Funny Misshapen Body: A Memoir

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9781416549475: Funny Misshapen Body: A Memoir
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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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From Publishers Weekly:

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.)
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From Booklist:

In the latest installment of his graphic autobiography, Brown focuses on his lifelong desire to become an artist, depicting the road that led him to his successful comics career: his discovery of comics as a youngster drawn to superheroes; his rediscovery of them when exposed to alternative comix in high school (“These are like . . . real stories”); his rudimentary high-school art instruction; his college job painting windmills and tulips on wooden shoes; the discouragement and disillusionment he experienced in art school; and his breakthrough discovery that he could make art “that wasn’t so caught up in ‘fine art’ ideas” by drawing and self-publishing autobiographical stories. Altogether, it’s of a piece with Brown’s prior efforts. His scratchy drawing style, slightly more assured after eight books, retains its casual charm, as does his myopic view of his rather mundane life. Obsession with his troubled love life has finally been set aside, although his account of his artistic progress is sometimes nearly as embarrassing as those of his forlorn attempts to establish romantic relationships. --Gordon Flagg

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