THE FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL EVER NOMINATED FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE!
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, the Trillium Book Award, and the Scotiabank 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.
Buy the Book:
There is no one like Michael Deforge for pushing you to reconsider how reality operates. This book is literally about the capriciousness of identity. Who are we? With typical Deforge brilliance he takes a thought experiment far outside the realms of conventional storytelling. Fresh ideas on every page.
In a thoroughly modernized, constantly updating society, where can true connection be found?
The bodies of citizens and the infrastructure surrounding them is constantly updating. People can’t recognize themselves in old pictures, and they wake up in apartments of completely different sizes and shapes. Commuter routes radically differ day to day. The citizens struggle with adaptability as updates happen too quickly, and the changes are far too radical to be intuitive. There is no way to resist—the updates are enacted by a nameless, faceless force.
Familiar Face’s narrator works in the government’s department of complaints, reading through citizens’ reports of the issues they’ve had with the system updates. The job isn’t to fix anything, but rather to be the sole human sounding board, a comfort in a system so decidedly impersonal. These complaints aren’t mere bug reports—they can be anything: existential, petty, just plain heartbreaking.
Michael DeForge’s ability to find the humanity and emotional truth within the outlandish bureaucracy of everyday life is unparalleled. The signatures of DeForge’s work—a vibrant color palette, surreal designs, and self-aware sense of humor—enliven an often-bleak technocratic future. Familiar Face is a masterful and deeply funny exploration of how we define our sense of self, and how we cope when so much of life is out of our control.
Buy the Book: