Ed the Happy Clown (A Yummy Fur Book)
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Ed the Happy Clown (A Yummy Fur Book)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  650 ratings  ·  70 reviews
A LONG-OUT-OF-PRINT CLASIC BYA MASTER OF UNDERGROUND COMICS

In the late 1980s, the idiosyncratic Chester Brown (author of the muchlauded Paying for It and Louis Riel) began writing the cult classic comic book series Yummy Fur. Within its pages, he serialized the groundbreaking Ed the Happy Clown, revealing a macabre universe of parallel dimensions. Thanks to its wholly o
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Paperback, 198 pages
Published 1989 by Vortex Comics
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Community Reviews

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Gina
Ed the Happy Clown is a satire of contemporary western culture that encapsulates far more than just the Regan era in in which it was written. Like a true piece of cultural satire, it uses absurdity to its full extent by reflecting back our collectively irrational thoughts and actions—our insanity. From vampires to alternate universes to talking penises, Brown blends literary genres with guttural imagery to create a tale that is as soulful and entertaining as it is nauseating. The reader, with ea...more
Chris
Dec 30, 2007 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone
Along with Alan Moore's 80's work (Swamp Thing, Miracle Man and Watchmen) Brown's "ED The Happy Clown" in its collected form is/was and probably always be a great source of creative energy for me.
The best way I can sum Ed up is that a book that may very well have been and still is ahead of its time. Pure creative genius.
Sam Quixote
Ed is a happy clown because he’s heading to the hospital to entertain sick kids... That’s how one of the zaniest comic books you’ll ever read begins. From there, Ed the unfortunate clown gets beaten up by anarchists, sent to prison where a man who can’t stop pooping might drown Ed in poop, and pursued by pygmies. Oh and his penis becomes Ronald Reagan.

If you’ve read Chester Brown before you’ll know he’s best known for memoir type comic books like “I’ve Never Liked You”, “The Playboy” and last y...more
Kelly
Finally got around to reading ED a full two decades after my first encounter with the work of Chester Brown. The early publication date and cute title led me to believe that this collection would be rather innocuous, but it turns out that ED is in fact a revolting surrealistic land mine. Brown's ability to shock and repulse with his careful images turns out to be his greatest strength in this book, to my further surprise. His ability to navigate surrealism, on the other hand, is a bit clunky, an...more
MariNaomi
This went against a lot of my rules for liking a graphic novel--the storyline was developed on the fly, the art is inconsistent, and the writing was self-conscious. Basically, he was learning how to be a cartoonist as he did these, and it seems like his editor was very hands-off. Yet once I got into it, I was mesmerized by his dark humor and the surreal world he created. The cartoonist in me really appreciated the notes at the end, which was pretty much a memoir about his process and all that wa...more
Nickolas
A guy at work lent this book to me and “wow” was the text message I sent him later that night. I had been reading some pretty heavy stuff lately and this was such a needed relief. It’s best not to know anything about this going into it but it is a delightfully easy read that progresses and then progresses some more from silly, to horrible, to really horrible to uncontrolled laughter. It’s a book by a Canadian in the 1980’s who’s taking such a brilliantly immature and ridiculously ‘out there’ dum...more
Xandra
Not a complete disaster, but still crap. Amusingly, it does a good job at summarizing itself.



I enjoyed some of its absurdity - never going as far as deeming it smart - and I have to appreciate this guy's imagination. However, given my ability to stupidly laugh at basically anything even remotely resembling a joke, the fact that I reluctantly smiled a few times while reading this isn't exactly complimentary. Or maybe, distinct possibility, I'm just too stupid to "get it".
Ryan
I'm realizing that, for the most part, I need to ignore positive reviews of indie comics - I almost consistently find them uninspired. I find more to praise in the well received mainstream ... somewhat similar to my feeling that "video art" is almost invariably more pretentious and hollow than great cinema. In many ways, there's nothing really independent about it (or video art); they hew to a very narrow set of themes and stylistic markers. I give this 2 stars instead of 1 because I'm an easy t...more
Tate Ryan
Jan 18, 2014 Tate Ryan rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: T dangerous to recommend to anyone
Shelves: graphic-novels
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this Graphic Novel. I didn't know the history of the comic or author and had read no reviews. I couldn't be happier that this was the case, as I think this is the best way to read the book, when it hits the reader by surprise. This is not a graphic novel suited to everybody. I have never seen a storyline with such an overload of faeces, talking penises and gruesome murder. There was a moment while reading this where I had reached my limit of '...more
M.
Apr 09, 2010 M. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010, comix
This was kind of amazing. While it sort of predates the kind of shit that SLG would run to the ground in the early 2000s with some sort of "Hot Topic" mentality, what makes this so fresh is that Chester Brown is both amazingly creative and fully grasps the way comics work. Disgusting and great.
Rob
Surrealistic craziness. I was obsessed with this story as it came out in comic book form. With each panel you continue to wonder where in the wild hell the story might go next.
Michael Seidlinger
There's a lot of sick and fun humor here. It works better as little comic strips than as a whole story, especially with the extremely abrupt and anticlimactic ending.
A.
DRAWN AND QUARTERLY WHEN ARE YOU PUTTING THIS BACK IN PRINT????

LOOK AT ME YR MAKING ME YELL ON THE ONLINE.
Paul
I learned that you shouldn't stick your head into a black hole.
Dominick
This is really an amazing piece of work. Does it entirely cohere? Probably not, given that Brown basically made it up as he went along, bgasically engaging in automatic writing and letting himself dregde up whatever he wanted to from his psyche. It's stylistically inconistent, as his skills and approach developed over the years, from pretty amateur mini-comics stuff at the beginnning to some amazingly delicate and fluid work for the final pages added, for the 1992 edition of the book. There's re...more
Matt
These comics are definitely twisted and dark and really weird. It tells a strange, fantastic story involving sex, inter-dimensional travel, a talking penis, a vampire, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn't seem to fit. I enjoyed the twistedness of it, but I tend to like comics with a different type of humor. This volume had a dark, morbid type of humor, whereas I usually like silly and zany. It was still a lot of fun and a worthwhile read.
Cheryl
Ed the Happy Clown is not a happy story. It's violent, lewd, irreverent and surreal, but not happy. Chester Brown is known for his long form graphic novels and this early story, while not quite up to the level of more recent works, certainly showcases his storytelling abilities. The artwork is monochrome and somewhat crude. Brown states in the notes at the end of the novel that he was trying to tap into the subconscious and surrealism as well as finish more panels; he was not initially aiming fo...more
Ryan
My review is for the newer 2012 edition of this book. It's nicely packaged in a well designed hardcover by Drawn & Quarterly. Brown had a cool premise. He just wanted to get his creativity flowing and his work out to the public, so he made up the story as he went along. He has a nice way of doing a chapter and then tying in new elements in subsequent chapters to make it look like he planned different elements all along.

Too many cool things happen for me to even list. But here are some of the...more
Matti Karjalainen
Miten esittää tarina, jossa on vuorittain ulosteita, peräaukoista ulos ryömiviä ihmisiä ja puhuva penis?

Niinpä niin. Hyvän maun rajojen rikkominen on sellainen taitolaji, josta vain harva sarjakuvataiteilija suoriutuu läpi kunnialla. Vastakkaisia esimerkkejä on liian paljon lueteltavaksi.

Kanadalainen Chester Brown osaa kuitenkin hommansa tällä saralla. "Ed, iloinen klovni" (Like, 1990) on kaikessa räävittömyydessään ja absurdiudessaan kohtalaisen hauska lukupaketti, jota ei tosiaankaan voi suosi...more
Bjornv
There are two major successes with "Ed the Happy Clown."

1: Usually when artists attempt to plot & script on the run, plucking topics & threads from their subconscious, the results are interesting, but in the end the storyline comes up bare. In this edition, with the help of just a little backward editing, the storyline is fresh, engaging, creative, and in the end, even emotionally & narratively rewarding*.

2: The artwork. Oh what beautiful inking. Such great choices of angle and persp...more
Roderick Mcgillis
Although the multi-dimensional stuff is probably new, this book reminded me of Griffiths, Crumb, and the rest of the underground set back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Scatalogical, violent, sexy, and wildly inventive, the book is not for everyone. But I like it. It is irreverent and bizarre. Ronald Reagan appearing as the talking face on poor Ed's penis works for me. This book has ghosts, vampires, small people, endlessly pooping people (well, one person), aliens, the devil. The doorway be...more
Kyle Burley
Forgot how creepy and perverse Chester Brown's early work could be and I don't mean any of that pejoratively.
Mw Pm
I liked aspects of the book immensely, but other aspects I had no interest in whatsoever... which made for an imbalanced read. The author admits that he drew from the Surrealists method of spontaneous (or automatic) writing, a method intended to draw from the unconscious mind; he also admits to the varied, often meandering, results of such a method. But if you're interested in reading a graphic novel in which Ronald Reagan's head is mysteriously grafted onto the end of a penis, this is the graph...more
Troy
Brilliant and perfect, there was something about Chester Brown and his contemporaries (Julie Doucet, Charles Burns, Jim Woodring) that encapsulated the absurdity, surrealism, and insanity of the 80s. This is a dark, perfect comix, full of shit, talking penises, Regan, clowns, killer grandmas, alternate dimensions, secret science, and endless amounts of other stuff that both work as a crazy narrative and as laser-sharp analysis. One of the few comix to approach literature.
George Marshall
Puerile and sometimes irritating. Chester Brown is a great artist and I very much like his other work. This is inferior- a string of nob and poo gags. Fans call it surreal, but that is very flattering. There is little intelligence or insights here. I vaguely enjoyed reading it because it is well drawn and occasionally does creative things with the weaving of the plots and ideas, but it is very very far from being a 'masterpiece of underground comix'
Holly Lindquist
Disturbing, unique, and hilarious comic. Only book I know that asks: What if your bum was a doorway to an alternate dimension? This is an important question, and kudos to Mr. Brown for tackling it.

The story also contains a vampire, a fellow who is not a werewolf, religious wackery, roving tribes of cannibalistic sewer pygmies, and a very presidential talking phallus. Oh, by the way, about Ed.. he ain't too happy. Poor little clown..
Mark
I've read (and have greatly appreciated) my share of critically acclaimed graphic novels. First impressions of this one were: "Hey, this is what I expected a graphic novel to be, before I read graphic novels. Entertaining, maybe raunchy, but mostly forgettable." Kept going (for the entertainment value), and this book really turned into something purty cool. Surreally interesting; author's notes so personal and intimate. Great book.
Matt
Phenomenal. Took me completely unaware. Unforgettable.
Mark Dickson
Surreal and hallucinogenic graphic art from a Canadian peer of Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson. This is adult material. Definitely not for everyone. As well as being surreal it contains complete nudity, sexual situations, and graphic violence. It is also a farcical romp that could only stem from the underground comix movement of the 60s-70s. Black and white, no color, but hallucinatory and hilarious at times.
Derek
Dark, humorous, scatological, violent, extremely sexual, blasphemous, and mind-blowingly surreal, I can't help but appreciate this graphic novel for it's over-the-top ridiculousness. It's delightfully uncomfortable to read, bringing to mind some of my experiences in reading 'Naked Lunch'. I will never think of Ronald Reagan the same way ever again.
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Chester Brown was born in Montreal, Canada on May 16, 1960 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Chateauquay. His career path was set at the age of 12 when the local newspaper, The St. Lawrence Sun, published one of his comic strips.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

At 19, he moved to Toronto and got a day job while he worked on his skills as a ca...more
More about Chester Brown...
I Never Liked You Louis Riel Paying For It : a comic-strip memoir about being a john The Playboy The Little Man: Short Strips, 1980-1995

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