Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (Humor) (Grapic Novels)

by Daniel Clowes  

Publisher: Fantagraphics (February 24, 2015)

Softcover, 144 pages

Amazon Listing 

This story was originally serialized in the first ten issues of the author's indie Fantagraphics comic Eightball. I own all the issues, yet decided to buy a copy of this book anyway (albeit at a heavily discounted price) which should tell you about the quality of the story, me being naturally cheap.

To say the story is odd is putting it lightly. There is very little rhyme or rhythm to it. It seems perfectly clear the author was making it up as he went along and tied it all together in the last chapter- sort of. Despite this there it is a compelling take that I couldn't put down, despite having it read it before.

Ostensibly it is about a man named Clay who sees his former wife starring in a bizarre BDSM porno. Still being hung up on her, he tries to find out who made the film and discover why she left- all with a semi-tragic conclusion. The narrative is designed to not make sense. The end here is not the important part, it is the journey through a wasteland America populated exclusively by ugly maniacs, deformed madmen, deranged substance abusers, weird gender bashing cultists, pipe smoking children, dogs with no orifices, and gay psychotic policemen.

Nearly every page, every character, has some oddity to them. That’s all who populate this nearly empty world. The only normal one is our protagonist, which is why his wife leaves him. It is a place where normal people cannot exist or thrive, which isn’t until the brutal end that Clay finally finds a place in the world.

The effect of the narrative is doubled with the author’s nightmarish style and zest for grotesque caricatures. You can feel the loneliness, desperation, the idiocy, the hate in their faces. If there’s one thing Clowes does well is create memorable and horrible faces.  And they are all over this vaguely early 1960’s esthetic universe.
For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

No comments:

Post a Comment