December 7, 2014

Chester Brown's "Ed the Happy Clown"



Confession time: I only picked this up because my name can be shortened to Ed and sometimes I like to dress up as a clown. But we all read books for different reasons, that in no way invalidates that I read this book and enjoyed it, for the most part. When I had just started reading it, my wife asked me how it was, and I told her “Weird and dark,” to which she replied that it might not be the best thing to read before bed. I should listen to my wife more, but I didn’t here. There’s a story about Ed and a vampire woman and Ronald Reagan from an alternate dimension finding himself in existence in a very weird place in our dimension. My only criticism is that there is action that is logical from frame to frame, but there is no real overall arc. Reading the end notes of this edition shows that the writer, Chester Brown, seems to have written that way too, so early on there is not real strong characterization of any of the characters until he finds their voices. I liked this more as a way that it shows an artist’s potential, and I will check out some of his later work, but this is lacking in a way I can’t fully articulate.