About 10 years ago my friend Jonas let me borrow a book that feels like a dream to me now – it was a rare, out-of-print edition of Chester Brown’s Ed the Happy Clown. I read it in disbelief of it’s sheer creativity – the experience of reading this surrealist & largely improvised masterpiece made me feel like the luckiest reader in the whole world. I couldn’t give it back– I held on to it. For weeks. Then months. Finally Jonas was like, “give back the Ed the Happy Clown already”– But it was gone. I don’t know where it went.
Around the same time, the author, Chester Brown, who kept pulling versions out of print with new versions, finally took every version off the market — and all at once it seemed every version of Ed the Happy Clown had gone missing. You couldn’t find it or buy it anywhere. I was like, “Jonas, it’s not my fault it disappeared – Chester doesn’t want it out there.”
But as of a couple years ago, it is back on the market (a version of it). And Jonas re-bought it and needless to say, I’m not even allowed in the same room with it. But, even though I have not set eyes on it for over 10 years, I think of it more than I should–This is probably the most memorable moment – when, during a sexual encounter with a female vampire, Ed realizes the head of his penis is replaced with the head of Ronald Regan. But what was remarkable about this absurdity is the way in which Chester Brown somehow wraps it up at the end to make it deep and monumental. At least in the version I remember reading.