Notes to a Note on the Notes of Chester Brown

5. In preparing these notes, I was struck by something in the revised (2006) notes to The Little Man. “When I read a book by someone,” Brown writes, “I appreciate it if they include a photo of themselves somewhere in or on it […]” But how to select a picture for The Little Man, which included stories produced over a span of 15 years? “I decided that the ‘voice’ of the book was defined by the notes that I was then writing,” he says, in explaining why he included a photo taken in 1996. At first glance, this is just housekeeping; but in a curious way he is championing the notes—his handwritten, scrupulously neat reams of script—over the comics that they explicate. That is to say, the “voice” resides in him, the man who not only created the work but who can reflect upon it, provide the details that contextualize it within his life. By constantly revisiting, occasionally revising, and copiously annotating his comics, Brown challenges the idea of a fixed work. A consummate comic-book memoirist who is conscientious about all that gets left out, he turns himself into the hero of his own life, the one lived outside the panels.