Box Brown broke into the world of Webcomics with a certain sense of wreckless abandon. Launched in 2006 as a Livejournal blog, his strip Bellen was his first foray into sequential art. Inspired by Kochalka’s America Elf, the comic was a rough entrance the world of autobiographical comics—a trial by fire for the artist who had opted to hone his craft in front of an unforgiving audience.
Brown has come a long way over these past few years, both in terms of storytelling and drawing ability. The forthcoming Love is a Peculiar Type of Thing is a culmination of those lessons learned. The book was born when Top Shelf asked the artist to contribute a story to for its newly launched Website. The result was the new book’s titular strip, which, at pages, was the longest work the artist had ever created.
In honor of the upcoming book—and the fact that the both of us were stuck on the East Coast during Stumptown, we sat down with Brown for a couple of quick questions.
Tags: Bellen, Brian Brown Box Brown
Bellen No. 5: Happiness is an Elusive Bastard
By Box Brown
Love has wrought some horrible things in the world of sequential art. Without unwavering explorations into the emotion, the form would be robbed of such groundbreaking works as The Family Circus, Ziggy, and, of course, Love is… Absent these essential entries into the canon, it’s hard to say where the medium might by now, but one thing certainly seems for sure, America’s cube-dwelling Troll Dolls would certainly be a lot lonlier.
Great comics, like any other art form, are supposed to be drawn from misery, right? So naturally, their creators must regularly wallow in their own misery. The logic follows, for the most part—Maus, Jimmy Corrigan, pretty much everything Dan Clowes has ever committed to paper—all of these works are seemingly born of misery, pain, alienation, or some combination thereof.
Box Brown, for his part, operates under the assumption it is, in fact, possible to separate love from schmaltz within the confines of the medium. It’s a bold assertion, to be sure, but the Webcomic artist has two clear allies and inspirations in his pursuit: Jeffrey Brown, who is capable of embracing in all of its syrupy glory when not lamenting its loss, and James Kochalka, who unflinchingly smears his canvas with large brushstrokes of the stuff.