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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ice Haven - yet another Clowes classic
A beautiful book. With its landscape-oriented hardback format, glossy full-colour cover, different sepia and pastel tinted pages behind the panels throughout, and, amongst other styles, charming 1940s/50s comic strip type art, Ice Haven feels instantly like a publication from the past, a cherished childhood comic strip annual rescued from a box in the attic. Straight...
Published 2 months ago by Herod

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, but too short
Ice Haven was an intriguing read. I'm familiar with the Leopold & Loeb murder case, along with the stage play "Rope" and the Hitchcock movie of the same name. It's rich material to work with and Clowes has taken it to strange and interesting new places.

You'd think that the dark, sobering subject matter and the bright cartoonish visuals would clash - but they...
Published on 28 Jan 2010 by Rusty


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, but too short, 28 Jan 2010
By 
Rusty (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
Ice Haven was an intriguing read. I'm familiar with the Leopold & Loeb murder case, along with the stage play "Rope" and the Hitchcock movie of the same name. It's rich material to work with and Clowes has taken it to strange and interesting new places.

You'd think that the dark, sobering subject matter and the bright cartoonish visuals would clash - but they really don't. They make a great statement about the happy, shiny veneer of American suburbia and the hollow despair that often lies beneath.

As for the story... I think it's better than "Ghost World", albeit in a totally different way. The short, episodic structure works well, focusing on individual characters who thread in and out of each other's lives. The narrative is subtle, even though it jumps around a lot and most of the dialogue is either deftly realistic or intelligently overblown.

But I do have a few criticisms to finish up with...

1.) The David Goldberg kidnap case fizzles out into obscurity. Yes, we are given vague hints as to what may or may not have happened, but this was the chief undercurrent of the story and I feel it deserved more attention towards the end.

2.) Characters like Julie Patheticstein and Kim Lee entered this tale late and didn't bring much to the table. They took up space just when core characters like Wilder and Mr. Ames needed a little bit more space to breathe.

3.) Rocky the caveman and the Blue Bunny were interesting but extraneous. They felt like extra padding in a slim story that didn't need any.

4.) On the subject of slim: I think this book could and probably should have been twice as long. Fair enough, it came from a single issue of the author's "Eightball" comic - but if a book of this sort gets a chance to be redesigned, remarketed and resold as a hardback, isn't it the perfect excuse to revisit and expand the storyline? Rather than produce a more expensive copy of an already-available piece of work?

5.) Finally, the closing pages at the end where "Harry Naybors Explains Everything" felt a bit conceited to me. Too much intrusion from Daniel Clowes, who had remained beautifully aloof up until this point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ice Haven - yet another Clowes classic, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
A beautiful book. With its landscape-oriented hardback format, glossy full-colour cover, different sepia and pastel tinted pages behind the panels throughout, and, amongst other styles, charming 1940s/50s comic strip type art, Ice Haven feels instantly like a publication from the past, a cherished childhood comic strip annual rescued from a box in the attic. Straight away, this adds to the sense of nostalgia and wistfulness that one gets from the actual content.

Ice Haven is a lovingly-crafted, somewhat romantic portrayal of a quiet midwestern town and the people who live there. It's a peep beyond the white picket fence and twitching curtains of smalltown, suburban life, and actually, there are a lot of similarities with David Lynch's work to be found, minus the disturbingly graphic psychosexual violence of, say, 'Blue Velvet'.

Although the main narrative thread concerns a child abduction, which in itself is influenced by the real-life Leopold and Loeb child murder, Clowes simply uses this as a backdrop on which to pin the various characters he explores and we are treated to a wonderful series of short, interwoven vignettes, glimpses into the dysfunctional lives of the inhabitants of Ice Haven. All in all, it's classic Clowes - a cast of misfits and outsiders, their lives touched with a vague sense of ennui, loneliness and nostalgia, alienation and missed opportunity, bitterness and regret, apathy and empathy and everything inbetween, and it's all explored with the usual wit, humour, subtlety and sensitivity that we've come to expect and which sets Clowes' work apart from the pack. I've read it twice now and look forward to many more readings in the future. This is yet another work of genius from Mr. Clowes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Little Corner of The World, 10 April 2008
This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
Although not as overtly ambitious as the cinematic "David Boring", or as emotionally intimate as "Ghost World", "Ice Haven" is still as rich and unique as Clowes' two best known works. In form it resembles a less profane and (relatively) more stable version of his "Eightball" comics, as the books shifts focus from character to character in the suburban neighbourhood of "Ice Haven". Like "Eightball" Clowes not only imbues each of his characters not only with their own voices, but on occasion with their own art style, which range from the Clowes' usual blank, distant and beautiful drawings to an overtly cartoonish look. The various storylines and lives do not so much collide as they do pass each other by, and whilst the main storyline concerns the kidnap of young David Goldberg, Clowes is more keen to inhabit the minds of his characters, and even give us some insight into the history of his fictitious town. Clowes is very much of the "show-don't-tell" school of storytelling, and sometimes the biggest plot developments occur in a tiny line of dialogue, or in the white margins between the panels.

It is not a comic that will be to everyone's fancy, and people may have trouble with Clowes' unremmittingly detached storytelling, but for those who are Clowes fans, or are looking for a comic book with a difference, "Ice Haven" is certainly worth a visit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to savour and to read and re-read, 4 April 2014
This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
This is a book to savour and to read and re-read.

In my first reading not much seemed to be happening, but gradually I found myself pulled in deeper and deeper as the series of vignettes progressed. At first impression these ordinary individuals from the small town of Ice Haven appear relatively innocuous and uncomplicated, but, like apparently ordinary individuals just about anywhere, inwardly they seethe with myriad emotions and ambitions. The skill of the creator is shown in how he draws you into this world and enables you to find something new to savour with each further reading.

Here you meet people such as undiscovered poet extraordinaire Random Wilder, hardbitten gumshoe with a core of vulnerability Joe Ames, children such as love-smitten Charles, disturbed Carmichael, rabbit-hugger George and silent Daniel, young adults such as ignored writer Vida, desperate romantic Violet and cynical Kim.

Ice Haven is a town where nothing ever happens, or does it? Another remarkable creation by Daniel Clowes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alone and unheard, 25 April 2012
By 
Jack Heslop - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
Ice Haven is a dark story about the residents of a small town. Their lives are framed by the kidnap of shy child David Goldberg. There's also a narrator, Random Wilder, a middle-aged poet who resents the success of his neighbour's poems. Wilder is fascinating. His actions, though terrible, are motivated not by greed or sadism but despair. They're those of a desperate high schooler. Struggling writers, though not capable of doing what he does, might sympathise with him. He's pretentious and desensitised, but also alone. He'd have felt at home in Todd Solondz's film Happiness (which Clowes designed the poster for). His tragedy is that he's never matured as a writer or person, though the last scene is weirdly hopeful: someone has heard him.
Like a lot of Clowes' stories Ice Haven is focused on dialogue rather than action. Important events aren't shown so much as glimpsed through conversation and inner monologue.
Characters are given their own comic strips with title panels, a neat device which emphasises their isolation. The way they behave in their strips differs from how they do in each others'. Two standalone strips follow Rocky the Caveman, who discovers Ice Haven, and Blue Bunny, a psychotic soft toy. Both are bizarre diversions and don't impact the story they interrupt, but Rocky underlines its postmodern themes. Blue Bunny I think of as comic relief, like the night porter in Macbeth. I can't imagine why else he's here.
Some characters seem parodic. For instance, Mr. Ames resembles the angry and distant sleuth so often seen in pulp fiction. Meanwhile Julie Patheticstein, who works at a stationary store, has a name which says it all.
Ice Haven might baffle and disturb those not familiar with Clowes. It's not an uplifting or cathartic comic book. But it is brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 15 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
A fantastic comic book by all standards. One of my absolute favorites. Incredible artwork, a great and varied story line & very interesting characters. This book made me order all of Clowes' other books as well. Absolutely stunning. Can't recommend it enough!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Complex character analysis, 10 Sep 2009
By 
P. A. Nethercott (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
I thought this a brilliant character study. Well worth reading- a few times if you missed salient points the first time.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and uninteresting in equal parts, 17 Aug 2012
By 
Bob Sherunkle (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Haven (Hardcover)
A very odd book, and I'm saying that as a fan of R Crumb.

Visually, Ice Haven is a self-contained, too-perfect small town (think Truman Show or Pleasantville), the home of several more or less dysfunctional characters lacking in empathy. The narrator, himself one of the characters, is Harry Naybors, "comic book critic". The town has a distinct literary bias, with authors such as Random Wilder (writer's block), Mrs Wentz and her daughter Vida. The story ,if there is one, is the disappearance of a boy, David Goldberg (who looks disturbingly like Bobby in King of the Hill), and the resolution of this. Characters drift in and out, usually with some relation to the plot, e.g. a husband- and-wife detective team and, disturbingly, the real Leopold and Loeb (because child-murderers). Others have a looser link to the action, and are mainly concerned with working out their own hang-ups.

I read through to the end to find out if it got better, but for me it didn't. There is lots of surrealism but no humour. If you are a devotee of Ghost World (which I don't know, whether in book form or on film) you will probably be interested. At the end, Harry Naybors summarises Clowes' work, and says: "I encourage you to seek out the author's many other works. They can be very helpful in putting into context the present document." Harry, thanks but no thanks; I'll pass.
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Ice Haven
Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes (Hardcover - 14 July 2005)
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