Publication Year: 2013
The early 1980s saw a revolution in mainstream comics--in subject matter, artistic integrity, and creators' rights--as new methods of publishing and distribution broadened the possibilities. Among those artists utilizing these new methods, Chester Brown (b. 1960) quickly developed a cult following due to the undeniable quality and originality of his Yummy Fur (1983-1994).
Chester Brown: Conversations collects interviews covering all facets of the cartoonist's long career and includes several pieces from now-defunct periodicals and fanzines. Brown was among a new generation of artists whose work dealt with decidedly nonmainstream subjects. By the 1980s comics were, to quote a by-now well-worn phrase, "not just for kids anymore," and subsequent censorious attacks by parents concerned about the more salacious material being published by the major publishers--subjects that routinely included adult language, realistic violence, drug use, and sexual content--began to roil the industry. Yummy Fur came of age during this storm and its often-offensive content, including dismembered, talking penises, led to controversy and censorship.
With Brown's highly unconventional adaptations of the Gospels, and such comics memoirs as The Playboy (1991/1992) and I Never Liked You (1991-1994), Brown gradually moved away from the surrealistic, humor oriented strips toward autobiographical material far more restrained and elegiac in tone than his earlier strips. This work was followed by Louis Riel (1999-2003), Brown's critically acclaimed comic book biography of the controversial nineteenth-century Canadian revolutionary, and Paying for It (2011), his best-selling memoir on the life of a john.
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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The early 1980s is a fascinating period in comics history. The major publish-ers, DC and Marvel, had assumed a largely hegemonic control of the market, yet new talent—particularly Alan Moore and Frank Miller in their tenures on DC’s Swamp Thing and Marvel’s Daredevil titles, respectively—were mak-ing their first tentative steps towards an eventual revolution in mainstream ...
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...1977 Graduates high school and travels to New York City to meet with 1977–1978 Attends college at Dawson College but drops out because arts program did not oﬀer courses geared toward a career in comics.1979 Moves to Toronto. Finds work in photography lab. Second New 1980 Starts reading the work of underground comics artists and sub-...
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Fantasy Advertiser 108 (November 1988) pp. 30–35. http://comiczine-fa.com/. Reprinted This interview takes place in the artist’s sketching room at this year’s UKCAC [UK Comic Art Convention]. All around is noise and chattering that will make Chester is a quiet, softly spoken man, beautiful and thin, dressed in torn-up jeans, wearing long, light hair and pausing thoughtfully before most of his ...
The Chester Brown Interview
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From The Comics Journal 135 (April 1990) pp. 66-90. Reprinted with permission.When he was growing up, he was shocked by the seemingly blasphemous premise behind Kirby’s New Gods series—there was, after all, only one true God. And for years after discovering it, he was disgusted by the explicit, over-the-top sexuality of [Robert] Crumb’s work. Things change. At twenty-nine, ...
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Originally published in Comics Interview 93 (1991), pp 24–35. Copyright © 1991 This is an informal conversation with a reticent and soft-spoken artist, who by no means has reservations about sharing his ideas and philosophies about JAY TORRES: In the author’s preface for the Ed the Happy Clown trade paper-back you state: “In late 1979, I was nineteen and had made several unsuccess-...
Shades of Brown
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Crash (1994) pp. 5–22. [This interview was edited by Steve Solomos, Vincent Aliberti Crash: Okay Chester, let me begin with a couple questions about your back-ground. Now, you were born and raised in the Canadian province of Quebec, Crash: And you were apparently raised in a largely Anglo portion of Quebec?Crash: Well, what was your exposure to French/Quebecois culture?...
Two-Handed Man Interviews Cartoonist Chester Brown
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...“Chet’s skills as a cartoonist, his drawing ability, they’re unparalleled, you know?”Chester Brown started creating comic strips over twenty years ago, and since then has built up a body of work featuring a wide variety of subject mat-ter—horror, comedy, nonfiction, even adaptations of the Gospels—as well as beautiful artwork. His first major project, collected as the book Ed the Happy ...
Chester Brown Restrains Himself
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One of the most respected indie cartoonists of the last twenty years, Chester Brown has made perhaps his most impressive mark yet with Louis Riel (ree-AHL), a comics biography of a still-controversial Canadian rebel. But it’s only the latest in a remarkable string of hits, starting with Ed the Happy Clown, a lurid, surreal excursion into sexual dysfunction and political satire; The Play-...
On the Real: An Interview with Chester Brown
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This interview with Chester Brown, who is currently garnering much atten-tion for his extraordinary new book Paying for It, was conducted at the 2004 MoCCA Arts Fest in a small storage room where they kept the boxed-up Har-vey Awards, a couple of hours before the ceremony was to start. Brown had recently released the collected edition of Louis Riel, which naturally became ...
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Having unsuccessfully approached Marvel, DC Comics and the RAW anthol-ogy, Chester Brown decided to join the then-blooming self-publishing crowd in the early eighties. When the first issue of Yummy Fur is released in 1983, he has no idea he is about to start a body of work that will influence all his generation and the next. Along the course of the periodical, he will alternate ...
Chester Brown: Louis Riel’s Comic-Strip Biographer
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Canadian Art (Fall 2004) pp. 126–29. Reprinted with permission.Chester Brown is already a superstar in the world of independent comics. Now, with the publication of his most recent graphic novel, Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, released last fall by the Montreal art and literary comics pub-lisher Drawn & Quarterly, his work is reaching new audiences with an instant ...
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Following Cerebus 5 (August 2005) pp. 7–12. Reprinted with permission.This interview is part of a series of interviews Dave Sim conducted entitled “Advise & Consent” dealing with comic creators’ use and non-use of editors. Dave Sim interviewed Chester Brown on February 25. Dave did the transcrip-Sim: Okay, let’s not compete against your Ed the Happy Clown annotations on ...
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Originally broadcast on Inkstuds October 19, 2006 (archived at www.inkstuds.com); published in Inkstuds, by Robin McConnell, Nova Scotia: Conundrum Press, 2010. Also participating in the interview was Colin Upton. Reprinted by permission.Robin McConnell: I’m very honored this week. We’re joined by Mr. Chester Brown who is the creator of Yummy Fur, which includes the storylines of Ed ...
Chester Brown on Prostitution, Romantic Love, and Being a John
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Chester Brown, the Toronto-based graphic novelist best known for his 2003 book, Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, will be touring North America in May in support of his latest, Paying for It: A Comic-Strip Memoir about Being a John. Painfully candid, the book begins with the collapse of his relationship with long-time girlfriend Sook-Yin Lee, current host of the CBC’s Definitely ...
Laying It Bare: An Interview with Chester Brown
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Paying for It: A Comic-Strip Memoir about Being a John is likely to be one of the great debate-starting books of recent years, and you suspect that’s exactly how its creator, Chester Brown, would like it. Parts of an email interview I did with Mr. Brown last week were used in a Gazette feature a few days ago; here, in advance of Brown’s appearance at Paying for It’s Montreal launch at the ...
Interview: Chester Brown
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Canadian cartoonist Chester Brown emerged from the minicomics movement of the mid-eighties and quickly established himself as one of the most origi-nal artists of his generation. With his series Yummy Fur, Brown spun long, surreal tales where pop culture, politics, and perversion intersected, and then alternated those stories with earnest autobiographical reminiscences and ...
The Pickup Artist: An Interview with Chester Brown
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Mother Jones (2011) n. pg. © 2011, Foundation for National Progress. Reprinted with The cartoonist talks about his pro-prostitution memoir and the loneliness of More than a decade ago, Chester Brown decided he was through with romance. Certainly all the crummy stuﬀ—the insecurity, the jealousy, the fights. The only thing he wasn’t ready to give up was the physical part. As Brown, an ...
Chester Brown on Sex, Love, and Paying for It
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This Magazine (August 3, 2011) n. pg. Reprinted with permission.Chester Brown, fifty-one, is an accomplished graphic novelist whose new book, Paying for It, depicts his decision in 1999 to abandon romantic relation-ships in favor of paying prostitutes for sex. Along the way, however, he still seemed to find a version, unconventional though it may be, of true love....
Selected Critical Works
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Beaty, Bart. “Selective Mutual Reinforcement in the Works of Chester Brown, Joe Matt, and Seth.” Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels. Ed. Michael A. Chaney. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011. 247–59.———, and Stephen Weiner, eds. Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Independents and Un-Bell, John. Invaders from the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe. ...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Conversations with Comic Artists Series