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Ice Haven

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  6,278 ratings  ·  237 reviews
Welcome to Ice Haven! 'It's not as cold here as it sounds.' So declares Random Wilder, the town's would-be poet laureate. Would be, that is, were it not for the 'florid banalities' of arch-rival poet Ida Wentz, whom the Ice Haven Daily Progress continues to publish 'ad nauseam'. Random is our ersatz guide to the sleepy midwestern hamlet, and just one of many characters we ...more
Hardcover, 89 pages
Published 2005 by Jonathan Cape
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,278 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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Anthony Vacca
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Clowes's version of Winesburg, Ohio features the dull Midwestopia Ice Haven, and its many sad, sad citizens. The plot revolves around a kidnapped tyke, a crime which may or may not have been inspired by a child abduction that ended in murder fifty years before. This slice of small-town excitement serves as a shaggy impetus for letting the reader play voyeur in the lives of a lazy and untalented poet, a bitter convenience store clerk, an unhappily married pair of private eyes (i.e. Nick an ...more
Over a couple weeks in the summer of 2005, I:

1) Quit my job
2) Bought this book
3) Went on vacation to the Jersey Shore with my friend
4) Read this book, on the beach (enjoyed it!)
5) Came home and returned this book to Barnes & Noble because I was unemployed and needed the money back.

It was kind of a great time.

The B&N Lending Library, I called it. "It's okay because they're hardcover!"

This was not the only time that I did such a thing, and it's not that this is an ethically wonderful idea that I w
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, comics
Co-worker saw me reading this over lunch and commented "oh, some high-level reading, huh?" because it's got, y'know, pictures. Never mind that it's actually written for adults, making it maybe a higher level book than 80% of what I've been reading anyway. Grumble.

Because Dan Clowes is not an easy, breezy read. Ice Haven has a pretty large cast, all of whom have their own individual dramas going on, and every drama is given the same weight--from the parents whose son has been missing for a week t
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Presented as a series of “Sunday comics” style vignettes, this interconnected story of kidnapping, unrequited love, art, and the psycho-sexual drama in Small Town America is WAY more complex and thought-provoking than its short 81 pages would lead you to believe. A dark portrait of suburban ennui that poses more questions than it answers, while still feeling satisfying by the end. It had me enraptured the entire time.
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
Only 88 pages and yet captures the lives of ten anti-heroes in the quaint hamlet of Ice Haven. Oh, and in this short content contains possible murder, throwbacks to Leopold and Loeb, multiple narratives that twist and stumble over each other, misanthropes, misfits, underachievers, loners, introverts, oddballs, and wanderers...personality traits of a trademark Daniel Clowes graphic novel.

And like every other Clowes graphic novel, I relished every grotesque minute of it. I highly recommend reading
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I have it in me to review anything by Daniel Clowes. It's always a fabulous, surreal, and every other emotion experience to read his works. The same goes for Ice Haven. I liked it less than I did Ghost World or Death Ray, but it has its distinct charms, each so well put on paper that the reader can't help but be in awe of Clowes' genius.

One question: why is the font so small???
Aug 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic_novels
I enjoyed this more than Ghost World and much more than Twentieth Century Eightball. There was more cohesion and meat to this story than the other two of Clowes' that I have read. The reader meets an array of characters from the city of Ice Haven and through their individual yet connected stories, a crime is solved during the course of the book. ...more
Jake Nap
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelf
4.5 stars/5 (Goodreads when you gonna add half stars, buddy)

Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes was so close to being a masterpiece. It has all the elements I look for in a comic. Smart writing, great art and a clear understanding and stretching of the formal elements of the medium. The only thing about Ice Haven that stops it from being this is how unsatisfactory the conclusion of it all is. I really expected it to wrap up in a more satisfying and clear way. I’m sure upon further rereading and analyzati
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As many others have noted, Clowes enters Sherwood Anderson territory here in this multi-narrative exploration of the woebegone citizens of Ice Haven. While there are some piercing moments here--the last three pages in particular--this is also pretty well-traveled ground--the sad lives of mundane middle-Americans (although the Leopold and Loeb motif is a dark wrinkle). I was most intrigued by the piece's formal elements, the novel told in individual comic strips done in various styles that serve ...more
Wendy Crittenden
Jun 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphicnovels
found this at a thrift store, totally stoked to read it. yeah two dollars fifteen cents!
Jon Nakapalau
Think Thornton Wilder's Our Town as a comic. ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing, funny, and complex! Clowes' characters often come from central casting (delusionally romantic teenage girls, creepy adolescent bullies, bitterly unsuccessful poets), but he always manages to round them out – at least a little. Also, his drawing style has a retro comic-book-y look that's quite appealing. ...more
Diego Munoz
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this one. Short enough to read in one sitting.

It’s a series of interlocking stories. He did well to create a sense of longing and rebellion in the many characters.

Some of the stories have a different style of art work which makes it interesting, and the coloring, with faded colors also appealed to the eye.

Great book.
May 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
The world depicted in this (apparently small-town USA) is very unfamiliar to me, so I feel like I'm not in on the joke. At least it's short. ...more
Braden A.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished "Ice Haven".

It meanders between being brilliant and being annoyingly (dare I say) "emo". The most interesting characters to me are ones that seem to come and go in short spurts, whereas the ones that are showcased are very annoying, whiny people.

Perhaps it's because I've never been able to sympathize with that teenage attitude of self-importance, thinking they know everything there is to know about the world and that everyone owes them something. But Violet's abuse towards her parents d
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Patience by Daniel Clowes, and though I liked the art, the story was just OK. I decided to give him a second chance, and I am glad I did. I enjoyed Ice Haven much more. The art is still gorgeous, beautifully rendered, inched and colored. But here, the story is much better. Small town, sad people, someone said, and indeed, the town and the folks who live there are seen from a bleak point of view. There's your loner weirdo wanna-be poet, who secretly resents (no, hates!) the cheerful poetes ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. Not my favorite Clowes, but still entertaining.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
This is an extremely clever episodic graphic novel, well-drawn and with excellent dialog/narration, about an utterly dysfunctional small town and its assorted denizens, each of whom has some serious character flaw that renders them either emotionally withdrawn, oblivious to the fate of others, mean, gossipy, nosy, etc. The few characters that are OK, are perhaps victims of absent/insensitive boyfriends/spouses, or are regarded as perhaps dithering or old-fashioned. This comic is a tour de force ...more
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written as a collection of short comic strips, each with its own title, this odd work from the author of Ghost World tells the story of the residents of the fictional town of Ice Haven and their dysfunctional interaction in the wake of the case of a missing child. Through the point of view of a troubled poet, a young intellectual in love with his miserable step sister, a private investigator neglecting his wife to solve the case and many other townsfolk the story unfolds with various suspects an ...more
this was good but unexpectedly dark. I wasn't familiar with Daniel clowes before I picked this up. mainly I just liked the artwork and the cover caught my attention so I went into it completely blind.

I actually picked up a bunch of his other stuff too which now I'm kind of wondering if it's my cup of tea but I'll probably give it a shot.

what I really do like is the way he weaves together a story involving multiple people and points of view. you get to see things from almost every single charact
Jun 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly Daniel Clowes masterpiece.
Metabunker's review of the work is well written. ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
My first Daniel Clowes. Hm....

At first I was vastly annoyed with the pretension. And then, slowly, it won me over. It's not actually pretension if you can nail it, I guess.

Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-ebook
Clearly an interesting and experimental work, but I'm not sure how well it works. ...more
Aldie Anderson
Ice Haven is a graphic novel written by Daniel Clowes. Ice Haven is a graphic novel that is made up of twenty-nine different short stories. Each short story is a stylistic comic strip that is a different perspective from multiple residents in the small town of Ice Haven. Each story within the larger graphic novel is a separately titled anecdote that all lead to one overarching plot. Each story benefits and compliments one another by paralleling each other's lives. While the overall storyline of ...more
Michael P.
Daniel Clowes's approach to telling this story is to collect vignettes about certain characters in a city, and develop a slight plot thread that connects some of them, though not others. I suppose this might be called impressionistic storytelling. This book has certainly thrilled many, but I find it wanting on multiple fronts. One front is the are plot elements that are not developed, the private eye cheating on her husband is an example. Why the mean kid pretends to murder another kid, is anoth ...more
This one was ok. I shall write myself in the review like the "comic book critic" character did at the end:

I tend to avoid Clowes but the combination of basement price, number of pages, his lack of being bad and being the right size to help fill out the mass-market paperback height shelf on one of my cases got this book in my life.

I worried that I would avoid it or ditch it half-way because it's barely unified but he used that to his advantage for the way I read.

Here is my take on how this book c
Gavin Breeden
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful example of economy in story-telling. This short book, told in the style of a series of Sunday comic stripe, depicts the internal life of eight or so characters residing in the small Midwestern town of Ice Haven. There's Random Wilder the narcissistic, failed poet who serves as our narrator; Vida, the struggling writer visiting her grandmother from out of town; Charles, an intelligent boy with a big crush on his new, older stepsister; Violet, the aforementioned stepsister who is in lo ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is another small and delicious slice of dark delight from Clowes, as we stumble into the realms of Ice Haven. From the opening pages there is an air of chilling dislocation, and the constant unease, with the feeling that something is not quite right and almost anything can happen.

As ever with Clowes this is beautifully drawn, with some really nice colouring to add to the clean, simple lines. This definitely has a Hitchcockian feel about it, with some pleasing echoes of Edward Hopper in the
Lauren Munoz
2.5 stars. Conceptually this comic is great - Clowes uses newspaper-style comic strip imitations to weave together multiple narratives from various people in the same small town. While this prevented the art and framing from getting stale, I don't think most of the stories (the exception being the comic critic panels) said anything new or interesting enough to deserve the creativity of the concept. That being said, I might recommend this to young adults - they are less likely to have been expose ...more
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Daniel Gillespie Clowes is an Academy Award-nominated American author, screenwriter and cartoonist of alternative comic books. Most of Clowes' work appears first in his anthology Eightball (1989-2004), a collection of self-contained narratives and serialized graphic novels. Several of these narratives have been collected published separately as graphic novels, most notably Ghost World. With filmma ...more

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