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Clyde Fans, Book 1 (Clyde Fans #1)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  547 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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.
Paperback, 156 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 763)
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Sam Quixote
"Clyde Fans, Book 1" is the first part of Seth's masterpiece. It follows the fortunes of the two Matchcard brothers in the fan business. The book is divided into two parts with the first part set in the present following the Clyde Fans business with the confident brother, Abraham Matchcard, talking to the reader about the business, how it started, how it fared, his life now, and his relationship with his brother.

The second part is set in the past with Simon Matchcard, the shy brother, trying to
Oct 21, 2007 Jay rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who easily get hooked on anything
On the one hand I'm excited that Seth made a book about a couple of brothers who sell electric fans in the 1950's. But on the other hand, I'm not that excited to read a book about a couple of brothers who sell electric fans in the 1950's. Chris Ware and Seth are neck and neck when it comes to drawing silent towns, but I found the first half of this book to be a real snooze. It's a 50-page present-day soliloquy that can be summarized with "My brother, the electric fan salesman. Not good." Once we ...more
Garrett Zecker
A gorgeous graphic novel by Seth [], this first volume of a two volume collection follows a man as he reflects on his career and his family as the booming industrial and civic entrepreneurship era expands in Palookaville (his beautiful and original shining city). It is beautifully illustrated and produced as a gorgeous volume that sucks the observer into the world that Seth has created on and off the page. After listening to an interview with him on The Vi ...more
the story in this graphic novel seems so mundane. 2 guys selling fans in the 50's. But I was totally enthralled. I'm anxiously awaiting the publication of part 2, where I doubt anything will happen. Still, it reminds me of playing in grandma rosses old wood storage area. musty and otherworldly light. its like a dream where the ordinary is somehow inexplicably extra-ordinary.
Abe Something
I always learn so much about drawing when reading a Seth book. I probably say that about a lot of comic artists to be fair, but with Seth I'm always so focused on his lines. I'm pretty sure he's using brushes, which I do not do, but it doesn't matter. Seth manages to pack so much detail into a panel, often simple panels - a man in a room talking to the reader - but the room feels real and therefore the man feels real. Those two together make the emotional weight of the work affecting. It's all i ...more
I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I'm not sure why. Maybe coming down from finishing Lev Grossman's excellent The Magician's Land I was in the mood for something more whimsical and fantastic; in contrast, Clyde Fans is a look at the seemingly dreary lives of a couple of fan salesmen, brothers Abe and Simon, from the '50s up to the late '90s.

Seth's art is an instant draw, however. His line work is bold and solid, and the images he chooses to present in telling this story are strikin
very quick read, identified both past and present with Simon the other brother. Took the other brother's advice with a grain of salt, as one would with other's opinions/advice.
Derek Royal
A fascinating yet subdued character study...or studies. Reread -- as well as reread issues #16-20 of Palookaville -- before turning to Seth's new volume of Palookaville.
How interesting can a book be about people trying to sell fans? Seems like they would have had more luck selling horses and buggies. Only recommended for Seth fans!
pierlapo  quimby
C'è da attendere la fine, ma sembra bello.
Oct 17, 2013 MariNaomi added it
Shelves: graphic
The art and the lettering was just perfect.
Before I read this I thought it was about people who were fans of someone named Clyde. No, turns out it's about a company called Clyde Fans which sells electric fans. More specifically, it's about the two brothers whose father, Clyde Matchcard, founded the company. One brother, Abe, takes sales seriously and considers himself a great salesman. The other, Simon, is a quiet, introverted, anxious man who has a lot of trouble participating in the family business or even interacting with the outside ...more
David Schaafsma
I love Seth's work, and this work is similar to others he has done or is doing. He's nostalgic, passionate about the past and the importance of preserving history and comic/art history. The tone and color of his work is subdued, throwback to comic greats, and we can almost feel how much he wishes he lived 60-80 years in the past... And he cares about every day people, so much antihero, every day guys (and mostly guys, yes), people with largely unremarkable stories. This is the story of two broth ...more
Sasha Boersma
Enjoyed the first part. The second part I feel I'm left hanging.... Waiting for Book 2! What caught me up into the tale is how much Clyde Fans, a modern-era body of work, closely harkens to classic Canadian literature with its dark, solemn thoughts on life in sales. Alternately, it can be seen as a Canadian rebelling of Death of Salesman. With some smattering a of pretty accurate business thinking in there.
Kurt Klopmeier
A book about two brothers in the business of selling fans. How can this go wrong?!? This book (which is the first of three parts) is split into two halves. The first is a soliloquy by one brother in the present day, old and alone, talking about the art of sales and how things have changed in the past 60 years. Yes, one of those long-winded stories old people tell that contains some hard won wisdom mixed with a bunch of boring stuff that's only of interest to them. The second half is set in the 1 ...more
A very melancholy story so far, broken into two parts focusing on the lives of a pair of brothers who never quite made it as salesmen, flogging electric fans all over Canada in the late twentieth century. Not as humorous as Seth's Wimbledon Green (which I also enjoyed) but a very powerful and moving story. The second part of the story focuses on Simon Matchcard and his futile attempts to become a salesman, while the first part presents his brother Abe's recollections on a failed business and his ...more
Jun 26, 2013 Ryan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: justok
The first half of the story of this graphic novel is extremely dull. In fact, it serves as a good example of how many talented comics artists should not write their own stuff. However, what saves this book is part two. It manages to be subtle and nuanced. It is also slow going, but doesn't feature a boring old man speaking to the reader about how to be a successful salesman while taking a shower and moping around the house.

Art is clean and simple, with some beautiful brushwork. But does craftsma
Morgan Yew
The style used to depict Book One, as usual, is superb. Seth must have spent months or years illustrating those panels, but it doesn't breath until the second part.

I don't know enough about the Palookaville editions these come from the comment on the genesis of this story, or how Seth chose to depict it. Suffice to say I would not recommend it as an introduction to the man's work, but once you've cracked the spine there's no harm in spending time in his palette.
Hechos y números y ventiladores y ventas. A eso se reduce todo.
Difficult to review this as it is very clearly incomplete. Clyde Fans Book Two is stil years away. The work may accumulate depth and meaning as a complete work. For now, Book One is interesting but not great. Seth is a wonderful artist with a great eye for period detail and small character moments. His writing is less accomplished. I'm not sure what his repeating wavy panels are meant to signify. His "cinematic" style is solid but not overwhelming. Actually, that is how I would describe the book ...more
Seth is a very interesting artist. His interviews are always interesting. His comics can be boring, but I think it is partly beacuse we are used to comics being such a passive experience. He uses a narraative style that is much more subtle than many novels. Beautiful pictures, very interesting symbolic representations. He said in an interview that he thought that comics should be a new kind of pictographic language instead of a visual art, and I am right with him.
A great story, well-told. The first half is fairly slow, and primarily serves to give the back story, but overall the book was really enjoyable. I'm definitely looking forward to book 2. Seth is one of my favorite comic artists, and all of his books have a really appealing tone and rhythm to them, this one included.
George Marshall
Seth in his best form- nothing much happens: just an old man reminiscing about his life as a fan salesman as he wanders round his home. There's sadness, pain, a sense of loss. Clearly this is not for everyone, but I thought it was superb and graphic novels doing what they do best- managing time and internal worlds
I really enjoyed this on a personal level. It's rare that comics take on the pressures and pitfalls of the business world. The content is rich with possibility and my experience in sales is closely echoed by what I saw in this sad and poignant graphic novel.
Did . . . did they ever make another? That's all I remember. Really . . . I'll be walking down the road and I'll think to myself, "Hey, didn't I read a graphic novel about a dude and some fans? Did they ever finish that? What was that even about?"
This was super. The first half seems deliberately dry and bland, the second half gives a more intimate look at a character's inner life, but still told in a very detached and straightforward way. Overall an oddly captivating read.
I love Seth, he's up there with Jason and Chris Ware. I didn't love the first half of this, but was necessary to set up the second half, which killed me. Hope I get a chance to read the second book.
Alex Firer
I enjoyed it, but unlike his more self contained efforts, its much too painfully self important to feel like anything more than homework reading in the school of alt comics.
I like Seth's work a lot - this one has a great voice and great sense of melancholy and mundanity. The pacing drags somewhat at times, but it's still a solid read.
I love Seth's work. Whenever this is completed, I will re-read it, as a whole, and love it all over again.
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Seth is the pen name of Gregory Gallant. Seth is the cartoonist behind the painfully infrequent comic book series PALOOKAVILLE. His novels, which have been translated into 8 languages, include IT'S A GOOD LIFE IF YOU DON'T WEAKEN, WIMBLEDON GREEN, CLYDE FANS BOOK ONE, and the illustrated memoir of his father, BANNOCK, BEANS AND BLACK TEA.

As a book designer, Seth has worked on a variety of projects
More about Seth...

Other Books in the Series

Clyde Fans (2 books)
  • Clyde Fans: Book 2
It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken: A Picture Novella Wimbledon Green George Sprott, 1894-1975 The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists Palooka-Ville #20

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