My Favorite Cartoonist

No one has had more influence over my art than my old friend, the legendary Brian Dewan. He’s a songwriter, composer, builder, music historian, and fine artist, but in my world he’s always been, first and foremost, a cartoonist, because he understands better than anybody how ideas and images can be distilled to their essence, a magic trick I’m still trying to learn.

I talk a lot about how Kurt Busiek got me into comics in junior high school, but despite a statistically-improbable cluster of geniuses my age growing up within a block of my house in Lexington, MA (including Brian’s amazing brother Ted whose photo of Brian I stole above), no one did more to unlock the mysteries of art for me than Brian.

One of Brian’s coolest inventions, his funny, touching, brilliant, insane, and unforgettable filmstrips, have been issued as a DVD collection from Bright Red Rocket. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Here’s an audio portrait of the talented Mr. Dewan, courtesy of NPR, which includes the filmstrip Innovations (from which the above screenshots were taken) if you’d like a sample.

Discussion (6)¬

  1. Ben Lund says:

    “. . . statistically-improbable cluster of geniuses my age growing up within a block of my house in Lexington, MA . . . .”

    I think that you have to control the analysis for all of the Harvard and MIT faculty (including what were essentially spinoffs at Lincoln Lab and Hanscom Air Force Base). 🙂

    • Scott says:

      Oh, absolutely. IIRC, Brian and Ted’s Dad did indeed work at Lincoln Labs. My father worked at Raytheon.

    • John McLeod says:

      Well, yes, but we’re talking about a circle of radius 100 feet at the street-corner that also enclosed Chris Bing ( http://www.christopherbing.com/ ). That’s pretty extraordinary. I’m remembering that our late neighbor David may have actually been a bigger influence than the relatively middle-brow (then) zip 02420 environment.

  2. Steph says:

    Scott just saw a TED presentation – your excitement for the medium of comics and more importantly how they will endure in a digital format. I am glad we have you in the world as an exceptionally articulate, cartoon advocate!

  3. Tim says:

    I had no idea you had blogged on this – and thanks for doing so! We’re getting Brian to come out here for a performance in L.A. this summer, so stay tuned… he has a NEW filmstrip…