"Jeffrey Brown's work is not precious, broken-heart type stuff, but instead renders the terrific blanches and indelible happiness one can inflict upon another." -- Jennifer Przybylski, Rain Taxi
"Brown is a consummate storyteller, with a mixture of believable dialogue that carries both wistful romance and casual cruelty blending with simple artwork that conveys a wide variety of emotions and actions." -- Randy Lander, The Fourth Rail
Originally printed as a limited edition with hand drawn covers, Top Shelf presents the "final chapter" of Jeffrey Brown's so-called Girlfriend Trilogy. AEIOU or Any Easy Intimacy continues to explore the subtleties of relationships explored in Clumsy and Unlikely, concentrating this time on the differences between knowing and loving someone, invoking the reader's relationship with the book as a parallel to being involved with someone. The story is told with Brown's trademark expressive drawings and juxtaposition of humor and heartache.
Apparently, one of the side effects of dating Brown is that he draws a comics memoir about you afterwards. This work, originally published in a limited edition, is Brown's follow-up to his previous dating books Clumsy and Unlikely, and documents the author's relationship with his third girlfriend (a co-worker at a video store) in detail, dredging up some emotionally loaded details. Like those other works, it's drawn in a deceptively low-key, dashed-off-looking way, with one or two little square panels on each page; and it again focuses on the banalities of predate small talk, mid-relationship kidding around and angsty postcoital chatter. Brown and Sophia hang out, have sex, break up, talk on the phone about their relationship, get back together, break up again, make out, argue, etc. There's no plot and no resolution, just a series of snapshots of the moments of intimacy that stick in a lover's memory. Brown draws beautifully offhand-looking doodles have a magisterial sureness. There are a couple of fine set pieces, too, especially a section called "The Long Pause Before a First Kiss." Ultimately, though, Brown adds little to his previous observations on relationships.