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Bighead
By Jeffrey Brown
Published by Top Shelf Productions; $12.95 USD

Jeffrey Brown has spent most of his public comics-making career to date bleeding his heart out in relationship-centered autobiographical novels like Clumsy and Unlikely. His Be A Man comic proved, though, that Brown has a sense of humour -- and that's the prime engine of the superhero satire Bighead.

Recalling David Boswell's Reid Fleming, The World's Toughest Milkman in both style and substance, Brown's large-noggined protagonist WOOOSHs into battle time and time again, battling such ne'er-do-wells as "The Brit," "Crabby," and "Girlhair." The non-sequitur packed adventures succeed in part because of their length -- most of the stories are around four pages long; they get in, make their point and get out with a welcome brevity.

Brown's usual crude drawing style is enhanced here with a lot of crosshatching and shading of a type not unusual to find in the work of 8th-Grade wannabe comics artists -- a technique I am quite certain Brown deliberately emulates. There's a hilarious sense of overblown self-importance in the cover copy ("Can Bighead Overcome His Grooviest Nemesis Yet?"), poking fun at the conventions of superhero comics while still, in his own perverse way, providing a satisfying action-packed yarn in each of the tales presented.

Bighead is goofy and more than a little bizarre, and I liked it despite my friend Marshall's correct assessment that "This is the sort of thing you usually hate." Brown gets the tone just right and carries it through the length of the book, so the experience grows richer with each passing chapter despite the seemingly lightweight premise. I can't predict that everyone will love Bighead, but I was unexpectedly engrossed in the weird little world Brown created here, and if you bring the right attitude to it, I think you might be too. Grade: 4/5

-- Alan David Doane


The ADD Blog by Alan David Doane. Trouble with Comics Reviews of comics and graphic novels. Commentary about the artform and industry of comics. Get back to the main page.

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