At long last: Daniel Clowes is back at Pantheon, with a brilliant new graphic novel already hailed by Time as "another of his hilariously slightly off-center worlds that have a vague sense of dread about them. Kind of like where you live."
Welcome to Ice Haven! "It's not as cold here as it sounds," declares Random Wilder, our reluctant guide to this sleepy Midwestern town. He's also its would-be poet laureate. Would-be, that is, were it not for the "Florid banalities" of his archrival, Ida Wentz, published ad nauseam in the Ice Haven Daily Progress. Among Wilder's other fellow Ice Havians are the lovelorn Violet Van der Plazt and Vida Wentz; the detective team of Mr. and Mrs. Ames; the adorable interracial moppets Carmichael and Paula; disaffected stationery salesgirl Julie Patheticstein; the Blue Bunny, newly sprung from prison and the bitterest rabbit in town; and poor little David Goldberg, missing for more than a week now...
While Dan Clowes has gotten a nod from the mainstream - an Oscar nomination for the screen adaptation of Ghost World - his work remains wonderfully idiosyncratic and imaginative. The lives of the men and women of Ice Haven are woven into a multi-layered tale that, while it owes a debt to Our Town, is ultimately based on and inspired by...Leopold and Loeb. No kidding.
Only Daniel Clowes could do it and, luckily for us, he has.