Clumsy . It tells of Brown losing his virginity at age 24 and the relation"/>

Unlikely

Jeffrey Brown, Author, Jeffrey Brown, Illustrator . Top Shelf $14.95 (227p) ISBN 978-1-891830-41-9

Brown's second autobiographical graphic novel mines similar territory to his debut, Clumsy . It tells of Brown losing his virginity at age 24 and the relationship that precedes and follows the event. Brown meets Allisyn at a party and they begin a slow courtship, culminating in a confused and uncomfortable sexual relationship, which then begins to eat away at their relationship in general. As with Clumsy , Brown makes an otherwise straightforward tale compelling. Unlikely is composed of vignettes, each isolating a moment in their relationship—a conversation, a party, hanging out—that deliver essential bits of thematic and emotional information. This allows readers to see the relationship as Brown experienced it, without the false strictures of quotidian continuity. We see the pair only in the context of their togetherness; there are no subplots or narrative detours. Brown's dialogue is perfect, lending the proceedings an unerring sense of authenticity. His drawing, ragged at first glance, is minimal, nuanced cartooning, using a minimum of lines for maximum effect. And remarkably, the work avoids the usual pitfalls of autobiographical comics: Brown never asks readers for pity, nor does he offer up a confession. There are no lyrical interludes, and the unsparing documentation ensures that voyeurism never enters into the mix. Through careful editing and scene selection, he lets the story unfold as though, in a sense, it didn't happen to him. Readers are left with only the exterior facts, and must make up their own minds about the characters based solely on what Brown shows. (July)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
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