Monday, 18 September 2017

THE CLIFF reviewed on Shelf Abuse dot Com!

Carl Doherty's great review is reproduced in its entirety below.  However, I highly recommend visiting his wonderful site directly:

I can't thank Carl enough for this gem of a summation, and the full gamut from laudatory to critical which he achieves with acuity!

The Cliff - Matthew Brown


2017, Trip Comix
Written and illustrated by Matthew Brown
When I reviewed Matthew Brown’s Architecture Department last year in Indie Penance #8, I wrote that I “didn’t have a much better idea of what it was about as I reached the final page. But that didn’t stop me from loving the book and wanting to read it again soon.” Well, Brown has once again evoked a state of befuddled joy with The Cliff, his second book set within the titular vertical world.
While I believe it began life before Architecture Department (Brown’s Master’s of Architecture thesis forged into a graphic celebration of design), The Cliff continues the world constructed withinthat book, and is a similarly existential passage through a world of improbable structures and allegorical personalities.
The Cliff - Matthew Brown
The plot, for what little justice summarising it can do, follows mafia prince Mutt Blue, whose desire to explore the lower levels of the Cliff sees him exiled from his family and commencing a journey of self-discovery. In an increasingly surreal adventure that seems to take as many elements from Samuel Beckett and Lewis Carroll as it does Cerebus the Aardvark and Peanuts, Mutt finds love and friendship, explores the dark secrets behind his heritage by visiting Earth under the protective wing of a detective penguin, and discovers that you truly can never go home again.
A labour of love that took 13 years to complete, The Cliff is comprised of a “cycle” of five books with a discernable 7-year gap between the first and second instalments. It’s fascinating to see the shift in Brown’s art style and approach to storytelling here; his work is often rudimentary in places and defiantly inconsistent, and therein lies its charm. The Cliff feels raw and personal in places, yet equally detached through its heavy surrealism and symbolism in others; a potently esoteric concoction that lends the plot the mystery of a labyrinthine puzzle. At times, it’s apparent what the author is alluding to, but then the story will take a sudden turn into territory so unexpected that you’ll doubt your initial interpretation. As with Architecture Department, I finished the book convinced that I’d appreciated it merely on surface level and would only glean more on future visits.
The Cliff is for a very specific kind of comic book reader. If you’ve made it this far into the review then you probably know whether or not that’s you. If you’re tired of the same old genre crap, and ready to embrace work that marches to the beat of its own drum, then you owe to yourself to check out Matthew Brown’s work. In an era where so many talented artists and writers limit themselves by producing work for a pre-existing audience, Brown is that rare creator confident enough to take the sort of risks in his storytelling that defy reader expectations. Not all those risks pay off – certainly the Earthbound portion of the story didn’t grip me as much as the Cliff sections that bookend it – but the medium is far richer for those few brave comic creators slinging the tangled inner workings of their heart and mind onto the page with abandon.
Check out Matthew Brown’s books and other autobiographical works at

Sunday, 10 September 2017

What is Meditation? (work in progress) PAGES 34-36

“What is Meditation? And Why Do It?” is an ongoing confessional slapstick autobiography docu-comic about meditation—daily panels can be found on Instagram under Poopsiepenguin... and Facebook.

These pages start the live comics interview with spiritual teacher Frederick "Korim" Prack--explaining how the individual builds their "mental map" of the world in early life, the emergence of "should's" which form a key part of our mental map and cause conflicts with the world, and the key role of awareness.

I have reached my goal for the summer--I completed the entire 73 pages of the graphic novel before heading back to full-time teaching!  Now I just have to fill in a few remaining pages of shading and solid blacks, complete the lettering on a bunch of Notes, and correct all of the new pages on Photoshop!  

Hopefully the book will be ready to launch by May, 2018.  There may even be a simultaneously released French translation... Peut-être même une traduction en français diffusée simultanément!

  Happy to receive your inquiries!

What is Meditation?
(page 34)

What is Meditation?
(page 35)

What is Meditation?
(page 36)

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Good news! THE CLIFF in the Library + Mississauga Living Arts Center

Hurray!  The Toronto Public Library has purchased 4 copies of THE CLIFF!  Now THE CLIFF will be sharing shelf space with the likes of Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, Will Eisner, Daniel Clowes and a host of great cartoonists for the public to enjoy!

Liyat Benchetrit, Jacob Pendergrast, Morgan Phillips

Jacob Pendergrast, Sarah Goodman, Liyat Benchetrit, Morgan Phillips, Colin Matthews

News item: We went into the recording studio this week to record voice tracks for the Local Comic Artists exhibition coming this January-February 2018 at the Mississauga Living Arts Center!  Pages from THE CLIFF will be up in the gallery, along with a video installation of actors reading Book 5 to an original soundtrack by the Cliff Ensemble, plus a live reading with actors and musicians at the opening!  (Watch this space for further details!)

Morgan, Matthew, Colin, Mikhial's elbow, Liyat, Sarah, Jacob

Present at Tuesday's session were actors Morgan Phillips, Sarah Goodman, Jacob Pendergrast, Liyat Benchetrit and Colin Matthews, engineer Mikhial Gurarie, studio impresario Paul Swoger-Ruston and myself--your humble narrator.  These pictures and video shot by the excellent actors hopefully give some idea of the fun we had exploring the heights and depths of THE CLIFF--in glorious stereo!

Colin, Liyat, Matthew, Jacob

Liyat, Matthew, Jacob - Video by Sarah