Seth Hahne's Reviews > The Clarence Principle

The Clarence Principle by Fehed Said
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Jun 28, 07

bookshelves: comics
Read in May, 2007

While I'd never heard of either Fehed Said or Shari Chankhamma, Slave Labor Graphics (the book's publisher) has built up enough good will from me over the years that any time I see their label, I'll at least pick up a book of there's and browse through it to see if it looks worthwhile. The Clarence Principle held vague attraction to me. The art was rather Scott Pilgrim/manga-y with heavy washes of dark ink (kinda like what I remember seeing in Area 88 as a kid, but much heavier). The character designs were sleek and playful and the mood was thick. So I picked it up for a lean $12.95.

Was it worth it? I should say so. It's rare that I come to the end of a book (comic or otherwise) and just lose my breath from being astounded. I sat there dumb-founded. It was a good sort of feeling - to not really know what to think. I think it's been a long time since I was surprised.

So then, The Clarence Principle. It's about a guy, Clarence, who's just committed suicide in a tub for reasons that are ephemerally developed throughout the story. Clarence wakes up in some strange after-life with rules and a populace he pretty much takes in stride, depsite the horror of the whole thing. Clarence, at one point, compares his journey to Alice's through Wonderland. I too like using Alice in Wonderland as a comparitive and do so with many fictions (remember that I preferred to describe Spirited Away as Alice in Wonderland Hopped Up on Meth). So you know how Alice in Wonderland is pretty dark? The Clarence Principle is like Alice in Wonderland... but dark. It's also morbidly humourous and kept me consistently chuckling at the macabre. Until the end, that is, when I clammed up entirely and tried to let the whole thing wash over me.

Heh. "Tried." As if I had any choice.
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