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Clyde Fans

(Clyde Fans #1-2)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  719 ratings  ·  129 reviews
A masterful work about a failing family business and the ensuing erosion of sibling relations and ones sanity

Twenty years in the making, Clyde Fans peels back the optimism of mid-twentieth century capitalism. The legendary Canadian cartoonist Seth lovingly shows the rituals, hopes, and delusions of a middle class that has long ceased to exist in North Americagarrulous men
Hardcover, 488 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  719 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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David Schaafsma
I liked to watch the real salesmen--the old-time travelers. A lot could be learned from those guys. Those fellas had plenty of charm. They used to say that sincerity sells--and if you can fake that, you've got it made"--Abe, in Clyde Fans

A masterpiece, the graphic novel event of the year (well, it's early, so there may indeed be many more), a 480-page tome, gorgeously rendered by author Seth and Drawn & Quarterly. No one in comics loves the description "graphic novel," and Seth calls it a
Jon Nakapalau
Seth has done it again; Death of a Salesman on the installment plan with the Metamorphosis of a man who could not break out of the cocoon of his own doubts - highest recommendation.
Michael Finocchiaro
This is a beautifully drawn graphic novel about nostalgia, insanity, the impermanence of passing time and ultimately the story of two brothers. It reminded me several times of French graphic artist Lewis Trondheim and his epic Lapinot et les carottes de Patagonie when Simons mind started to drift.

The plot revolves around Abe and Seth Matchcard and the ventilation fan business they inherited from their father whose sudden abandonment of them and their mother had a lasting impact on their lives.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book, 2019
The Great Canadian Novel, filled with enough pathos, loneliness, and rare moments of beauty for at least twenty years of graphic art.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Simon and Abe Matchcard are brothers, second generation Canadian business owners struggling to save the family business of selling oscillating fans in a world switching to air-conditioning, written and illustrated by Seth, a renowned cartoonist. The story, told in graphic form, is a classic one, exploring the decline of small scale businesses and family life, in this case, the disappearance of the father/founder and its profound and lasting impact. The book moves back and forth between three ...more
Ugh, Im starting to think that Seth just isnt for me. I dont mind unlikeable characters (I often really like reading about them, actually), but Seths endlessly morose men in this story and their ruminations on how they wasted their lives just did nothing for me. (Okay, to say that this story is just about men ruminating on how they wasted their lives is a gross generalization -- there are some layers and other themes being explored -- but you get my drift.)

Chronicling the decline of a
Rod Brown
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I have followed this family drama about two elderly brothers ("dull and grey") since it began twenty-three years ago in Palooka-ville #10, and it is nice to find it all finally collected under one cover. It's more a tone piece than a story, with the five parts skipping around the decades between the 1950s and 1990s.

The first chunk consists of the older brother wandering around a building in 1997 talking to himself about the history of his family's shuttered business and his experience in sales.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5+ out of 5
What a beautiful slab of melancholy. First there is the object itself, meticulously designed and further rewarding with each closer gaze - just like the panels of the comic itself. Then, there is the story. 20
years in the making, a not-so-epic about two brothers, about the end of industry, about dreams deferred and never had, about what gets lost when someone leaves and the absences that appear when they stay. Plus, a Woolfian final chapter that absolutely astounds and astonishes,
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-books
I cannot accurately articulate the tremendous amount of affection I have for this work. And that Seth actually finished it. Im very grateful for that. ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read this three times now, across much of the twenty years of ifs serialization, again in one sustained read of the serialized version, and now in this collected and revised edition. The dense and deliberate narrative here did not lend itself well to being read across the twenty years of its serialization (a fact Seth acknowledges), but as a single book, it is brilliant. Not for those looking for sunny and optimistic work, this contemplative study of two brothers, Abe and Simon Matchcard, ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it

A beautifully drawn and compelling meditation on how life passes us all by, as brothers Abe and Simon alternately carry on the struggle to maintain an absent father's business (the titular Clyde Fans) and hide away from the responsibilities and unreality of the outside world. Seth's insight into his characters is profound; the story often meanders more than necessary and a few sections can be tedious to get through, but the payoff for getting past those moments is definitely worthwhile.
Javier Curbelo
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A self-contained universe of nostalgia and stillness. Masterpiece 🙏 ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
I can see this graphic novel making the shortlist. It's colouring with the blues, blacks and grey adds to the melancholic feel this story contains. I was quite taken in by this story.
Dakota Morgan
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Melancholy and meticulous, Clyde Fans is about memories: what we choose to recall, what we can never forget, and the gaps in between. Seth does an impressive and at times overwhelming job detailing the lonely, gloomy lives of Abe and Simon Matchcard, brothers running the Clyde Fans business. Well, Abe does the business part - Simon's undiagnosed mental ailments prevent him from engaging with other people or with life in general.

Clyde Fans alternates between Abe and Simon as the focal point
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A ball of gold.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Truly a masterpiece, both of storytelling and artistic achievement. Seth tells the story of two brothers, Abe and Simon Matchcard, who are the reluctant recipients of their father's fan company when he abandons the family without warning. Abe is the more competent of the two, and Simon feels everything with great depth. They are a poorly-matched pair, and their conflict simmers under the surface of the shimmering panels of Seth's art.

The story of the Matchcard brothers is told in the first
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it

⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The first graphic novel longlisted for the #gillerprize is quite the door stop, coming in at almost 500 pages. That said it's a quick read. The story of two brothers who ran a fan company from its heyday until its demise, Clyde Fans deals with several themes, from feelings of regret in old age, to mental illness. Thematically is quite a conventional story but the drawing and attention to detail is quite impressive. This was written over 25 years so you do see quite a
Jeff Jackson
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
4.5 stars
Garrett Zecker
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a pleasure it is to finally finish a talented authors magnum opus as it appears complete in print for the first time, knowing it is going to be something absolutely spectacular. This occurred as I completed Seths newest release of Clyde Fans a book I started with I read the first half in 2014, but one that took the artist two decades to complete. You can read my first review at Goodreads here: and listen to one of two Virtual Memories Show ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
It took me a long time to read this book, though not nearly as long as it took Seth to create it (20 years?!). I enjoyed it a great deal, but the subject matter was heavy and I had to take periodic breaks between chapters just so I could replace the loneliness and forlornness permeating the book with something happier.

Because it did take Seth 20 years to finish Clyde Fans, you can actually see his growth as an artist as you read. His later chapters have a much thicker, surer line than his
Pearse Anderson
I'm counting this as two books (I read the first two volumes in the set that Oberlin College has, but only got this full hardcover from Illinois this week) because the book is 488 pages and I can do that.

Yes, the art style does change throughout this book, given how it took Seth 20 years to make. Do you know what doesn't change? How fucking timeless and amazing this book is. Nothing will ever change that.
This is such a fine fucking graphic novel you can slot it up there beside Saga and Bone:
Steve Portigal
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nostalgia for a time and place in Southern Ontario that I did not directly experience, but can remember remembering. There's so much detail here in the storytelling, the page design, the illustrations. And a deeply melancholic and touching story.
Somber, dreamy, thought-provoking. I don't think I would spend 20 years creating a picture-novel about an electric fan company that goes out of business, but I'm glad Seth did.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author, Seth, spotted an old shop, Clyde Fans, in downtown Toronto, and spent 20 years creating this melancholy, layered picture novel about two brothers at the helm of the eponymous business. Abe is the quintessential salesman, charged with running the business for many years, while Simon retreats from the world after an ill-fated sales trip. Their personalities are distinct and their relationship complicated, though sometimes the tone of their musings is similar.

Abe: You know, when you
Caleb Robinson
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Seth's artwork is so good it feels impossible to give this less than three stars, but if I'm honest, I didn't enjoy the narrative of this one at all and would have rated it one star if it had been a traditional novella or short story.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the first graphic novel Ive read. At first I was enamored by the genre. The authors talent at evoking mood through both the written word and the illustrations and coloring was exceptional. The story was dismal and sad and after awhile it just got boring. I never finished the book! ...more
Christian McKay
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this almost twenty years ago. Cant believe he finally finished it. Cant believe it was as good as Id hoped. ...more
Justin Decloux
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very sad.
Vivekanand Sridhar
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Life need not be challenged, confronted or conquered. It can be backed away from with dignity".
Koen Claeys
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Seth has finally finished his magnus opus. After 20 years, I can give Book One away and cherish this beautiful collection. Reminds me, I need to read It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken again... ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Clyde Fans (2 books)
  • Clyde Fans, Book 1
  • Clyde Fans: Book 2

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“I guess they've become so cynical that they expect to be cheated. These modern companies have things rigged to their advantage.” 0 likes
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