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Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron Paperback – January 17, 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Some consider this comic book novel obtuse; others find it deeply intellectual. Whatever the reaction, it's hard to refute its daring originality and smooth artwork. Described as "a terrifying journey into madness," the story revolves around Clay Loudermilk as he stumbles upon the mysteries behind a snuff film. Soon he's involved with increasingly bizarre characters who hang in the air like stale cigarette smoke. Fans of movie director David Lynch who aren't already tipped to Daniel Clowes's popular work should take note.

From Publishers Weekly

Clowes's ( The Official Lloyd Llewellyn Collection ) new book-length epic is eerily funny and just a bit disgusting. The title refers to a strikingly demented movie viewed by Clay, the story's hangdog, Clowes-like protagonist. No ordinary "art" film, its utter incomprehensibility sends our hero on a search to find out more about it. Every prosaic situation Clay encounters on his journey soon turns wildly fantastic. He meets a swami-like character dispensing wisdom from a men's room stall, is arrested by couple of sadistic but conscientious cops, and later still he meets Tina, a grotesque waitress with a heart of gold, whose mother tries to seduce him. Clowes's stream-of-warped-consciousness has produced a faux-existentialist, slapstick, sci-fi sitcom in comic book form. His drawings, a combination of skilled rendering and a campy 1950's graphic style, capture a risible procession of weirdos, aliens and conspiracy nuts and mark him as one of the most talented among the comics artists who emerged in the 1980s.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 7th ed. edition (January 17, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560971169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560971160
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came to Daniel Clowes after reading the relatively straight-forward "Ghost World." What awaited me in this book was one of the most disturbing and terrifying pieces of literature I have ever read. Clowes has that rare ability to create a plot that may not connect on a conscious level, but makes a strange and beautiful sort of sense on a subconscious level. Clowes' world view is very dark, and very lonely, but through this terrifying landscape comes the comfort that someone else has experienced the loneliness and desolation that is par for the course of our modern world. But regardless of the thematics and eerie undercurrent, the situations and settings are so incredible, and the writing so fast-paced, that you can't help but become absorbed in the narrative. Like all great art, it works on multiple levels. Only one word of warning, though: this book could cause depression. It's not for the faint of heart, and I wouldn't reccommend reading it in a bad mood.
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Format: Paperback
Worth it alone for the reactions I have gotten from people at school that I have shown this book to. But seriously, let's talk about the story...
Velvet Glove starts off normally enough-Clay Loudermilk, with nothing better to do, goes into a B-movie theatre, where he steps in icky stuff on the floor, tries to look unapproachable for the other patrons, and wonders why there is a line forming in the men's room. So he's watching this movie and feeling all disgusted with himself, and then the second feature comes on, a movie he's never seen before, a movie of the same title as the story. In this movie, which features no nudity or sex but is somehow just as sickening, a masked woman in a bondage outfit appears to behead two other people in the movie, one of whom kinda looks like Hitler and dresses in baby clothes. Then the woman in the bondage outfit removes her mask and turns out to be--Clay's ex-lover.
Clay's quest to find out what in the hell his old girlfriend was doing in that movie takes him on a surreal, psychotic voyage. On his way, he encounters a cult of nymphos bent on triggering the ultimate war of the sexes and an eccentric middle-age man who thinks a corporate logo holds the key to the origin of the universe.
Love Clowes' character images. Very snazzy faces. He can draw some disturbing and ugly images, too. Had to note the art somewhere.
Try to find this book or the issues of Eightball it is serialized in. It is worth the effort. If you do get the individual issues, be sure to get all of the first ten of Eightball so you get the complete story, because you need to down it all in one gulp. For the longest time you will plod through this book thinking something does not make sense or you'll wonder what that was doing in the story altogether.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what this story is about but it certainly held my attention. Its a nightmarish dreamscape with a stream of consciousness narrative. I've enjoyed watching Clowes evolve as an artist and a storyteller over the years. His artwork has become more sophisticated and less rigid. His stories are more complex and layered. And his characters are deeper and suffused with conflicted emotions/desires. "Like a Velvet Glove" seems like a bit of an experiment, a stage that he had to work through in order to elevate his storytelling. Still, its very compelling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes you find yourself living an unexpected life -- no longer sufficiently rooted (in people and places and things) to be able to exercise that faculty of constantly creating, 2 or 3 steps ahead of yourself, the road you're on and the days you inhabit, by virtue of pre-expectation. The world es exactly what you have always known it would be, and each step you have taken has only served to reinforce this... and then one day its all gone. And where do you live then, you? You live in the world, the unrooted, fleeting, ever-ambiguous world outside your head, and it is truly more strange and vivid than anything you ever imagined. And it has teeth...
This book will disturb your sleep for months. Tina, Foot-Foot, Clay, Laura the Dog, et al inhabit a neighboring counter-earth to the planet David Lynch hails from. Ther serial/chapter format, the mad accumulation of details and plot tangents, the little girl with the pipe... Creepy as hell. Harum Scarum indeed...
Wish everyone could have been there back when you had to wait 3-4 months between serial installments of this in Eightball. It was truly disturbing then.
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Format: Paperback
Like David Lynch's Eraserhead (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] -- the inspiration for which, when queried in interviews, he was fond of bluntly stating as "Philadelphia" -- the Chicago in-and-as-impinging-upon Daniel Clowes's psyche is a weird, paranoid, difficult to puzzle-though-and-understand land with a potato as your waitress.

But what art it is!

Who'd've guessed, early on in the narrative, that the swami guy in the Men's Bathroom of the adult theater turns out to be the *only* stable person poor hapless, helpess Clay (The Protagonist) can hope to rely on in his trip into an underworld that isn't very far away, really: just lurking around the next corner ... if you even *bothered* to go there ...

[SPOILER ALERT!]: Sure enough, when part of the "welcome to you, stranger!" revolutionary cult that incorporates poor Clay seems to be beholden to the same old, same old gender mores ("Men!" she fumes, being left behind in the car to "watch" for things), this becomes a crucial opening for Clay to amscray out the door, without which, he would have found no respite ... if not for that, poor fool, he's stuck!

Most empathizable-with lost and preterited anti-hero since Tyrone Slothrop in Gravity's Rainbow (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition). Perhaps? Maybe?

Right.

Sure.

Why not.
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