A review of Clyde Fans in Paradoxa

Review of Seth. Clyde Fans

Paradoxa    |    Vittorio Frigerio    |    November 15, 2021

Before any analysis of the story or art of the “Picture Novel” Clyde Fans—this peculiar and melancholy narrative feat by Canadian cartoonist Seth—one must talk about the book: the book as an object. It is heavy. Quite heavy. It will tire your hands. Once in a while you will find yourself putting it down and you will tell yourself that’s because it is so heavy. It may also be that you will just need a break. Time to think things over a bit. Let them percolate. But the weight will provide a good excuse. The book comes with a solid hard cover, shiny and dark, like a picture taken at night under a streetlamp. The highly stylized image represents quite simply the façade of a store. Through the cut-out window appears the title, as if painted on the glass. The book is encased in a hard-cardboard box, coloured in a dark tone of aquamarine (that being the only colour used in the whole work although in different shades), bearing on one side the logo “Clyde Fans Co,” and on the other, several smaller ones, testimony to the author’s enduring fascination with mid-twentieth century advertising art. A penguin with a top hat, a snowman, equally top-hatted, another one with an old-fashioned hotel groom’s pillbox hat all smile at the reader from the sides. Plus, of course, the advertising blurbs from other famous authors. The one from fellow cartoonist Chris Ware is particularly to the point: “Seth is one of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived and Clyde Fans is one of the greatest graphic novels ever written. What more do you need to know?”

 

Read the rest in Paradoxa 32.

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