I read the first instalment of Clyde Fans 15 years ago and I've been impatiently waiting for this complete edition ever since. Canadian cartoonist Seth has been serialising this masterpiece chapter by chapter via the comic book series Palookaville since 1998, and his publisher D&Q previously put out two chunky collections. But this is the first time the entire story has been made available.
A slow-paced and often ponderous inspection of two brothers, their relationship and their failing business, depicted in wiggly brush strokes and a limited colour palette, told across decades and 500 pages might not sound like the most essential graphic novel of the year but I honestly think might be. Every page of this book is a masterclass in the form, every scene both poignant and meaningful. Seth achieves an alchemy on the page, of which very few cartoonists are capable. The story assembles itself before our eyes, panel by panel, through attractive and deceptively simple linework, while every moving part of the story shifts and grows almost imperceptibly. When reading it, the characters and the world they inhabit often seemed more real to me than our own.
And when I finished the book I put it down and sat and thought for a long time about life, and people, and comics, and tried to pinpoint just how the story had affected me so.
Seth is a genius and you should read this book.