Ed the Happy Clown? Ed the Happy Clown!
That is, it's safe to say that no Stephenie Meyer vampire ever got tangled up with a clown who has the living, talking head of Ronald Reagan attached to his penis. Or with a ravenous tribe of pygmy cannibals, scientists from another dimension, and one hapless man who can't stop, ah, shitting.
Yeah, no, that's definitely Ed the Happy Clown, the surreal narrative that originally appeared in Chester Brown's periodical Yummy Fur, went through a couple of collected iterations, and at long last arrives in stores in a hardcover edition – hell, a sumptuous hardcover edition – via the good offices of Drawn & Quarterly.
The proprietors of Drawn & Quarterly up there in Canada:
Oh, they love comics!
(They also, we suspect, have an equal affection and admiration for comix & art-comix & commix-with-two-ems & sequential art & bandes dessinées & manga and, well, let's not get into that whole ball of waxing philosophical and contentious.)
But they do love 'em, D&Q, which is why they treat them – why they publish them – so well. Just like they've published Onwards to Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki and Pyongyang by Guy Delisle and The Death-Ray by Daniel Clowes and so on, including Kate Beaton's wildly popular Hark! A Vagrant and Chester Brown's more recent work Paying For It, and other volumes we've reviewed on this site.
(What is that, up there? A random list?
No, we provided those links because we recommend those books very highly.)
And now, Brown's Ed the Happy Clown.
Ed's not a book for the squeamish or the easily offended. Not for those who prefer their clowns penis-free and their vampires to be all, what is it, glittery? But for people who like to see the twisted, violent, scatological, and hilarious improvisational storytelling of a modern master's early career. In a hardcover volume so delightfully designed and sturdily bound that it should be surrounded by a biblioradiant nimbus of glory.
("Biblioradiant nimbus of glory," did we say?
Oy, Jesus. Must be reading too many Tales Designed to Thrizzle.)
(Which Tales are, of course, from Seattle comics powerhouse Fantagraphics.)