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Il commesso viaggiatore, Vol. 1 (Clyde Fans #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  736 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Dopo il grande successo di La vita non è male, malgradpo tutto, la Coconino Press presenta il nuovo lavoro del canadese Seth, diviso in due preziosi volumi. Il commesso viaggiatore (Clyde Fans in originale) si svolge su due livelli temporali: nel 1997 Abraham Matchcard è un uomo ormai anziano che vive da solo, dopo una vita trascorsa a fare il commesso viaggiatore, nello s ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published 2003 by Coconino Press (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Derek Parker
Feb 17, 2013 Derek Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Sam Quixote
Jul 29, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Mar 23, 2007 Jay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 18, 2014 Norman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First part was a bit long and tedious, but Simon's part of the story brought my rating up to a 4. There is definitely an interesting dichotomy between the narrative; I assume Abe, being the successful salesperson, has always been somewhat of a talker, and his segment is all explained through his wordy monologue while walking about doing his day-to-day whereas Simon's is through the art and his nervous flashbacks and expressions. Yes there is dialogue in part 2, but it functions almost as backgro ...more
Feb 29, 2008 Spencer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
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.
Mar 11, 2011 Damon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
The art and the lettering was just perfect.
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!
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.
pierlapo  quimby
Nov 15, 2010 pierlapo quimby rated it really liked it
Shelves: fumetti
C'è da attendere la fine, ma sembra bello.
Emi Bevacqua
I probably would've rated this higher if it were a complete book, instead of only half a story. And if I'd known my library only has this Part 1, I wouldn't even have bothered reading about Abe Matchcard, retired Canadian salesman of the family fan business, and brother Simon's I'll-fated attempt in the field. Somehow this reads like a mystery, so I found myself searching through the pictures (which are excellent btw) for clues without knowing what for.
Jun 03, 2017 Ginidir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately too short, it was a poignant marriage of psychology, character, and architecture.
Matthew Quann
After having a somewhat lacklustre experience with Canadian cartoonist Seth's "It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken," I happy to say that "Clyde Fans Book 1" has hit more of a personal sweet spot with me. Split into two distinct halves, "Clyde Fans" follows Abe reminiscing about his days in sales in the first half, then switches tacks and unveils a few days spent in sales from the perspective of his brother, Simon. This graphic novel tackles some hefty themes that would likely be deepened by mu ...more
Jul 22, 2014 Mystyron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2017 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, library-books
I didn't really "get" this. I liked the art style, particularly outdoor night scenes. There isn't much story though. Maybe it comes together in book 2, but my library doesn't have it, so I don't anticipate finding out.
Oct 04, 2015 Chazzbot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picking up this graphic novel and flipping through its pages may actually work against the reader's potential interest. Presented in subtle duo-tone (black & white, with touches of light blue), and beginning with a nearly 80-page monologue by a retired, embittered fan salesman, Seth's novel (Book 1!) doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would interest anyone, even in graphic format.

Reading the novel, however, one soon picks up on the nuances of this subdued portrait of two brothers: the
Garrett Zecker
Jul 19, 2014 Garrett Zecker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Antoine Dumas
I appreciate that everything about this book is Canadian, but I think he tried a little bit too hard…

The first part was kind of terrible. I don’t even know why it’s a comic book. The guy’s just walking around doing his daily routine stuff while he tells his little story. And I mean, yeah the art is detailed and neat and tells its own little story, but still. It’s weird.

The second half of the book is devastating. I. am. Simon.

Simon is also obviously Seth. I ran into Seth a number of times at TCAF
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
Apr 15, 2015 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I personally love novels of duality, that give us two very different sides of the same coin. Here in Clyde Fans, Book 1, we meet two brothers, one forlorn and dreaming of his glory days gone past, and the other feeling out of place and ill-suited for those glory days as they happen.

The first half of the novel follows the elder brother as he gives the reader a tour of the home and fan store downstairs, regaling the reader with stories of sales calls and letting slips of his life slide through dur
Jun 26, 2013 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kurt Klopmeier
Jun 15, 2008 Kurt Klopmeier rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
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
Abe Something
Aug 05, 2014 Abe Something rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 23, 2007 Bryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
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
Morgan Yew
Jan 08, 2015 Morgan Yew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
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.
Sasha Boersma
Oct 13, 2014 Sasha Boersma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 06, 2009 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 14, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics-gn
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.
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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

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