The Little Man (comics)
|The Little Man: Short Strips 1980-1995|
Cover to the 2nd edition (2006)
|Page count||271 pages|
|Publisher||Drawn and Quarterly|
978-1-896-59713-3 (2nd ed. SC)
|Preceded by||I Never Liked You|
|Followed by||Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography|
The Little Man: Short Strips 1980–1995 is a collection of short works by award-winning Canadian cartoonist Chester Brown, published by Drawn and Quarterly in 1998. It collects most of Brown's non-graphic novel short works up to that point, with the notable exception of his incomplete adaptations of the gospels.
The collection is especially notable for the cartoon essay My Mom was a Schizophrenic, which Cerebus creator Dave Sim says "was the piece that originally gave Chester the taste for comic-book journalism, the research, the annotations and all the headaches that go with it" in reference to the research-heavy Louis Riel which began soon after this collection appeared.
This book also notably collects the stories Helder, Showing Helder, The Little Man and Danny's Story which, together with the graphic novels The Playboy and I Never Liked You make up the main portion of what is considered Brown's much-lauded autobio period. It was this group of works that was placed #38 on the prestigious Comics Journal's list of the 100 best comics of the century.
- The Toilet Paper Revolt (1980)
- City Swine (1981)
- Walrus Blubber Sandwich (1981)
- Mars (1982)
- Bob Crosby and his Electric TV (1982)
- Dirk the Gerbil (1982)
- Brad's Enlightenment (1984)
- Garbage Day (1984)
- My Old Neighborhood[a] (1984)
- An Authentic Inuit Folk Song (1984)
- I Live in the Bottomless Pit (1984)
- Things to Avoid Stepping On (1985)
- Help Me Dear (1985)
- The Gourmets from Planet X (1986)
- A Late Night Snack (1986)
- An American Story (1986)
- The Twin (1986)
- Back to Obedience School (1986)
- Anti-Censorship Propaganda (1988)
- The Afternoon of March the 3rd (1988)
- Helder (1989)
- Showing "Helder" (1989)
- The Little Man (1991)
- The Weird Canadian Artist (1991)
- Danny's Story (1991)
- Knock Knock (1993)
- My Mom was a Schizophrenic (1995)
Between finishing Ed the Happy Clown and starting Underwater, Brown started on what's known as his autobiographical period, in which he produced two graphic novels and a number of shorter works. The first of these was Helder which appeared in Yummy Fur #19. Helder, Showing Helder, The Little Man and Danny's Story are works from this period that are reproduced in this collection.
My Mom Was a Schizophrenic
Originally appearing in Underwater #4, Brown has said he wanted to write an anti-psychiatry mini-comic in the style of a Jack Chick pamphlet. He distributed "a couple hundred" photocopies of the eight-pager, leaving them in telephone booths and bus shelters around Toronto. Brown calls the strip an "essay".
The strip is an anti-psychiatric tract that takes the stance that schizophrenia is not a disease, but a way to label people "-- not by looking for signs of disease but by looking for socially unacceptable beliefs and behaviour." Brown's mother doesn't actually appear in the strip, nor is she directly talked about except briefly in the footnotes, although she appears in The Playboy and I Never Liked You. In I Never Liked You she passes away in the hospital.
Brown intended the strip to cover some of the ideas of R. D. Laing and Thomas Szasz. He first encountered the ideas that would provide the basis of the strip in Szasz's Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry, which he came across in 1990.
The strip is six pages, each laid out in a 9-panel grid, which "seems to be well suited for 'talking at the reader' stories", as it "really lets the author pack in the dialogue". It came complete with two pages of footnotes, which were expanded on in the collection.
In 1997, Brown took some time off of doing his series Underwater to put together the Little Man collection. During this time, his father died, and Brown felt that he'd lost focus on Underwater and decided to put it to an end, switching to Louis Riel.
The book originally came with a 12-page appendix, with notes on the backgrounds of each of the stories in the collection. The 2006 edition of the book added four more pages of commentary to the appendix.
|1998||Ignatz Awards||Outstanding Graphic Novel or Collection||Nominated|
|1999||Harvey Award Nominations||Special Award for Excellence in Presentation||Nominated|
|Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work||Nominated|
|French||Le Petit Homme||Éditions Delcourt (Outsider collection)||2009-03-04||Laurence Lemaire||978-2-756-01661-0|
|Korean||똑똑 리틀맨||Sai Comics||2004-11||8-932905-84-3|
- Sim 2003, part 2.
- The Comics Journal 1999.
- Brown 1998, p. 163.
- Brown 1998, p. 168.
- Brown 1998, p. 168; Birch 2012, p. 174.
- Juno 1997.
- Birch 2012, p. 174.
- Brown 1995, p. 154.
- Wolk 2007, p. 147.
- Juno 1997, p. 141.
- Santoro 2010.
- Park 2011b, p. 2.
- Ignatz Awards official website
- Harvey Awards official website
- Although Brown normally prefers Canadian spelling, in this story he uses the spelling "Neighborhood" rather than "Neighbourhood"
- Brown, Chester (1998) . "My Mom was a Schizophrenic". The Little Man: Short Stories 1980-1995. Drawn and Quarterly. ISBN 1-896597-13-0.
- Birch, Michael (2012). "My Mom was a Schizophrenic". Mediating Mental Health: Contexts, Debates and Analysis. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 174–185. ISBN 978-0-7546-7474-0. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- Brown, Chester (1998). The Little Man: Short Stories 1980-1995. Drawn and Quarterly. ISBN 1-896597-13-0.
- Groth, Gary; Spurgeon, Tom, eds. (February 1999). "The Top 100 (English-Language) Comics of the Century". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (210): 34–108. ISSN 0194-7869.
- Juno, Andrea (1997). "Interview with Chester Brown". Dangerous Drawings. Juno Books, LLC. pp. 130–147. ISBN 0-9651042-8-1.
- Park, Ed (2011-05-02). "Text Appeal". Toronto Standard. Retrieved 2011-05-05. (followup at The Comics Journal, Notes to a Note on the Notes of Chester Brown)
- Park, Ed (2011-05-11). "Notes to a Note on the Notes of Chester Brown". The Comics Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- Santoro, Frank (2010-10-23). "9-Panel Grids". Comics Comics. Retrieved 2011-05-09. External link in
- Sim, Dave (2003). "Getting Riel (interview)". Cerebus. Aardvark-Vanaheim (295–297). Also available online: parts 1 2 and 3.
- Wolk, Douglas (2007). "Chester Brown: The Outsider". Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean. Da Capo Press. pp. 147–155. ISBN 978-0-306-81509-6.