Interview: Jeffrey Brown on ‘Sulk’ and the ‘Incredible Change-Bots’ Toys
There’s a lot to like about the contradictions surrounding award-winning writer/artist Jeffrey Brown (I Am Going to be Small). His intensely personal work isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when considering properties destined to become action figures, but that didn’t stop Devil’s Due Publishing from licensing the characters from Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots series for their new "Pop" line of collectible toys — the first of which is scheduled for an August release.
In contrast, the work of Brown and several of his peers recently became the focus of an exhibit in the Galerie Anne Barrault in Paris, France. The exhibit, titled "Midwest," promises to explore "the American Midwest, a huge, flat, agricultural area around Chicago, stretching over several states, swept by the winds, dotted with the Great Lakes."
I recently had the chance to speak with the soft-spoken Brown about the Incredible Change-Bots toy deal, as well his upcoming projects and the overseas exhibit of his work.
COMICMIX: How did Change-Bots get connected with Devil’s Due, Jeff?
JEFFREY BROWN: Tim Seeley happens to live around the corner from me and we shop at the same local comic shop. Sam Wells happened to be a groomsman in a wedding that my girlfriend and I were attending, so I met him there.
So I knew all of these people at Devil’s Due. They had the Change-Bots book sitting around, and came to me with the idea.
CMIX: Some of your work is on display in Paris now, from what I hear…
JB: It’s pretty exciting. I wish I could’ve been there.
CMIX: How did this exhibit come about?
JB: There’s this woman, Felicia Atkinson, who was workign with the gallery and she was studying in Chicago. She just wrote to Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen and I to see if we could meet. She had the opportunity to curate a show for the gallery, and had the idea of having a group show with the three of us. We’ve all had our work in shows at various places, but never just the three of us. We’ve had work in group shows, or in connection with comic festivals, but never anything like this.
CMIX: I thought it was an interesting theme for the exhibit, too — especially given its overseas location…
JB: We thought that was a good contrast. All three of us are from the Midwest, so it seemed appropriate. It sort of… reflects… the Midwest.
CMIX: What are you working on these days? What do you have coming up?
JB: I’m starting a series with Top Shelf called Sulk that’s going to be 64-page books, maybe four times a year. The first two issues are set to come out later this year, and the first issue is a new "Bighead" story. The second issue is a Mixed Martial Arts story. One of the later issues will be all-new "Change-Bots" stuff. Each issue will have different stuff, and there will be a "Change-Bots" issue down the road.