Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Palookaville 18: More 12-Panel Pages!

Issue 18 shows Simon philosophizing and really freaking out (he imagines himself turning into a bird).  Here are some random thoughts on this comic:

*Ah!  It's a pleasure that cartoonist Seth knows that comics work sequentially.  He crams 12 panels on a  number of pages, and the result is a pleasure to read as the words and images work together to convey to the reader Simon's state of mind in 1966.  This is much better than most comics of the time which were rocking 3 or 4 panels on a page, many of which just read like separate images instead of a set of images that really built on one another to tell a story.

*Though reading the issues in order in a short amount of time allows me to see the connections among the parts of "Clyde Fans" better, which is one of the chief pleasures of reading a narrative originally read with months and years between issues as it was serialized, I don't know what the hell is going on with the bird thing in this issue.  I get that Simon is looking for freedom from his mundane existence and wants to fly away, but is the bird sequence just a, pardon the pun, "flight" of fancy into his imagination to escape the negative emotions caused by his brother yelling at him about how Simon has been failing at taking care of their mother, a psychotic breakdown, or an artful metaphor for suicide?

*There's something about an empty light fixture as well.  Simon keeps staring up at it.  The mother had claimed in a previous issue that things came out of it at night.  Did the father of the family commit suicide in the attic above the light fixture or something?  Perhaps more is revealed in the next couple of issues.

*It looks as if Seth did another book tour in 2005.  I'm familiar with two of his stops.  I've read at Quimby's in Chicago, and I've visited Skylight Books in Los Angeles.  Both are great stores and sell far more than comics.  Pick up a copy of The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus at them!  And, if they're out of stock, then just buy something else cool (and order Emus from me).  One of the reasons "Clyde Fans" has been so delayed over the years are all the other projects Seth gets involved in.  In addition to his commercial illustration work, he also was designing the Fantagraphics Peanuts reprints, putting on art exhibitions, publishing graphic novels, and going out on book tours.

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