PAYING FOR IT: A COMIC STRIP MEMOIR ABOUT BEING A JOHN

Story and art by Chester Brown
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

Chester Brown is a creepy-looking guy with limited social skills and an obsession with comic books. Nearing his 40th birthday in the 1990s, Brown had no romantic prospects and realized that a future of solitude awaited him.

So he started buying sex from whores on 30-minute installments.

In this stark autobiography, Brown (an indie comix creator in Toronto) fully shares the details of his adventures in paying for sex. It's entertaining, it's informative and it's more than a little sad.

Brown doesn't see it that way. He insists that he's finally been freed from all those societal conventions, blah blah blah, the usual bullshit, he's never been happier, though by everyone's account, including his own, he's pretty much an emotionless drone.

Telling his story in pictures wasn't enough, though. Brown fills the back chunk of his book with a dense, hand-written manifesto explaining why prostitution should be legal (fine by me) but not taxed (eh?) and why marriage is actually the sick, evil institution that should be abolished, not prostitution (I'm sorry no woman wanted you, Chet, but I happen to like marriage).

As Allen noted, above: Brown is a devoted Libertarian who has unsuccessfully run for Canada's Parliament as a Libertarian candidate. His book is full of the usual property rights first, foremost and always arguments, and fooey on the gubmint, why does the gubmint have to interfere with my bidness, screw you gubmint, let the Free Market decide these things, yay Free Market.

Yet PAYING FOR IT was produced courtesy of The Canadian Council for the Arts, which supported Brown through federal grants, as it has Brown's past comics. Heh. Mother Jones magazine asked Brown about this in an interview:

MJ: Paying For It was sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts. You don't have an issue taking a grant from the government?

CB: Mmmm, no. To me, those are two different things. I'm against government giving money to artists, but I'm not against artists taking money.