978-1-896597-84-3 / 189659784X

Clyde Fans: Book-1 (Bk.1)

by Seth

Publisher:Drawn and Quarterly



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About the book:

You'd be forgiven for being skeptical about the subject matter of Clyde Fans. After all, the first 78 pages feature an old man, Abraham, waking up, eating breakfast, and puttering around his electric-fan shop, all the while delivering a monologue on salesmanship and his family history. Hardly the material of a good comic, you may think, but you'd be wrong. The first book in a multipart series, Clyde Fans is a compelling psychological portrait of men caught in a time not of their making or, more appropriately, of their choosing. Like Seth's earlier masterpiece, It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken, Clyde Fans is a study of our age's outcasts, those who can't--or won't--adjust to modern life.

Abraham quietly waits out the last days of his life by contemplating his past and his relationship with his brother, Simon. At first his reminiscences seem little more than an old man's nostalgia, but it soon becomes clear he's searching for signs he has left some mark in the world. Abraham's sense of time passing him by is heightened by Seth's depiction of his world as rooted firmly in the past: even though the year is 1997, the buildings are all old, the calendars are stuck on 1978, and there's not a computer in sight anywhere. The panels themselves are invested with emotion, coloured in subdued shades of blue and grey and largely absent of other people. The second half of the book follows Simon on his similarly troubled quest to become a salesman. Even though this storyline is set in 1957, Simon's despair of fitting into a world driven by the ruthless logic of the marketplace applies equally to our own lives. Seth has acknowledged autobiographical parallels with Clyde Fans, calling it a "kind of Death of a Cartoonist." This comic is more an homage to a lost time than a tragic elegy, though, and unlike Abraham, Seth doesn't need to worry about leaving his mark in the world. --Peter Darbyshire

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