Notes to a Note on the Notes of Chester Brown

Here are some notes to a piece I wrote about the notes of Chester Brown, whose Paying for It: A Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John is out this week from Drawn & Quarterly. If you're curious about the piece, it can be read at the website Toronto Standard.

1. I thought of Geoff Dyer, in Out of Sheer Rage, calling Marguerite Yourcenar’s notes to her Memoirs of Hadrian “a text of far greater interest to me than the novel to which it is appended.”


6 Responses to Notes to a Note on the Notes of Chester Brown

  1. RobClough says:

    #5 is a very interesting point, especially regarding the idea of challenging a fixed work. There's a line of aesthetic theory that states that once an artist releases a work into the wild, so to speak, that the work is no longer strictly their dominion. It belongs to those who experience it as well, in the sense that they will have a particular aesthetic response to that piece. The annotations seem to suggest that Brown perhaps wants a chance to explain or even influence a reader's experience, even years after the fact when he starts to have a different point of view about a work he created. It's clear that the annotations, to some extent, are based on the feedback of readers (even if it's just his friends), and it's a way not to change the actual art (which he rarely revises) but to engage with and even participate in criticism about the work. Brown is interesting because he has a strong aesthetic reaction to his own work that he's fully willing to share and argue about.

  2. JasonOverby says:

    Hmmm… Are there supposed to be images of the original 'notes?' Can't see em on Safari or Firefox…

  3. raphaeladidas says:

    Yeah, I can't see anything in Safari or Firefox either.

  4. Tim Hodler says:

    There's nothing missing. We just published the footnotes.

  5. JasonOverby says:

    Cool. All that space between the post's title and the notes had me fooled.

  6. acidtoyman says:

    If you think he "rarely revises" his artwork, you should see the difference between the original Louis Riel series and the collected book. Some of the changes are pretty drastic—added panels in between others to change the pacing, moving speaking characters off-screen, adding backgrounds where they had been black, blackening in backgrounds, adding crosshatching…When he talks about it, he makes it seem like he only revised the earlier panels to make the earlier character designs match the later ones (making the bodies bigger and the heads smaller) but the changes are actually pretty drastic and extensive.

    He also replaced quite a few of the panels in "Showing Helder" when it was collected in "The Little Man". Not to mention completely changing the ending to "Ed the Happy Clown".

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