Best 1986 Adventures (10)
February 21, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1986 adventure novels.
Chester Brown‘s picaresque graphic novel Ed the Happy Clown (serialized 1986–1989).
Chet, a janitor, loses his hand. Ed the Happy Clown, having just been punched in the face by a punk rocker, finds the hand under his pillow; he’s arrested, and his head is shaved. A man who can’t stop defecating causes the jail to burst open, and Ed escapes. Chet’s religious mania leads him to murder his sexy lover, Josie; Ed is beaten up by the punk, again, and abandoned in the woods… near Josie’s body. Ooga-booga-speaking pygmies, who live in the sewer system, retrieve both bodies (for food), at which point they discover that the tip of Ed’s penis has been replaced by the head of Ronald Reagan. As they prepared to sever Ed’s penis, Josie comes back from the dead and rescues him; via a flashback, we learn that she has become a vampire! Back in Dimension X, it turns out that scientists have been pouring fecal matter through a dimensional hole… which, as we know, led to the shitting man’s asshole. But then (their) Reagan falls into the fecal matter, which is how his head ends up on Ed’s penis. Ed and Josie escape from a laboratory and take it on the lam…. A bizarre, hilarious, vile adventure.
Fun facts: Ed the Happy Clown began in 1982, as an experiment in spontaneous creation; there was no script.In 1983, Brown began self-publishing the strip in his Yummy Fur minicomic. In 1986–1987, Vortex comics reprinted the seven issues of Yummy Fur, at which point Brown began to think of Ed the Happy Clown as a graphic novel. Drawn & Quarterly published a definitive, annotated edition in 2012.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.