STRIPS :: WHAT WOULD DHARBIN DO? :: The Many Rejections of Chester Brown.

First of all, if you've never heard of Chester Brown, run--don't walk!--to your nearest bookseller and buy Ed the Happy Clown and Louis Riel. He's maybe my favorite cartoonist of all time, certainly in the top 5. In organizing the second Indie Island, the indie-cartoonist sub-promotion of HeroesCon, in 2006, I wrote a long (almost certainly boring) letter to Mr Brown, inviting him to be a guest. See, he doesn't use a computer, has no e-mail, and corresponds mainly by phone or (gasp!) fax. An effective barrier against convention-organizers, make no mistake.

ANYway, so I write him this letter, decorate the envelope with a little cartoon (which I did not scan) so he knows I'm at least half-serious. A few weeks later I come back from lunch at work and there's a phone message from a (shock!) Chester Brown! I take an hour or so to get my courage up, call him, talk for about twenty nerve-wracking minutes (during which time he seemed mostly uninterested in coming to the show, although very nice about it). I convince him to think about it, maybe there's a chance, etc., then tell him I'll call him back in a couple of weeks to talk some more. And then promptly lose the number.

So, another envelope, this time even more carefully done. I send it off, but never heard from him, obviously having fulfilled my own prophecy. Epilogue: a few months ago I found the number, called him, received an even more uninterested reaction, with an even more tenuous "Okay, I'll think about it." Last weekend I attended the Toronto Comic Art Festival, which was great, and got to meet him face to face and talk about it. He's not coming, I don't think. But I have to say, across this very slow stalking-via-mail, Chester Brown has been nothing but gracious and flattered by my attentions. Great guy, super cartoonist. One day I will succeed, day....

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