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

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,100 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews

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
Paperback, 198 pages
Published 1989 by Vortex Comics
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Anthony Vacca
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sure, the drawing is crude, the plotting nonsensical, the humor juvenile and the characters have as many dimensions as the page they're printed on, but this shit's just too punk rock not to be fun! Ed the Happy Clown (which has very little clowning at all - poor woe-besotted Ed loses his make-up and orange hair only a few page in) is Brown's graphic debut, and is packed with sex, vampires, penises with Ronald Reagan's head, homophobic scientists, portals to other dimensions located in some unluc ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what to say about this book other than it's weird, slightly disturbing (in a good interesting way and doesn't take long to read.

It's better than other graphic novels I've tried to pick up as I actually managed to stay interested and only took and hour to read.
Sam Quixote
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ed the Happy Clown reaches into the depths of depravity like no other comic I can really think of...and this is in a world where Prison Pit and The Squirrel Machine both comfortably exist. There were many times during the book when I looked up from what I was reading to talk to my girlfriend and then turned back to the page I was on, only to realize that I was, for example, in the middle of a scene where Ronald Reagan had become the vomiting head of someone else's penis, or a dead man's asshole ...more
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 13, 2014 marked it as dnf
Shelves: graphic-novels
I'd like to describe this book like a person who goes to a cafe and orders a cappuccino with three sugars, and instead they get a long black without cream. Different tastes for different people, I suppose. Because it's not horrible, it's incredibly well written and illustrated, it's just too weird for my tastes. Guess I missed the Yummy Fur cult classic train.
Derek Royal
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been awhile since I last read Ed the Happy Clown, and the main reason I picked this one up again was because I was also reading Brian Evenson's new book, Ed Vs. Yummy Fur: Or, What Happens When a Serial Comic Becomes a Graphic Novel. So I re-read Ed while going through Evenson's analysis -- very good, by the way -- and I'm glad I did. Not only was it useful to re-familiarize myself with the narrative, but this is just a damn fun (and surreal and wacky) story. I love Chester Brown's work, an ...more
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
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
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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".
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Holly Lindquist
Aug 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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..
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a pretty big fan of Chester Brown's autobiographical stuff (especially Paying For It), but this was a totally different thing. At first it felt like a bunch of disjointed and unconnected strips, but then it became apparent that everything was in fact connected, and everything was in fact totally fucking weird.

And I totally feel for the Man Who Couldn't Stop.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I learned that you shouldn't stick your head into a black hole.
Michael Seidlinger
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
May 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing

Daniel Lawson
Yeah where She-wolf was a good weird, this falls more toward the bad weird. I like the comic, it's off-beat, extraordinarily gross, and darkly humorous. But in truth there isn't much merit to it. I'd suggest just picking it up at the library if you can.
Tom Gaetjens
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
For a story that Brown made up as he went along, this book holds together surprisingly well. There isn't much point to what's going on, but it's easy enough to enjoy.
Gary Butler
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
31st book read in 2017.

Number 174 out of 596 on my all time book list.
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a fun nightmare !!!!
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Tate Ryan
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Silvia Serrano
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cuando lo empecé me pareció que las tramas no tenían sentido y que el dibujo no me gustaba demasiado. Parecía como pruebas de alguien muy joven.

Sin embargo no podía dejar de leerlo: ¡es super divertido! Y muy gamberro. Además, las historias se acaban hilando mejor al final. Y las inacabables notas del autor son inexplicablemente mesmerizantes :)
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
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
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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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 about Chester Brown...