I read this a few years ago and just recently managed to get my own copy, and I sat down and reread the most bizarre thing ever. Like seriously, I always feel patently uncomfortable after I read Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron, but I mean that in the best way because it’s a measure of how mind-blowing this comic is. And to think it’s by the guy who fucking did Ghost World.
The best way to describe this is basically to say it’s a David Lynch film in comic book form, and even that doesn’t completely cover it. A man’s journey to find his ex-wife after seeing her in a bizarre fetish movie in a porno theater, a journey fraught with Charles Manson stand-ins and a beloved corporate logo’s ties to forgotten history, the ending of this just makes you feel like you’ve had the wind taken out of your lungs, it’s that sort of “what the fuck just happened in the past 5 pages?” moment.
Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron is surreal without sacrificing classic linear storytelling, the best balance that you need for crazy artsy stuff like this and probably what makes Klowes stand out in the world of independent comics (beyond this and Ghost World, which I read once ages ago, I don’t know what else Clowes has done).
If you can find this, you definitely should get it, it’s the tipping point in getting your comic collection out of “conventional” and into “officially weird as fuck”. And I don’t mean that in a “oh I’ve read this I’m so goddamn hip” way, I mean that if you end up loving this like I do, it’ll probably make a lot of other stuff you’ve read and consider “groundbreaking” pale in comparison. I do suggest that you dedicate a good chunk of time to reading it because if you get distracted while reading you might get a bit lost. Trust me on this, ’cause I totally did at a point or two and had to go back a few pages to figure out what I missed.