Booklist describes Clyde Fans as Seth's Masterwork

“Booklist Review” / Booklist Online / Gordon Flagg / July 1, 2019

Canadian cartoonist Seth began serializing Clyde Fans 20 years ago in the pages of his Palookaville comic book. Finally completed, the finished work is a quietly tragic family saga told with a reflective deliberation befitting its two-decade gestation. It chronicles the rise and fall of a family business that manufactures and sells electric fans through the deteriorating relationship of the two brothers who carried on after their father’s desertion. Elder brother Abe, who’s been on the road as a reluctant salesman, stepped in to run the business, with the painfully introverted Simon helping out around the office. Following a disastrous, short-lived attempt to go into sales—depicted in excruciating detail—Simon becomes a recluse, retreating to the family home and assuming the care of their elderly mother. Abe fails to adapt as home air conditioning becomes affordable, leading to the firm’s inevitable demise. The trajectory of the business over the course of four decades is echoed in the brothers’ bitter history, with Abe growing estranged from the world as Simon loses his grasp on reality altogether. Seth’s masterly two-color graphics, with their thick, expressive brushstrokes, lovingly evoke the brothers’ bygone milieu. Seth’s masterwork is an eloquent summation of his career-long themes: stultifying nostalgia for an irretrievable past and an equally crippling alienation that leads to tragic isolation.

— Gordon Flagg

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