Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Quarterly featuring Professor of Linguistics David Crystal OBE

Hello all,my latest article is a collaboration with Professor of Linguistics David Crystal OBE,
A master of the English Language, Mr Crystal has published over 100 books on various subjects, a lot of them on the english language,its origins and lexicon,
David Crystal has also published a number of books on William Shakespeare and has edited
Penguin Classics recent Dictionary of the English Language which was composed by the legendary writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson,as well as host shows on BBC radio and tv,and so many other achievements I think it is worthwhile to visit his website to learn even more,at

I asked Mr Crystal him to do an interview with me and he gladly obliged,

 What first drew you to the work of Samuel Johnson and what effect has it had on your career?

I remember being fascinated by Johnson as a conversationalist long before I began to take a serious interest in his lexicography. But as I developed my interests in the history of English it became apparent that here we have a major figure, not only for his dictionary, but for his views on language, some of which were surprisingly modern, such as his expressed sorrow about dying languages because languages are 'the pedigree of nations'. The dictionary, of course, is extraordinary by any standards. For a book coming out later this month ('Wordsmiths and Warriors: the English Language Tourist's Guide to Britain') Hilary and I visited the garret in London where Johnson compiled the dictionary, and photographed it. Amazing that such a vast work could have come from such a small space! As for the effect on my career? Well, he has provided me with content for several publications. And he's enabled me to meet some wonderful enthusiasts. I was President of the Johnson Society a few years ago, and laid the wreath on his tomb in Westminster Abbey last year. Splendid occasions.

 and William Shakespeare has contributed countless words to the English lexicon and language,which word(s) do you find the most endearing?  

As for the Shakespeare question, well, I don't do 'endearing'. As a linguist, I find all words equally fascinating, in that each has an individual history and a unique range of usage, so I haven't got a 'favourite'. On the other hand, I do find certain aspects of Shakespeare's use of langauge especially apperaling, such as his readiness to engage in functional shift - the use of a noun as a verb, and auchlike. When York says 'Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle', I see a linguistic creativity which is at the heart of English, and which acts as a role model for contemporary users. 

Thank you very much Sir,I really appreciate that,David, many good wishes to you,

Tony Solomun

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tony Solomun's The Quarterly featuring Jeffrey Brown,

Tony Solomun's
The Quarterly

typeset in Sabon,the main font used in many Penguin Classics books,

Hello and thank you for reading my book,I have been writing The Quarterly for a number of years now,
This series of books is dedicated to various writers and artists,of any format,
In most cases the creator who the issue is dedicated to collaborates in a way with myself for the book,
In the first volume,Chris Ware,personally approved and gave me the go ahead to publish the book,
the second volume included an interview with 3 time Emmy Award winner Gary Panter,
whilst following volumes had a cover by King-Cat creator, John Porcellino,essays by Alan Moore's
daughter and son-in-law Leah Moore and John Reppion,as well as interviews with Shannon Wheeler, who is the creator of Too Much Coffee Man and a New Yorker cartoonist.

For this volume I contacted good friend and versatile creator Jeffrey Brown,the writer and artist of
Clumsy,Unlikely and AEIOU as well as many many other graphic novels,Mr Brown was very gracious and kind enough to collaborate on an interview and open to any questions I had for before I proceed,I would like to say a massive thank you to Jeffrey Brown.

To say Jeffrey Brown is a diverse and versatile creator is a large understatement,Mr Brown has proven himself in so many mediums its difficult to list them all,Though he has done it all,and continues to do so at a prolific rate,
Jeffrey Brown is a fairly young creator who has published quite an in depth and large body of work,moreso than the majority of creators have done who are 20-30 years older than him, with this behind him he surely has an even more fruitful career ahead of him,
He has written on many subjects,ranging from love,relationships,toys,autobiographical,antedates,even cats and as of recent times Star Wars books,
His work transcends all mediums,genres and norms,when one is truly enmeshed and into his work,one fully understands the breadth and versatility of one Jeffrey Brown,
I only found out about his work in 2010,with Clumsy,at first I wasn't fully into his artwork style to be honest,though after time it grew on me,and ever since I have liked its evolution,now I cannot imagine Mr Brown having any other art style,though he mixes it up very well and when a project calls for a change,Jeffrey moves with the flow,
He can do black and white, as he has done with a majority of his autobiographical books with top shelf productions,
yet he can also illustrate in colour very fluidly as well,with his Incredible Change-Bots series of books along with his recent Star Wars books and most recent release of 'A Matter of Life'.
Simply put, Jeffrey Brown is in a league of his own truly,he constantly entertains and provokes thought,
I look forward to what he does next.

Brief Book Review

Darth Vader and Son

Darth Vader and Son is the first of a series of all-ages Star Wars books published by Chronicle Books that Jeffrey Brown has done,
Within this book are an array of jokes,gags,one-liners of a young jedi Luke Skywalker and his interactions with his
father,Anakin Skywalker or in other words…Darth Vader,set somewhere in between Star Wars Episode III and IV,
I found myself laughing out loud on countless occasions with the humour presented,in a professional and hilarious way,
the art style fits in perfectly with the scripting,and the jokes are not crass,obscene in any way,and any Star Wars fan would find quite a number of the in-jokes and references very humorous.
All in all,an enjoyable book,I can see myself coming back to it when in need of a laugh,


A run down of many of the books Jeffrey Brown has written and illustrated and where you can find them,

Clumsy-Top Shelf Productions
Unlikely-Top Shelf Productions
AEIOU or Any Easy Intimacy-Top Shelf Productions
Sulk Vol 1,2 and 3- Top Shelf Productions
Funny Misshapen Body - Top Shelf Productions
Feeble Attempts- Top Shelf Productions
I am going to be small- Top Shelf Productions
Incredible Change Bots Vol 1,2, - Top Shelf Productions
Undeleted Scenes - Top Shelf Productions
Every Girl is the end of world for me- Top Shelf Productions
Little Things-A Memoir in Slices- Simon and Schuster
A Matter of Life - Top Shelf Productions
Star Wars:Darth Vader and Son- Chronicle Books
Star Wars:Darth Vader's Little Princess- Chronicle Books
Star Wars:Jedi Academy-Scholastic

As you can see there are a sizeable amount of books that Mr Brown has completed,and many entries in countless anthologies as well,
Jeffrey Brown has also wrote the 2012 film starring Allison Brie,Save The Date,which was nominated for the
Grand Jury Prize at  The Sundance Film Festival,and illustrated various music albums,even contributing art to a music video as well as being the illustrator of the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Edith Wharton's 'Ethan Frome'.

I asked Jeffrey Brown the following questions about his work and he was happy enough to collaborate,here are his answers,

Tony Solomun:

You've proven yourself adept at many genres of creativity,doing deeply personal graphic novels(Clumsy,Unlikely)etc.
which are insightful to the human condition,as well as books about cats,and gaming culture,(Incredible Change Bots,)
to doing Star Wars related books, do you find the transition seamless or hard to change genres with such ease?

Jeffrey Brown:

I find the transition to be pretty seamless, actually. I tend to just follow my interests, and growing up as a sci-fi and superhero fan, that's always been something I wanted to do - draw X-Men and Star Wars and whatnot. I feel like even when I am drawing those more fantastical bits, I'm still putting a lot of my own emotional self into it. So whatever I'm working on still ends up reflecting my own personality and feelings, even when it's widely different genres or subjects. I also actually enjoy switching genres - when I'm getting too bogged down drawing a mopey autobiographical story, I can spend some time writing some Incredible Change-Bots stories, and when I feel like I've spent too much time drawing nonsense, I can go back to more serious or meaningful work with the autobiographical material.

Thank you very much Jeffrey Brown for participating and thank you dear reader,for reading The Quarterly.



Best Book Designers

1. Chip Kidd
2. Chris Ware
3. Seth
4. Coralie Bickford-Smith
5. Leanne Shapton
6. Jillian Tamaki
7. Jessica Hische

1000 Poems and Short Stories-I've done it,and achieved my grand goal.

Hello all,and thank you for reading my blog,

As of last week,I reached my grand goal of writing 1000 poems and short stories,I placed this goal on myself in 2009 to hopefully reach in 10 years or less,
well,4 years later I've done it,the clear majority of the writing has been done since 2009,and 500 since August 2011,
I would like to thank my mentor first and foremost,David Mack,for helping and inspiring and influencing me along the way,as well as Mike Allred,Chris Ware,Seth,Gary Panter and so many more,my many thanks,

I will not rest on my laurels,In the meantime I finished the 6th volume of The Quarterly tonight,and will post that right away,

Thank you again my friends.

Tony Solomun