Previous books by Brown (Clumsy; Little Things) have explored his romantic life and eventual progression to a steady relationship and fatherhood in his trademarked slice-of-life style, leavened with awkward, self-deprecating humor. His latest explains how he began making comics, with each chapter focusing on a topic or event leading up to Brown's early comics, with many of the episodes overlapping and out of order chronologically. As Brown explains in the epilogue, "I try to arrange stories to express the idea of figuring things out," leading to some meandering at times. Painful college art critiques, health problems (Crohn's disease), forays into substance abuse and a stint working in a wooden-shoe factory make up the bulk of the events, but Brown doesn't stay long enough on any one topic to get tiresome. The art is simple and crude at times, but has a comic strip's direct appeal-Brown's facial expressions are exaggerated, but make him likable. While some may find this extended trip to one cartoonist's past egotistical, Brown is still an engaging companion on the journey. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Funny Misshapen Body: A Memoirby Jeffrey Brown
Drawn with Brown's scratchy, spare, trademark style, Funny Misshapen Body resonates with true-to-life observations on love, fear,/i>/i>
Funny Misshapen Body is the story of Jeffrey Brown's evolution as a cartoonist, from his youthful obsession with superhero comics to his disillusionment with fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Drawn with Brown's scratchy, spare, trademark style, Funny Misshapen Body resonates with true-to-life observations on love, fear, and ambition. Through his bare bones graphic style, he reveals his most embarrassing personal moments in raw, intimate detail -- including how he survived high school, binge drinking, mild drug experimentation, doomed friendships, and being diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
Ultimately coming to terms with his art and identity, Brown describes the ups and downs of his adolescence with understated simplicity, dark humor, and charm.
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I've been a fan of Jeffrey Brown since my friend lent me "Little Things" and "Clumsy". And Funny Misshapen Body is by far one of, if not THE, best he's done so far. If you grew tired of his relationship topics about himself, you'll be glad to know this is more of a memoir from his childhood up to his graduating grad-school than a focus on that (not that I personally minded his trilogy of his relationships, I enjoyed them). Reading this, and LOOKING at this, you'll be immersed. His simple drawing style is wonderful for how he flows the panels together, and the stories he tells are always interesting. Think David Sedaris (but less intent on humor, more on storytelling), but at the same time, don't- Jeffrey Brown is creative and different, and as an avid reader of any good book, I recommend this.
I'd only read a few pages of Jeffrey Brown's page in anthologies like the Best American series. Reading his memoir Funny Misshapen Body, which is mainly focused on his love for comics and how he came to work in them, was truly a moving experience. In these pages Brown recounts his first encounter with the world of sequential art, his growing interest in the medium, the ritual of visiting comic book stores, meeting comic book authors, drawing and the art-school environment. Intertwined we also get a glimpse of his childhood experiences with his family, friends and crushes. His drawing and writing style convey a surprisingly refreshing charm and unexpected humor. In a world filled with comics devoted to cynicism, Brown's ability to see the funny side of life is a much welcomed take on autobiographical graphic novels.
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