So, it’s Second Thursday again, when I post comics from the archives to my Patreon page, as well as the latest installment of my webcomic, ARE YOU BEING WATCHED?
David Chelsea is reading: Little Things: A Memoir in Slices
by Jeffrey Brown
This month it’s something pretty damned obscure, a trove of flyers featuring early versions of my autobiographical comic strip DAVID CHELSEA IN LOVE.
My mid-1980s career as an East Village version of Weird Al (I sang my own lyrics to familiar rock instrumentals like TELSTAR and WIPE OUT) has left little trace, thankfully so; I never made any recordings, and so far no performance tapes have surfaced to embarrass me on the internet. What I do have left are a handful of self-drawn performance flyers, which I used to glue with wheat paste on lampposts around the neighborhood (gosh knows if they attracted any paying customers to my shows; usually the crowd was made up mostly of friends I had guilt-tripped into showing up). I was working on sketchbook versions of DAVID CHELSEA IN LOVE at the time, and I eventually wound up using sequences from the strip as flyers.
These early drawings have a more blunt, punkish look than the ornate, Winsor McCay-influenced style of the version eventually published by Eclipse in the early 90s, and are drawn mostly with a brush instead of a pen. My co-performers tend to be singers from the East Village Anti-Folk scene like Lach, John S. Hall, Paulette Ray, and Roger Manning.
I was just beginning my decades-long preoccupation with perspective, and occasionally I would attempt something ambitious, like this isometric view of my apartment:
(Note the icky menstrual stain, hand-drawn on each copy of the flyer in red marker.)
Eventually the flyers evolved into a serialized strip which I distributed at performances, and little by little, the cartooning supplanted my performing ambitions entirely (I’ll be posting that serialized strip version at some future point).
Years later, after DAVID CHELSEA IN LOVE assumed its final form as a graphic novel, I produced a series of flyers to promote the book at comics shops in Portland, New York, Chicago and Las Angeles. Each flyer was tailored to the specific city, but followed the same pattern- I am looking high and low for my best gal Minnie, I wander through a few local landmarks, and eventually find her in the pages of DAVID CHELSEA IN LOVE, available at a local comics store. This is the version drawn for Portland, featuring the independent store Looking Glass Books, which was run by my old friends Bill Kloster and Katy Radditz:
Want to know what all the fuss is about? Buy a copy of DAVID CHELSEA IN LOVE on Amazon:
Patreon is a reader-supported site, but all comics content is free. If you like what you see, tell your friends, and $how Your $upport!