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Chester Brown

Chester William David Brown is a Canadian cartoonist and, since 2008, the Libertarian Party of Canada’s candidate for the riding of Trinity-Spadina in Toronto, Canada.

Brown has gone through several periods in his work, most famously the improvised, surreal, scatological Ed the Happy Clown in the 1980s, his revealing, confessional autobiographical comics of the early 1990s, his biographical graphic novel of rebellious Métis leader Louis Riel, and his pro-prostitution polemic, Paying for It. His work has tended towards controversial themes and content, which has caused it to be dropped from a distributor and a printer, and has been held up at the Canadian border.

His underground work was initially self-published as a minicomic called Yummy Fur. Yummy Fur was picked up by the Toronto-based independent comics publisher Vortex Comics in 1986, and became a regular black-and-white comic book. Since 1991, most of his output has been published by the Montreal-based Drawn and Quarterly. As of the publication of Paying for It, he has given up on serializing his work and has started to publish his work directly as graphic novels. He has received grants from the Canadian government to complete his work on Louis Riel and Paying for It.

Especially in the 1990s, Brown was strongly associated with fellow Toronto cartoonists Seth and Joe Matt, and the autobiographical comics trend during that period. The three would often depict one another in their own comics, do comics and minicomics together, and appear in interviews together.