Crafted through years-long collaborations, O.B.B. aka The Original Brown Boy is a postcolonial techno dream pop comics poem.
$12.99 – $19.95
O.B.B. a.k.a. The Original Brown Boy has many identities: it is a comics poem and a manifesto on comics poetry; an experimental comic book sequel to a poem twenty years in the making; and an homage to the Mimeo Revolution, weird fiction, Kamishibai, the political cartoon, Pilipinx komiks history, and the poet bp/Nichol. Javier deconstructs a post-9/11 Pilipinx identity, amid the lasting fog of the Philippine American War, to compose a far-out comic book awit.
“Propelled by Paolo Javier’s inexhaustible but canny energy and assisted by intricate images created by Alex Tarampi and Ernest Concepcion, O.B.B. aka the Original Brown Boy is a politically astute, socially generous, and magnificently melodramatic critique of contemporary and perpetual colonialism in Amerika. Yes, Javier is outraged by what he knows and sees in the imperialist history and neoliberal present effecting pretty much all of human society, including, lest we forget, Pilipinx people. But anger is by no means the sole driving force of O.B.B. Influenced by political cartoons, expert at deploying the radical juxtapositions and narrative disjunctions of comic strips, and grounded in a long engagement with avant-garde poetry and poetics, Javier sends O.B.B.’s pages gamboling forth, bearing love as well as militancy. And, like its author and illustrators, the readers of O.B.B. will gratefully participate in its improvisatory play and delight in its aesthetic power, and they—we—will return to the book over and over.”
“From the tiniest detail of a perfect ampersand against the noise of a dirty photocopier to grand filmic illustrations—this book is everything at once. The O.B.B. has constructed new forms from old forms, knocked them all down and built them back up again. The rules were broken and then rewritten. All of the years of labour and love are to be felt. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is a book to behold.”
“Perhaps this is how the epic poem will survive into the twenty second century, as an aerial nomadic journey laid out in color as well as black and white. There are countless gradations and qualities of line pressed into service here. The language comes across as essential to its imagery, even when stenciled in or glued down to the page. O.B.B. is built like a trembling tower of books within books. A life-long structure, bright enough to bear the glare of the cosmos.”
“What is this beautiful object? A graphic memoir, a comic in verse, some ancient tabletop game? Its influences are legion: the polyphonic roar of anticolonial wordsmiths, the intimate yells of ambulating urbanites, the genre-bending hybrids of vispo pataphysicians. O.B.B. unfolds as a glorious amalgam of intersecting aesthetics and intersectional politics, where bpNichol’s ‘borderblur’ meets Gloria Anzaldua’s ‘borderlands.’ If, as we learn in the text’s initial pages, Paolo Javier is the offspring of parents Prim and Rose, then O.B.B. is the wild child of a primrose in bloom.”
“What do poetry and comics have in common? Quite a lot, actually. In this spectacular book, Paolo Javier shows us just how much. But the showing and the knowing are ‘between panels’ as comics lovers know—and in the quiet transitions that invite readers and viewers to breathe, to actively process, and maybe even reconsider. I was on the verge of breaking up with poetry (again), but O.B.B. convinced me otherwise. It’s a page-turning, snake-charming, devil of a book that captures and honors the best of comics and poetry. Every section—I kid you not—elevates the one before it. It’s a book that wants you to know where it’s going and where it’s been. It’s a book I’ll be reading for years and years. From its first utterances to its luring art to its provocative afterword, I didn’t want O.B.B. to end!”
Charting bpNichol’s merging of poetry and comics, both dependent on rhythm, pacing, blank space, pauses, and the visual appearance of words on a page, with O.B.B., Javier carves out a manifesto of image-and-text, an ode to the anti-storytelling potential of poetry.
will appeal to readers of avant-garde poetry and fans of illustrated narrative art.
The intriguing fifth collection from Javier (Court of the Dragon) collects six visceral poetry comics sequences with art by Alexander Tarampi and Ernest Concepcion. Inspired by Lynda Barry and bpNichol but wielding their own severe, fragmented twist, each entry explores immigration, the normative family, and the imaginative power of the juxtaposition between word and image.
Javier pursues genuinely new forms of collaborative meaning-making that balance radical individual autonomy with an appreciation for historical and cultural situatedness in a globalized world.
I love this far-out book, which is part comics poem, manifesto, and geek-fest. I particularly love how Javier, Tarampi, and Concepcion play with lines on the page, and I admire the outrage, experimentation, and exuberance of the hard-wrought work. This publication feels radical and much-needed. Get your freak on!
O.B.B. is Javier’s new book of… poetry? comics? essays? art? It was precisely those question marks that signaled to me something that I know already but perennially forget, that in order to really explore a life lived–the nuances, the roles, the assumptions, the gossip, the knowledge, the mistakes–one genre just isn’t going to cut it.
Recently, Javier published his new book O.B.B. a.k.a. The Original Brown Boy, which is, at the surface, a collection of comics and poetry inspired by his life as an immigrant and his love for Filipino culture and art. Below the surface, it’s a lot more than just that.
A former Queens Borough poet laureate, Philippine-born Paolo Javier references the Original Brown Boy in O.B.B. (Nightboat, Jun.), aptly described as a postcolonial techno dream-pop comics poem and invested with the author’s experiences as an immigrant and an artist (illustrations by Ernest Concepcion).
The interaction of Javier’s quotidian text and Concepcion’s fantastic imagery make for a satisfying and nuanced foray into the dangerously familiar terrain of lost love. They do indeed find the song of the bird by slicing open its chest.
Like the playground with its swings, drinking fountains and basketball courts, O.B.B. has its part; there are pages of comics, stories illustrated, and comics with words, there are sonnets, there is also a short story, and an essay at the end entitled “Afterward: Some Notes on bp Nichol, Captain Poetry, & Comics,” where Paolo thanks his artist friends who helped create the book; and where he also compares comics and poetry.
Click here to read excerpts from O.B.B. in The Brooklyn Rail!
The former Queens Borough Poet Laureate (2010-2014), Paolo Javier was born in the Philippines and grew up in Las Piñas, Metro Manila; Katonah, Westchester County; El-Ma’adi …