Every Girl Is The End of the World For Me (Top Shelf)

We accompany the young author on a heady journey through the 2003–04 Christmas holidays, during which he makes out with an old flame, gets hit on by another girl, waits too long to make his move with a third, and generally obsesses over girls, girls, girls. It sounds torrid, but Brown’s comics never overheat.

 

Every Girl Is The End Of The World For Me (Top Shelf; 104 pgs B&W; $8)
(w/a: Jeffrey Brown)

Jeffrey Brown is the lovelorn Sweet Charity of the comics world—falling hard and landing harder. He’s chronicled his romantic misadventures in such collections as Clumsy and Unlikely, crudely drawn memoirs that seem to plod along at the pace of life itself—but that’s a good thing, mostly. His moment-to-moment tracking of the doomed trajectory of his relationships makes for a bluer version of Harvey Pekar: utter banality, with occasional shtupping, and a loner loser stumbling on to the next round of confusion.

endoftheworld.gifEvery Girl Is the End of the World for Me is a coda to Brown’s Girlfriend Trilogy. We accompany the young author on a heady journey through the 2003–04 Christmas holidays, during which he makes out with an old flame, gets hit on by another girl, waits too long to make his move with a third, and generally obsesses over girls, girls, girls. It sounds torrid, but Brown’s comics never overheat. That’s partly due to his just-this-side-of-precious drawing style; the characters are all 20-something naïfs with big, encephalitic water-baby heads and wide eyes—they’re too cute to be sexy.

The “action” of Every Girl, such as it is, consists mainly of the laidback Brown drawing comics at a café, pursuing chicks, and offering up a frequent, annoying “cough cough” in the midst of a serious winter cold. It’s not exactly riveting. In previous Brown books, the honesty and the pain of his callow relationships with women practically oozed through the pages. If they were rich meals, this epilogue is a quick snack.

The various run-ins with old girlfriends, would-be’s, and friends who happen to be girls pile up, with no real narrative arc. It would be too much to ask for this breezy retelling to end with some kind of climax, and it doesn’t.

Every Girl cries out to be read—but only after you’ve killed the Girlfriend trilogy. Characters from those books pop up in the coda, and seeing what Brown does in those earlier tales, pitch-perfect diaries of young lovers and their romps through infatuation and ennui, you’ll have to see things through to the bitter end. | Byron Kerman

 

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