1966 (The saddest of years): Clyde Fans and an interior life
We moved forward to 1966, it’s been 9 years since Simon ended his career at Clyde Fans. Seth starts off this section with a lovely dream sequence “walking” comic. A young Simon, isolated, in the wet woods plucking (collecting) a flower (the most beautiful thing in sight) from the forest floor. Then 1966 Simon awakes.
Seth mirrors the first chapter here where Abe awakens. Of course, the big difference is Simon’s pained interior dialogue instead of Abe’s exterior non-reflective magniloquence. Breaking down this section and the various themes and symbols might break this blog but I will say that this section is one of the bleakest things ever seen in comics.
Simon waits on his mother whose grip on sanity is slowly slipping away. Both Simon and his mother have long retreated from the world. But they are each others only real contact with another human being. Simon makes an offer (rebuffed) to help Abe. We feel that this is an exchange that is repeated again and again.
Things to look for in this section: the scale of Simon (ever smaller), the increasingly dreamlike quality of Simon’s interactions with the few people (and many toys) he encounters, Simon’s nostalgic reflections. By the end of the section, Simon has plunged ever deeper into the labyrinth of his home and his mind.
I’m not crying. It’s just hay fever. Spring is hard here in Montreal. Gimme a break. Maybe this is a good time to take a look at what the Canadian treasure Heather O'Neill has to say about this remarkable book: "A tour de force that captures the strange sadness of nostalgia and how it betrays the past and makes the present unobtainable. Seth masterfully recreates the lives of two brothers—one too rough, the other too weak—by illuminating painfully bleak isolated moments in hotel rooms, coffee shops, and highways. He also chronicles collections of tiny knick knacks and household objects in mundane montages that will break your heart with their beauty. The drawings are a feat of wonder, their composition built on the architectural blueprint of loneliness."