Clyde Fans 2021
By Seth / Soft cover, color, 492 pages / 2021
Legendary Canadian cartoonist Seth’s magnus opus Clyde Fans, two decades in the making, appeared on twenty best of 2019 lists, including those from the New York Times, the Guardian, and Washington Post, and was nominated for an Eisner Award and the Giller Prize. Clyde Fans peels back the optimism of mid-twentieth century capitalism, showing the rituals, hopes, and delusions of a vanished middle-class—garrulous self-made men in wool suits extolling the virtues of their wares to taciturn shopkeepers. Much like the myth of an ever-growing economy, the Clyde Fans family business is a fraud. The patriarch has abandoned it to mismatched sons, one who strives to keep the company afloat and the other who retreats into his memories.Abe and Simon Matchcard are brothers, struggling to save their archaic family business selling oscillating fans in a world switching to air conditioning. Simon flirts with becoming a salesman as a last-ditch effort to leave the protective walls of the family home, but is ultimately unable to escape Abe’s critical voice in his head. As Clyde Fans Co. crumbles, so does the relationship between the two men, who choose very different life paths but both end up utterly unhappy.Seth’s intimate storytelling and gorgeous art allow cityscapes and detailed period objects to tell their own stories as the brothers struggle to find themselves suffocating in an airless home.