Great, I’m reviewing a Jeffrey Brown graphic novel again. He has so many books released that it would have to happen eventually, so I decided to take the hit and see what his latest release was like. A Matter of Life was released by Top Shelf Productions in July 2013.

Plot Summary

The book features a series of vignettes featuring Jeff Brown’s family life, with a focus on his father and son, both of whom the book is dedicated to. Jeff Brown’s father was a minister, and Jeff Brown spent a lot of his time in church. The early portion of the book focuses on some experiences he had there, and then evolves into him researching religions and books on science. The only good laugh in the novel comes from his expectations when he picks up a book on Scientology, expecting it to be religion based on scientific concepts, but comes away from the reading disappointed and angry at the ridiculous claims of the faith. His son is born, and he shows some of the challenges he and his wife have had raising the child. Not much else happens.

Why It Sucks

Ugggh. So Brown’s ability to write simple dialogue has improved since his failed attempts from Unlikely. Much like Julia Wertz, who did the graphic novel Drinking at the Movies, the vignettes he showcases often have little to do with each other and mostly just end on a punchline of some kind, or as is the case in this book, a good few anti-jokes, some of which I think were unintentional. Wertz’s experiences were a lot funnier and more relatable to me because her situations are more similar to my own. I can’t say that I’ve experienced being married or raising a child, so perhaps his anecdotes would be more interesting to me if I had some similarities with him, but I can’t say that I do. One thing that I do like about Brown is that he writes and illustrates in a style that is commonly associated with children’s literature, but many times the topics of sex get brought up, even though Brown’s past self had a very limited scope of experiences in that realm until his late twenties presumably. But I can’t really say that these lived experiences of Jeff are interesting to me, and I may very well buy another one of his books that isn’t autobiographical in the slightest, because ol’ dude’s life is just boring to me.

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