Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes
Clowes's 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.