Monday, 10 September 2012

Matthew Brown - A Short Comic Book Bio - 1989-2012

Matthew Brown’s first cartoon was published in NOW Magazine in January, 1989.

“Boony Boy Encounters the
Rational Thought Process” from
NOW Magazine Jan. 5-11, 1989

While still in high school he self-published the photocopied comic book Entropy, introducing his iconic character Poopsie the Penguin, and had a few pieces published in local magazines and compendiums.

Poopsie the Penguin about to destroy
the world accidentally in his first

Soon thereafter Brown participated in the Montreal underground comix scene along with cartoonists Simon Bosse, Alex Lafleur, Siris, Julie Doucet, Marc Tessier, Stephane Olivier, Richard Suicide, Martin Lemm and many others from 1991-1993 with his photocopied mini-comic book Fear Itself, published by Gogo Guy Publications.  Brown joined lancements (launchings,) b.d.-en-directs (public comic book jams) and mural paintings, as well as earning a degree in Theatre from Concordia University.  The Montreal Mirror wrote of his comic book work that Brown “… presents meandering David Lynch narratives involving a penguin character who has the makings to become a minor cult figure.” (THE MIRROR - Montreal - Oct 31 - 91 - Vol7-No20, "Tintin goes underground: Welcome to the small and bizarre world of alternative cartoonists," by Jack Ruttan.)


The covers to Fear Itself`#'s 1,3, 4 and 5
published in Montreal by Gogo Guy
Publications, 1991-1992

During this period Brown got positive comments and words of encouragement through mail correspondence with prominent comic book artists Chester Brown, Dan Clowes, Dave Sim, Jim Woodring and Terry Laban.
After two trips to India in 1995 and 1996 Brown entered the field of education and dropped off comic book output, concentrating on writing, his career and meditation. 

"The Samsaric Ocean", first page
from Fear Itself # 6
 , 2002

During a Buddhist retreat in 2001 Brown had a vision and returned to comic books, self-publishing issues 6 and 7 of his previous photocopied mini-comic book Fear Itself in 2002 and 2003 under the banner of Ambient Zero Publications.  During this time Brown dove into Toronto`s D.I.Y. zine scene, flogging his wares at the Canzine and Cut and Paste zine fairs, taking part in the Cameron House Comic Book Jams and organizing launches with live music for books by himself and other artists.
After studying Design for two years at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design,) Brown self-published the photocopied mini-comic book The Cliff (Book One) in 2005, where he attempted for the first time to tackle mature emotional relationships in his work, in addition to the usual surreal, nightmare humour and compassion of his stories.

The covers to Fear Itself`# 6
The Cliff (Book One)

From 2005-2008 Brown pursued a Master`s of Architecture at the University of Toronto, during which time he became completely exhausted and disenchanted with artistic output.  Several months short of completing the program he dropped out and accepted an offer to become principal of a small private high school.

However, in 2011 Editions TRIP published Fear Itself: Matthew Brown`s Comix from 1988-2008, a 200-page anthology which they launched at TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival).  Brown had been away from comic books for long enough to notice the scene had changed in many positive ways.

Signing a copy of the Fear Itself compendium at TCAF (Toronto Comic
Arts Festival,) May, 2011

This was the seed of a renewed love for comic books and Brown has now returned with his first full graphic novel: The Cliff—Books 1&2, a 64-page epic further exploring the Alice in Wonderland-dystopia fairy tale world he established in Book One from 2005 with a completely new chapter drawn 7 years later, exploring the highs and lows of relationships, power struggles, the quest for identity and the consequences of not paying for samosas.

The new book will be launched in Toronto at TRANZAC (Brunswick, just south of Bloor) on Saturday, October 6, from 6pm onwards for discounted cover price, accompanied by live music from violin virtuoso Ezra Azmon and others.  No admission.  It will be a celebration and all are invited.
Brown can be reached at this blog and at his email,   

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