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A Complete Lowlife

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Witty and poignant, this collection of semi-autobiographical tales focuses on love, despair, lost friendships, and the murky morality of stealing from work. Known for being one of the funniest series ever published in comics form, Lowlife dissects the Slacker / Generation X lifestyle from the inside out, bringing a great amount of humanity to the process along the way.
Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 2nd 2001 by Top Shelf Productions (first published 1995)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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 ·  334 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Early Brubaker, as in early nineties, and a slacker gen-x tale of several "complete lowlifes" stealing and doing lots of drugs and wasting away. I just finished Honour Among Punks by Davis, about eighties punk London, and now this, which has a Beat influence, as Brubaker's favorite writers then (though not now) were Kerouac and Burroughs, (and me, I'm a sixties guy), but it is interesting to read these books as representations of an age and time. In an afterword he apologizes for hurting people ...more
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
When you decide to read a graphic novel, and it is an autobiography, you know that it's going to be damn good. The only question is how good on the damn good scale will it be. 'A Complete Lowlife' is already 2 steps ahead than most reads, but if I'd have to compare it to other autobiographies in the field I'd say that it is lacking just a tiny bit, and that tiny bit is consistency. I mean, I was looking for a far more as a closure than what was offered, and although it's really not that a fair t ...more
Oct 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: x2020, digital
(3,2 of 5 for nice illustration how far Ed Brubaker came as comics author)
Lowlife is Ed's autobiographical fantasy early work which reminds me Dead World or The Originals, another small town/suburbs middle-to-lower class coming of age comics. At the backside of the book, you can read notes from other authors like it's comics Linklater or so. Well, no. Lowlife is nice. If you like Brubaker, this is definitely a study material to read. But it's far from amazing. First half is still pretty decent,
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
I can only assume all of the praise is retrospective from people who want to be fans, it doesn't read like other Brubaker stuff, the art is pedestrian, and it doesn't offer any glimpses or insight into his future work. ...more
Ryan Werner
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
A very young comic, as Brubaker cops to in the intro. Between that and the title itself, there's a decent amount of full disclosure going on in terms of walking into and expecting the comic equivalent of a misanthropic teenager's diary.

The stories themselves are a male flipside of the Ghost World angst. The Brubaker traits are here--guns, crime, etc--but he hadn't yet figured out a way to project grittiness onto a bigger picture. These vignettes are far from the creative success of Sleeper or Cr
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
To be honest, I'm a little surprised how much I liked this, but I can't deny it. I really wish Brubaker had written a few more comics or books like this. ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For me, this is one of those books that just "get it." Nothing has hit me right in the feels in such a personal way since Cowboy Bebop. As such, it is kinda hard to review. I've never read something with such relatable characters and situations. Not just Tommy, but the whole cast felt like a slightly skewed reflection of my youth. While the writing is simple, Brubaker always has a way to make it feel real and personable. He captures something special in this little book: a time and place that no ...more
Jason Pym
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
A semi-autobiographical early comic by Ed Brubaker about 80s/90s slacker teens/20 somethings in small town California.

This is a good read as it is honest enough to feel true to life, though to be honest the real interest is seeing this as the stepping stone for a comic writer who went from this self-published stuff to perfectly crafted noir like Fatale, The Fade Out, Criminal etc, illustrated by Sean Philips. The Brubaker/Philips comics are so good in every respect it's fascinating to read the
Luis Joel
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Es muy profundo.
Recopilación de diferentes cómics autobiográficos con una pizca de ficción dibujados en diferentes momentos desde los 90.
Estar dibujado y escrito por él, lo convierte en algo íntimo y personal, que hiere y rasga como la vida real.
Lo que más destaca, claro, es el guión. Pero sorprende lo buen narrador y dibujante que es. Sus primeros cómics apenas y logran un estándar decente para leerlos.
Pero en los últimos su trazo está al nivel de Daniel Clowes o Charles Burns.
No tan espectac
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: justok
There are a few good stories in here. If I could compare the stories to any other independent artist/writer it would be Adrian Tomine. Unfortunately you have to wade through some sad, juvenile stories at the first half of this collection to get to the really well-written stuff. Also, Top Shelf has reprinted these stories in a very small format. I doubt that the originals were actually this small as a couple of stories have unreadable text that is just too tiny.
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before we were known as slackers, Brubaker captured our zeitgeist, milieu, whatever (how slackerish!) better than anyone. Lowlife is like Douglas Coupland's Life After God but these characters never made it to college and are into heavier drug use. It's a collection of stories that don't necessarily tell one tale successively, but characters do have repeat appearances and by the end Tommy, the main character, has learned some deeply sad lessons about life. The story My Friend Felix will break yo ...more
Fugo Feedback
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans del género y del autor
Recommended to Fugo by: Que estaba a mano
Llamativa semi-auto-biografía de un autor que raramente defrauda. Claro que como lo primero que hace es aclarar que muchas partes son ficticias, ahora me queda la duda de si fue chorro, estuvo en cana, se daba con cuanta droga se le cruzara, convivió con una mina que lo cuerneaba todos los días, tuvo un amor imposible durante casi toda su juventud, si tenía un amigo con chivita que tocaba la guitarra, etc. Como historia ficcional no es mala, pero como biografía deja demasiadas dudas. Con respect ...more
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I picked this up almost at random from my newly-restored library shelf, largely as an antidote to the outdated 'wittiness' of Bob Fingerman's Beg The Question (in itself meant to give me a respite from Tom Jones). It couldn't have worked better if I'd planned it.
Brubaker is almost embarrassingly honest in portraying his comic alter-ego, and at times the tales are overwhelmingly bleak. However, there is a thread of hope and beauty running throughout the narrative, unshakeable from start to (stran
Apr 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beat readers
Brubaker is a terrific comics writer whose ability to capture characters is priceless. His best stuff is in the crime genre, but this painfully personal work is a great read for fans of any genre.

It is very hard to read. It came to me at the end of a painful year in my love life, which was exactly when I needed it. It's like that.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this graphic novel, by a writer who is now famous for super hero stories. He is a great story-teller and does a great job writing about the most mundane eccentricities of life in this book.
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Not as good as Harvey Peaker but i don't think that's what Ed was aiming for. He made his own group of slightly as per his own admission fictionalized stories from when he grew up.

like the honesty the avoidance of sketching oneself as holier than thou.

Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Painful and poignant memoir capturing the outsider experience of the Gen X slacker hanging on to life day by day.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Early Brubaker-- story and art. It's odd but strangely fitting to see people I know personally drawn like Archie characters. But that's probably just me. ...more
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent graphic novel, great early Brubaker writing.
An interesting and well-written and -drawn memoir-ish graphic novel about growing up as a troubled teenager.
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Ed Brubaker (born November 17, 1966) is an Eisner Award-winning American cartoonist and writer. He was born at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Brubaker is best known for his work as a comic book writer on such titles as Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist, Catwoman, Gotham Central and Uncanny X-Men. In more recent years, he has focused solely on creator-owned titles

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