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on December 7, 2014
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.
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on December 14, 2005
Yummy Fur: The Adventures of Ed the Happy Clown remains one of the seminal masterworks of the comix movement. It easily earns a place alongside The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's The Watchman as a touchstone for popular graphic novels of the 80's.

Yummy Fur focuses on Ed, a hapless clown living in a dystopian world filled with callous doctors, evil police and truly mad scientists. The story kicks in when Ed finds a severed hand under his bed, and mistaking it for something left by the tooth fairy, reports his findings to the police, only to be thrown in jail. What follows is a quick descent into a world filled with sewer dwelling pygmies, a beautiful vampire, a President from another dimension and an increasingly uncomfortable view of how inhuman man can really be.

At first the plot appears half hazard and childish, but it soon all meshes together and the finale is truly both heartbreaking and breathtaking.

Ed isn't for everybody, but for the few brave souls out there willing to give it a try, the rewards are rich.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 23, 2012
Ed is a happy clown because he's heading to the hospital to entertain sick kids... That's how one of the zaniest comic books you'll ever read begins. From there, Ed the unfortunate clown gets beaten up by anarchists, sent to prison where a man who can't stop pooping might drown Ed in poop, and pursued by pygmies. Oh and his penis becomes Ronald Reagan.

If you've read Chester Brown before you'll know he's best known for memoir type comic books like "I've Never Liked You", "The Playboy" and last year's excellent "Paying For It", or the award-winning biography "Louis Riel". "Ed the Happy Clown" is Brown's first book and a long out-of-print masterpiece of bizarre and improvised plotting.

Brown includes an extensive notes section at the back which is almost as good as reading the book itself. It provides background details to how the book was conceived and written/drawn along with biographical details of the author and the reaction to his work as it was released in his bi-monthly comic "Yummy Fur". Brown admits that because he didn't have anything to say in his early twenties he just threw together random storylines, whatever was on his mind, straight onto the page. It definitely reads that way but after a certain point the various story threads begin intersecting and make a strange kind of sense.

The murderous religious janitor connects to the vampire Josie who leads to the pygmies who leads to Ronald Reagan penis who leads to the man who can't stop pooping who leads to Dimension X. This book is a must-read just for that summary - you'll never read a book like this. And it's really funny too. Granted, you need a dark sense of humour to find this stuff hilarious but if insane doctors beating patients with bats, homophobic TV scientists shooting midgets and housewife bounty hunters shooting pygmies is your bag, you'll get a lot out of this. There's also Dimension X and where it is... I can't give it away, it's too funny.

I've waited a long time to see this book back in print and reading it now, it still holds up 25+ years down the line. This may be Brown's first attempt at comics but it shows a young talent - immature yes, but the talent is undeniable. And it's a fantastic read. Funny, clever, hugely imaginative and creative, "Ed the Happy Clown" is a must-read.
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on November 9, 2009
come on! i like south park as much as the next guy but they wish they had the wit and surrealism that this comic has. anyway, it's not fair to compare a tv show to a comic, as cynical and comparable as it may appear to be. why? well, because of the differences in pace.

Ed the happy clown is too good. My favourite part is the man who suffers from a bizarre compulsion: he can't stop crapping. Even when he dies he's still crapping. When it turns out that his anus is a gateway to another dimension, a transfer begins. To quote Shaviro: "The interference between the two worlds leads to a series of hysterical sexual fantasies, grotesque amputations, and surreal confusions of identity. But what's important is the process of transmission, not the nature of the product. That's the secret of scatology: waste is the only wealth."

Works like these remind us why these 'sub-genres' are so appreciated. If you feel like referencing: it's in the vein of Julie Doucet's Dirty Plotte or Joe Matt's Peepshow.
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on December 22, 2013
When I've read Chester brown books, I'm never really sure what exactly it is that I like. I think it's the way things all complement each other. This book has a lot of sudden moments, but it's very interesting (in a good way). I laughed more while reading this than any other book in recent memory. Certainly worth repeat reads. As with many of Brown's books, I love reading the notes almost as much as the book itself.
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on October 27, 2012
... and it wasnt just because i was high when i was reading it. ed the happy clown is one of the most bizarre and original books i have ever read. i laughed out loud many times, scratched my head and said "wtf?" others. couldnt put it down. i dont have much by chester brown, will definitely pick up more of his stuff. it is really hard to describe this book, the best i can say is "surreal black comedy/horror" but that really doesnt scratch the surface here. highly recommend.
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on July 22, 2013
I had read Paying for It, so I knew the style but the creativity here is really something. Not for everyone, but I enjoyed it very much. Really enjoyed the analysis at the end.
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on October 12, 2015
Absolutely excellent surrealist piece. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to explore more experimental comics
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on August 24, 2007
Ed The Happy Clown by Chester Brown is like Canada's longer ugly answer to the French question that is The Horny Goof by Jean "Moebius" Giraud.
If you like the best comics Heavy Metal Magazine published, i.e. all the ones before Kevin Eastman raped the mag, you'll love Ed The Happy Clown.
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on March 18, 2013
This book is not anything how I expected it to be, but that isn't bad. This book is filled with sex, violence, and some disturbing stuff. There is also a lot of humor and satire. The book starts out with some stories of the characters before it was a continued book, then the stories start to form into a surreal journey. Very good, but just different.
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