Cover image for Clyde Fans
Clyde Fans
Seth, 1962-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, [2004-]

Physical Description:
volumes : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A picture novella in two books by Seth."

"The story presented here was originally serialized in issues ten through fifteen of the comic book series, Palookaville"--Verso.

Book one --
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION BK.1 Graphic Novel Central Library

On Order



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. Evenafter 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.

Author Notes

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 T he New Yorker and The National Post and recently provided the entire album artwork for Sony records singer-songwriter, Aimee Mann.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This superb new book, the first of two in a set by the author of the acclaimed It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken, tells the story of the Matchcard brothers, Abraham and Simon, and the electric fan business they inherited from their father. In the first half, an isolated and aged Abraham, living alone in the long-closed Clyde Fans building, narrates a history of the company while he putters around its derelict storefront office, talking about the rules of salesmanship and about his introverted brother Simon, who lived most of his life in that building. The second half, set 40 years before, depicts Simon's single disastrous attempt to escape the office, a sales trip on which he fails to overcome his timidity. This is a quiet story quietly told, with deliberate pacing, artful page composition, and simple-looking but tremendously effective black-and-white artwork. Seth's lingering focus on small moments gives them deep meaning, bringing alive the struggles and sorrows of average people with great poignancy. The book's themes will resonate with adult readers, for whom it's strongly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.