I Am Going to be Small


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I Am Going to be Small


  • Words: Jeffrey Brown
  • Art: Jeffrey Brown
  • Inks: Jeffrey Brown
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
  • Price: $14.00

Think of The Far Side. Now add tits. The book is called I Am Going to be Small. On the cover, a thumb squeezes down on a tiny version of the author, Jeffrey Brown. Brown might be better known for his shoe-gazing, emo-tastic excavations of his relationship woes, but if the cover is any indication, he sure has a goofy sense of humor.

Seeing it on the shelf, I really wasn’t too sure whether to pick it up. I’ve liked Brown’s work in the past, though I really felt the need to start from the beginning with his series of autobio-cum-heartbreak comics. That sense of broken continuity was completely misplaced, since this is a collection of one-off strips and humor gags. The work is in the tradition of New Yorker or Playboy single-panel comics, only with no aspirations to literary acclaim. The book isn’t high brow. With gags about urinals, nose-picking, sexual hang-ups and those funny moments immediately preceding impending doom, it might be enough to suggest there’s something for everyone in this book. Whether everyone will enjoy every joke is another question altogether. Even Brown seems to admit his humor isn’t universal. He dedicates the book to his parents who had always laughed, if occasionally nervously.

The art has a scratchy quality that might at first be off-putting. Behind the front cover are some reviews that would make a grown man cry, in either joy or embarrassment. One review compares Brown’s cartoon style to that of a five-year old. Another suggests that the drawings were drawn left-handed. On the contrary, Brown’s cartooning is dependably cute. If anything, the work is simple enough that the humor (which again, ranges somewhere between potty and irony) is the spotlight.

Towards the end of the book, there’s a continuing series called Cuticle. It’s a bunch of four-panel gags featuring four creatures of the forest. Bizarrely enough, it seems that this is where Brown hides his personal moments in the book. There’s no illusion that these are really a bear, a bird, a cat and a bunny (and this last two with ridiculous breasts – they’re girls after all). These don’t seem to be moments in a longer narrative, but odd instances between girls and boys, species notwithstanding.

Jeffrey Brown’s humor is occasionally clever, has lots of chuckles, and is sometimes even surprisingly smart. I Am Going to be Small is full of twisted giggles and awkward guffaws.

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