Friday, April 15, 2005


Clyde Fans

Clyde Fans: Book one
Written and drawn by: Seth

I read Bannock, Beans and Black Tea recently. It’s a memoir by Seth’s father with illustrations by Seth throughout. It’s interesting, though a bit repetitive. But what about a comic by Seth himself?

This originally appeared in several in six issues of Seth’s comic Palookaville, I’m not exactly sure where most of the breaks are though, the only one I notice is the one between part one and part two.

Part one seems like it could have been better served by being illustrated prose. It’s page after page after page (over sixty) of an old guy wandering around his house telling a story. The story doesn’t actually match up to what he’s doing, no he’s recollecting the rise and fall of what happened to the company his father started and that he worked for (Clyde Fans). The story is interesting enough but there’s absolutely no reason for it to be told in comic form. The art and story connect for maybe three or four panels (that I can recall) out of all of those pages. He mentions the radio as he turns it on, and he mentions postcards and shows them. The rest of the comic is just him wandering around, having a bath, eating a meal as he talks aloud for no apparent reason. Is he talking to someone who we can’t see? Possible, but unlikely as he has a bath and stuff. Instead he’s just talking directly to the audience.

I’m not really sure why Seth chooses to go this route with this part of the comic but it’s one that doesn’t work for me at all. I almost gave up reading the comic a couple of times during this half. As comics barely take any time to read and I’d just read some pretty bad comics this is a pretty big deal. Thankfully the second part of the story actually utilizes words and pictures telling a story together.

The second part flashes back to the time when Clyde Fans still existed as a company, and deals with the brother of the narrator from the first part. He seems incredibly shy, but has convinced his father to let him go out and attempt to be a salesman for the company. He fails, quite badly, and can’t really deal with talking to people. I can’t blame him, I’d hate that job. While this part of the comic was, you know, actually a comic and was much better then part one I still didn’t care for it that much. I don’t know if all of Seth’s stuff is like this, but if it is I doubt I’ll be picking it up.


It seems like you are missing every bit of theme and subtext in the story. Maybe if you come back to Clyde Fans in a few years it will make more sense to you as a reader.
Entirely possible, sometimes I'm just not in the mood for certain comics.
Gah, this blog totally skews me as a superhero loving, indie hater. It's not true! Honest!
Matthew, I think it's probably fair to mention in a review if you're bringing a bias to it like "not in the mood", you know? A book Seth has put that many years into creating deserves a bit more effort, is all I'm saying. As far as your concerns about the first half of the book, it's a really common practice in film and pretty common in comics to have the narration tell a different story than what you see on the page. There's usually a point to it; often they're more joined than they at first seem, and are at least complementary. You wouldn't want all songs to have the vocals matching the tune note-for-note, right?
I dont' know if I was in the mood for it or not, that was just something I said.
I read a review that complained that this book is only the first third of the story, and I think that if I was presented with the first part as a sixth of the Clyde Fans story it wouldn't have bothered me as much as it being fully half of this collection.
i like seth an awful lot, but i can see how many people would not like his work. in short, i think it's ok matthew doesn't like _clyde fans_ without his being "not in the mood" or immature.
oh, sorry. the previous anonymous comment was me, una.
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