Jeffrey Brown’s comix are in a world of their own, and Brown is mastering his own little sub-genre of unashamed and caustic relationship drama. That is evident in his recent release, AEIOU (also known as An Easy Intimacy), in which Brown recounts his relationship with a former girlfriend named Sophie.
Brown is a good writer. His stories are engaging, and his dialogue runs the gamut between witty and sarcastic and surreal and deadpan. For AEIOU, he doesn’t maintain a solid narrative; rather, his fictional telling of this affair is a walkthrough highlighting a different moment every two pages. Sometimes, reading this is like watching a fender bender every two pages. The leads are so pathetic, both as a couple and as individuals, that they generate a confusing mixture of pity and disgust in me.
Brown’s bare bones comix art style is something like what a child learning to draw would draw, but it doesn’t always serve this story very well. Sometimes, it’s appropriate for a particular moment in the narrative; other times, the moment requires a kind of subtly that the drawings can’t give it. I’m normally crazy for Jeffrey Brown, but AEIOU is a mixed bag that I recommend for diehard fans.