By Leroy Douresseaux
October 16, 2006 - 13:03
I AM GOING TO BE SMALL
Jeffrey Brown has a new book entitled I am Going to be Small. For readers and comic book fans who have heard of him, this is the best chance to be introduced to one of the best humorists in modern American comic books. Along the way, some people may discover that when it comics to commentary on our day to day existence, he may have, along with Peter Bagge, the sharpest satirical blade since the heyday of Underground Comics from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's.
Actually, if not for the review copies I started getting two years ago, I wouldn't know who Jeffrey Brown is. In fact, the first time I got a book by Brown, I only read it because I felt obligated, since it was sent to me for review.
Pity this sheltered little colored boy. I almost missed out on the good stuff.
Brown is so adept at comedy - parody, satire, and farce. Subtle and subversive, he can also be banal, childish, sublime, or even surreal. Sometimes, he'll even slam his audience over the head with his laughs. (Brown also creates relationship and autobiographical comics that run the gamut from sappy sentimentality to poignant drama - every bit of it absorbing and engaging, but that's for another review).
Brown's new tome, I am Going to Be Small (there's apparently a hardcover version of this book, as well) collects his gag and humor cartoons from 1997 to 2006. For years, Brown apparently self-published a mini-comic entitled "I am Going to Be Small," which contained single-page and sometimes single-panel humor strips. This collection is an opportunity for a wider audience to see Brown's gag cartoon work. Acerbic wit, raw humor, heresy, cruelty, self-promotion, self-deprecation, tasteless, tactless, political incorrectness, sly bigotry, and juvenile excess: Brown can make it laugh-out-loud funny. It's all here is this giant-size, small collection of gag cartoons.
It would be an injustice for me to try to describe or relate some of the cartoons. It would be lost in translation. As comics are visual, one must personally experience Brown. There is no doubt that publishing Alan Moore's current work is a major coup for Top Shelf, but there's also no doubt that Jeffrey Brown is ready for that kind of prime time.
This title can be purchased directly from the publisher's website, topshelfcomix.com. It is also available at bookstores and comic book shops.