 1234 song being on TV and all, but her vocals on this track are heartbreakingly beautiful, backed by one of the few bands capable of creating a fully and subtly textured sound that still has great hooks.

2. "July, July" The Decemberists, from 'Castaways and Cutouts'
Every so often I have to go back to this song, and cheer myself up. This week it was because I got sick, and needed to perk up some. And listening to it in the car is great for picking apart the different movements in the song, plus singing along is always good in the car.

3. "July" Low, from 'Things We Lost In The Fire'
Sticking with the July theme, my other favorite song with July in the title, from Low's best (and one of my top five all time favorite) album. Low may get pegged for being overly melancholic, but I always hear a tone of hope and promise in their music. Is that movie sharing the album's title a coincidence? I'm not sure, but I'm not going to see it unless I hear that they asked for Low's blessing and got it.

4. "Savannah Smiles" Okkervil River, from 'The Stage Names'
I heard Will Sheff talking about this album on the radio. I had heard some of the band's music before, and seen him play a solo set, but hadn't gotten too into them. Then I heard clips of songs from this album, and really liked them. I also come from the school of thought that hearing about an artist's process, inspiration and intent can make their art that much more meaningful, as oppossed to the thought that all art should stand on its own with no explanation. As it is, this song (and the rest of the album) stands up well enough on its own, but hearing Sheff talk about them made it an even better listen.

5. "The Commander Thinks Aloud" The Long Winters, from 'Ultimatum' EP
This song gets me going like a cup of coffee. So when I listen to it after having had a cup of coffee, I probably seem pretty ridiculous. But it's great song that, for me at least, requires putting it on repeat 3 or 4 times in a row.

Thanks again, Jeffrey!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo jeffrey,
man your comics are so cool
i read them at Barnes and Noble
today and i was cracking up with laughter,man you are good
i was reading incredible change bots. Hope you keep making more awesome, hilarious comix!

1:24 AM


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