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Fred the Clown Paperback – November 10, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Every so often, lightning strikes--and nails Fred the Clown right in the tokhes. Such is the essence of New Zealand-born London cartoonist Langridge's sublimely feckless creation that it's a wonder a bolt ever strikes elsewhere. And such is the comics-steeped virtuosity of Langridge's art--which, while most indebted to Max Fleisher's animated cartoons (e.g., Betty Boop), embraces spot-on parodies of comic strips (Peanuts, garfield, etc.), underground cartoonists (Crumb, Deitch), and picture-book artists (Seuss, Gorey)--that the lightning of gratified recognition (this guy's one of us!) must repeatedly strike deep-dyed comics lovers while perusing Fred's adventures. Meanwhile, Langridge's verbal skills convulse us, for he is a sick jokester of the very first water. In this compendium organized in chapters corresponding to "Fred the Clown's Ten Steps to Happiness" (which, needless to say, don't ever get him there), the two prose-heavy ones--a history of Fred's two comic strips ("Know Your Roots") and a mock newspaper ("Value the Written Word")--may be the most side-splitting burlesques of comics history and historiography ever. In the other eight chapters, in which the only words are narrative or in print within the panels, Langridge's art is as funny as his writing and also, despite the pretense that Fred merits no sympathy, touching. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Roger Langridge hails from New Zealand but now lives in London with his wife and daughter.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (November 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560976101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560976103
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,127,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Roger Langridge is a brilliant cartoonist. If you have already discovered Langridge through his more recent MUPPETS, POPEYE and SNARKED comics, as I had, you'll enjoy this further exploration of his talents. If you aren't familiar with Langridge but admire the talents of great cartoonists you will enjoy having this on your shelf! FRED THE CLOWN is a showcase for Langridge's talents. It's basically an anthology book using this comical little clown to tell all sorts of little stories. It reminds me of the old Charlie Chaplin films or Three Stooges shorts where the same actors play essentially the same characters though in continuously different situations and scenarios.
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Format: Paperback
If I were to rate this purely on the basis of how much I enjoyed it, I would probably give it three stars, but then I would be doing it an injustice.

First of all, the art is excellent, although not all the gags are funny, but this may be because (a) I'm pretty much as jaded a reader as you can get these days (b) I don't particularly like rhymes these days (c) although I'm pretty knowledgeable about classic comic strips, there is probably lots of things I just don't "get".

Clearly Langridge worked really hard on this book. It is not a collection of monthly issues where the writer/artist is on a deadline and does his best. Clearly a lot of thought went into this book.
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Format: Paperback
Without hesitation, I'd easily put Roger Langridge on my short list of the greatest all-around cartoonists alive today. He combines slapstick humor, nimble wordplay, Vaudeville, old-tyme comics and filters it through a modern sensibility (with liberal doses of Monty Python, the Goon Show, and the occasional bit of heartbreak and tragedy thrown in for good measure).

This is required reading for everyone who loves comics, everyone who used to love comics but has given up on them, everyone who's been raised by wolves and doesn't understand the concept of comics and pretty much everyone else who doesn't fit into any of the categories above.
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Format: Paperback
Once again I picked a book pretty much at random off the shelf of "graphic novels," and once again I was most pleased with my choice. 'Fred the Clown' is a bizarre combination of gutter humor, satire, existenalism and slapstick that - while not gelling as a cohesive whole - does manage to entertain.

Langridge is at his most humorous - with one exception - when he keeps things short and sweet; the various faux-advertisements throughout the book are exceeding hysterical in their ineptitude of driving sales. But one of the funniest bits in the book is the faux-history of the strip, which takes several pages to tell. I think what I liked the best about this was the inclusion of works through the 'Fred the Clown eras' that pretty much universally are referred to as less than spectacular works.

The strips themselves are largely free of any sort of dialogue and Langridge does a good job of conveying whatever thoughts/emotions/expected actions by way of pantomime or picture thought bubbles.

The style reminded me of early Steve Purcell ('Sam & Max') which I consider a good thing. I look forward to a possible companion to this should it ever materialize.
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