Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Clarence Principle

The Clarence Principle
Writer: Fehed Said
Illustrator: Shari Chankhamma


Published 2007

First Sentence
"I was left behind in a dream I once had."

Publisher's Description:

Embark on a surreal voyage into an unconventional vision of the afterlife. Clarence wakes to the aftermath of his own suicide and a hidden message spawns his journey beyond. Follow Clarence's twisted tale, as he meets whimsical characters whose fates are destined to intertwine with his. The Clarence Principle is an astounding graphic novel by new talents Fehed Said and Shari Chankhamma.

Dear Reader,

Yes, yes, yes. I love the art, the dark comedic style, the quirky characters, and almost everything about this. This was quite some Graphic Novel, completely suited to my tastes. The Clarence Principle is a little bit Anime, slightly dark and mischievous, comical and cartoony with a handful of serious topics thrown in. The main character commits suicide (trust me, this is given to you RIGHT from the first page) and journeys to this dreamscape (a la Wonderland-esque). I love dark comical depictions done in a cartoony style, very Jhonen Vasquez (JtHM). If you don't know Jhonen Vasquez, please turn your eyes to this. I fell in love with his work on Johnny the Homicidal Maniac which then introduced me to the amazing Invader Zim and my obsession with that lovable dog/robot Gir. Bah, I miss all of that. Then I read this, and I remember everything I loved about all of that. Oh wait, I just realized this was published in 2007, which probably means that style I love so much as still "IN", and here I thought this was a comeback. Sad face.

The story definitely borrows from "Alice in Wonderland" and takes a very grim topic (suicide and dealing with death) but brings it into this strange dream-like world. Every question seems to be answered with a riddle or another question. The creatures and people (if you can call them that) are so far from the realm of plausibility, it makes you think really hard about what might be going on here. The story doesn't feel cheap, it doesn't seem cliche either. My only complaint would be with the ending, but I won't get into that for fear of spoilers.

As much as I liked the story of The Clarence Principle, the art goes beyond just liking it, I loved it. The black and white style worked really well with this one and didn't take away from it at all. I loved the cartoony skull faces, the anime human characteristics, the overly goofy clothing and gothic feel to everything. I could go on and on and on. So yes, this is perfect for me, which means I might be completely biased with this one. I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates a dark comedy, anime and/or that gothic comic style.

Happy Reading,

The Clarence Principle

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