Monday, 27 August 2018

WHAT IS MEDITATION? reviewed on 'Shelf Abuse dot com'!

Thanks Carl Doherty for this great review!  Honest and articulate, as always. Link and review follow:

2018, Trip Comix
Written and illustrated by Matthew Brown
For his latest graphic novel, What Is Meditation?, Matthew Brown mixes the autobiographical with illustrated transcripts for an intimate reflection on meditation that’s unlike anything else I’ve read.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s experienced Brown’s previous efforts, The Cliff and Architecture Department. The former was an existential odyssey that took thirteen years to complete and traversed a variety of art and storytelling approaches. The latter was Brown’s master’s thesis in architecture told in comic form, and was extremely inventive if (by its very nature) ultimately confounding.
What Is Meditation? And Why Should I Do It? - Matthew BrownWhat Is Meditation? And Why Should I Do It? is a similarly novel combination of three comics; one detailing Brown’s relationship with meditation and two illustrated interviews with teachers of the practice. These are followed by additional personal notes and full transcripts of the conversations, and there’s also a warm introduction by the legendary Chester Brown.
The autobiographical frame story is a joy, as Brown touches upon his life’s travels and relationships with Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, Lao Tzu and Nisargadatta Maharaj with a lightness that never veers towards the didactic or condescending.
As a “critical bastard” (a friend’s words, not mine) who is sceptical of anything spiritual, I found the first interview, with Edward “Edji” Muzika, rather insubstantial, his thoughts on awareness and enlightenment too egocentric and paradoxical to convert a non-subscriber. The interview with Frederick Prack, however, makes for some truly insightful discourse. Prack’s philosophy on identity, mind models and what it means to be conscious could benefit even the most materialistic and grounded of beings.

I like Brown’s work a lot. His artwork isn’t immediately appealing, in that it’s not especially sophisticated or charming, but there’s an endless creativity here, an earnestness that makes his three graphic novels stand out from the pack. His dense imagery and naturalistic approach to narrative draw you in, and he’s not afraid to apply the comic book structure in bold new ways. His storytelling here is more confident than those earlier efforts, too, particularly in the playful frame story.
Due to its introspective nature, What Is Meditation? And Why Should I Do It? doesn’t reallyanswer its own title, but Matthew Brown’s journey through his practice proves an authentic and engaging oddity.

Sunday, 29 July 2018


I am happy and honoured to say that Newton Rocha Nitro, "nerd culture blogger" and teacher extraordinaire, has reviewed the WHAT IS MEDITATION? graphic novel online from Brazil!

WHAT IS MEDITATION? reviewed in Brazil by Newton Rocha Nitro!

 WHAT IS MEDITATION reviewed in Brazil by Newton Rocha Nitro

Monday, 16 July 2018


I grew up reading The New Yorker cartoons... many of them, including those enigmatic ones by Saul Steinberg, William Steig and Gahan Wilson intrigued me, puzzled me and ultimately were very influential.

Also a big influence on my approach has been British illustrator Quentin Blake--who illustrated all the Roald Dahl children's books--which also hugely affected my mentality! I didn't really take into account how much Quentin Blake's sketchy and loose yet vital, imaginatively charged line provided a model to me until I was recently looking at my completed MEDITATION graphic novel, trying to figure out why it is that my drawing style looks so different from the norms of most other North American comics--but still looks within the acceptable norms of illustration to me (if no-one else.)

Friday, 6 July 2018

Shout Out from Chester Brown re: Meditation!

Chester Brown, renowned cartoonist has a few kind words to say about the WHAT IS MEDITATION? graphic novel... thanks heartily Chester!  Below is an excerpt from his blog... click the link for the full story!

Matthew showed up and we had lunch and he told all about how much he’s enjoying being a father. (He’s been a dad for less than two months now.) 
He’s also got a new graphic-novel out about meditation:
I enjoyed it and wrote the introduction. It’s in large part a tribute to his spiritual teachers, Ed Muzika and Fred Prack. I’ve been hearing about those guys from Matthew for a while, so it’s nice to have a comprehensive introduction to their ideas. And the cartooning is great — rubbery and loose.
I’m not sure that I was the perfect guy to write the introduction since I don’t meditate. My “spiritual practice” is mostly centred around Byron Katie’s “Work”. She calls it a form of meditation, but that doesn't seem accurate to me. Katie’s Work is a method of analyzing one’s thoughts so that one gains some distance from them and, ultimately, stops identifying with them. From my understanding of meditation, the goal is similar, but the method of achieving the goal is quite different. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

WHAT IS MEDITATION? now available in bookstores!

I'm happy to say that the "WHAT IS MEDITATION?" graphic novel, featuring live comics interviews with two living meditation masters, a summary of great spiritual teachers from the Buddha down to Ramana Maharshi and tips on emotional healing and mindfulness in meditation, is now available at these fine Toronto bookstores!  Hop on down and grab yourself a copy!  (Also makes effective doorstop or can be rolled up and used as a telescope.)  Featuring an introduction by underground comics luminary CHESTER BROWN!
Also available on direct order from yours truly.

Seekers Books 509 Bloor St. W @ Bathurst 416.925.1982 
Doug Miller Book Room 650 Bloor St. W @ Bathurst 416.482.5665 
The Beguiling Comic Shop 319 College @ Spadina 416.533.9168 
Sonic Boom Records 215 Spadina @ Dundas 416.532.0334 
Redeye Espresso 29 McCaul @ Queen St. W. (416) 598-0598
Book City - Danforth @ Pape 348 Danforth Ave (416) 469-9997
Book City - Beaches 1950 Queen E 416.698.1444 
Book City - St. Clair @ 1430 Yonge 416.926.0749
Book City - Bloor West Village 2354 Bloor Street West (416) 961-4496
Page & Panel Comic Shop @ Yonge & Bloor 416.323.9212
Silver Snail Comic Shop 329 Yonge @ Dundas 416.593.0889 
Good Things Espresso 235 Broadview Ave. @ Dundas St. E (647) 3525150
Riverdale Trading Company Record Shop (The Friendly Stranger) 760 Queen St. E @ Broadview (647) 715-9333

Monday, 28 May 2018


These are some of the comments have come in from readers of the "WHAT IS MEDITATION?" graphic novel... I am delighted and grateful for them!

"Yes, it is interesting how books can show up and change your life in a way.... I loved both interviews! Self-awareness is a powerful tool that can turn around our perspective of life.... I enjoyed reading it and looking at it. Your drawings can help the descriptions of the experiences that you or others lived through meditation.

W. Daniel Reyes Corral (PhD Candidate - Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montréal, Québec)

"What an amazing document you have created!  You did an expert job of combining a wealth of detailed information about meditation, a most engaging story about your own spiritual journey, and the delightful drawings readers have come to expect in your work.

·         The two interviews are in-depth studies of meditation that would offer new insights to experienced practitioners.
·         Your own journey is fascinating to explore. You really put yourself out there, Matthew, with candid assessments of your life struggles and triumphs. I believe that your experiences and frank sharing will be of great help to many readers.
·         Your skill in drawing is certainly on view in this book. On page 23 for example, the face of Edward Muzika, your face, the female figure, and the swirling paths…make a stunning combination. That whole section from pages 23-43 is so visually compelling. You depict so much “soul” with a few lines—in the faces of Muktananda, Muzika, your own.
·         I stared at the nine frames on p. 48 for a long time. Just wonderful!

And there are so many more examples. No one has ever seen a graphic novel like this before.  I keep thinking about the hundreds of hours, working alone, creating all this. You can be very proud."

- Janet Glasspool (Former Director of Education - Bluewater District School Board, Ontario)

Sunday, 13 May 2018

"WHAT IS MEDITATION?" has launched! TCAF 2018 - It's a wrap

"WHAT IS MEDITATION?" has launched! TCAF 2018 - It's a wrap. We had fun... Chester Brown and Fred Prack dropped by... met some great people. The actual book is finally here!
You can still order one...will start sending them out soon! Quyen and I are expecting a baby any moment so it may take a while! Please email me if you'd like to add your order! :)

Marc Tessier​ and I trying to look serious with the beautiful book that is finally here and ready for all... thanks for the help of Richard Brown​, Rolly Brown​, Chester Brown (not related) for proofreading it and graphic designer Bora Tekogul for his awesome "Matthew Brown" font!