A compelling look at the life of two electric fan salesman, both brothers, by master cartoonist Seth. Clyde Fans promises to be one of the major graphic novel achievements of recent years. Seth is fast becoming one of the most recognized talents in the field since Chris Ware. Book One of this trilogy focuses on the lives of two brothers and their fan manufacturing company. After one more disastrous attempt at selling, Simon returns to the office defeated and unsure of what he'll do next. Even after studying manuals on the art of selling, he still can't seem to clinch that final deal. In the eyes of his brother Abraham, he is a failure. Here, Seth brilliantly explores the complex and fascinating relationship of the two brothers behind Clyde Fans.
From Publishers Weekly: This quietly mesmerizing book contains no jazzy bursts of color or tricky layout, no costumed superheroes or villains, no car chases, not even a single gun. Yet its subject matter is of vital importance. Like Chris Ware and Harvey Pekar, Seth creates art out of the apparent banality of average life. Part one, set in 1997, is essentially a monologue in which elderly Abraham Matchcard describes how he became an effective salesman despite his unsociability, how his father ran a briefly successful company, and how baffled he was by his brother Simon's futile life. Very little "happens," but as the old man's thoughts drift, readers realize how seldom people recognize the shapes their lives are falling into. The book's second part, set in 1957, follows Simon on his desperately uncomfortable attempt at a sales trip. Again, nothing obviously significant happens, which is the point: even when someone recognizes decisions must be made, actually making them may feel too momentous to contemplate. The effect of this accumulation of non-events, depicted in absolutely convincing detail, fascinates. Seth works with a restricted palate (blue tints overlaying the simplified but realistic brushwork) printed on beige paper, which gives the book a unique, antique feel. The formal portraits of the main characters that frequently stare from the pages are echoed in the book's endpapers, which show the Matchcard brothers among their high school classmates. Seth implies each of those faces might conceal a private, mysterious universe. That thought is simultaneously disconcerting and wonderful, as is this book. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Booklist: A rambling monologue about the art of salesmanship, delivered by an elderly man puttering around his empty family home, may not seem the most promising material for a compelling graphic novel, and an account of that man's socially maladroit brother's embarrassingly futile attempts to launch a career as a salesman for the family electric-fan business seems nearly as dubious. In the masterful hands of cartoonist Seth, they become the stuff of quiet, desperate drama. The family saga is related through Abe's painful examination of his squandered life from the vantage point of 1997, and the depiction of an excruciating series of cold calls Simon makes in a small town in 1957. Both sequences are marked by skillfully rendered dialogue and elegant silent passages that demand that readers pay attention to Seth's simple yet suave drawings. Telling this kind of story is a departure for Seth, who is known for his navel-gazing autobiographical comics; here he turns outward with equal success, while he continues to delve deeply into his two constant themes: nostalgia and alienation. Gordon Flagg Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author: Seth was born in 1962 in a rural Ontario town. He now lives in Guelph, Ontario with five cats, a gigantic collection of vintage records, comic books, and his very patient wife. He regularly contributes illustrations to The New Yorker and The National Post and recently provided the entire album artwork for Sony records singer-songwriter, Aimee Mann.
Review "SETH INKS AND LETTERS (CLYDE FANS) WITH A FLUID BRUSHWORK WHOSE GRACE INVITES THE READER TO LINGER COZILY IN HIS RUMINATIVE, PATIENT STORIES, EACH OF WHICH GROWS FROM HIS OBSESSION WITH THE PAST."
- Author: Seth
- Edition: First
- Binding: Hardcover
- Number Of Pages: 156
- Release Date: 01-07-2004
- Package Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.8 x 0.8 inches
- Features: Like New/Been Read
- Languages: English