Comic Review: Paying For It / Writer: Chester Brown / Illustrator: Chester Brown / Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly / Release Date: Out Now
Paying For It is an autobiographical indie strip book, about ‘being a john’ (i.e. paying for sex). As if this premise isn’t interesting enough, it’s from Chester Brown, one of the Drawn and Quarterly gang also responsible for Brown’s friends and contemporaries Seth and Joe Matt, both of whom feature in the book.
Paying For It chronicles Brown’s experiences with prostitutes after deciding he never wants a relationship again. After a break-up with his ex (whom he continued to live with) and being celibate for 3 years, he came to the decision he still wants to have sex, but not pursue a relationship, and sees ‘paying for it’ as the answer. While humorous, it does offer an intriguing commentary on prostitution and the men who indulge in it, and is not morally judging or perverted. The book ends with a written summary of Brown’s views.
The art is minimalistic, the narrative is driven by the speech and this is the only way you can tell if any emotion is involved, of which there is little, owing to Brown’s awkwardness at connecting with other people (which has been illustrated in previous work). Not quite as light-hearted as Joe Matt’s work (often chronicling his addiction to pornography and masturbation) or as serious as Seth’s work (often nostalgic and sentimental), Paying For It is an interesting look into another man’s life and a world many of us might be unlikely to encounter.