I had a dream that someone introduced me to the original novels that the Bozo the Clown TV show were based on. The television show represented a significant departure from the novels.

The books were gritty and kinda noir. They were about a young wizard. The central conflict of the series was that there was an evil wizard who sensed young Bozo’s powers and wanted him for a successor. He would keep on trying to kill Bozo, presenting him with challenges that were always just a little tiny bit too tough for him to handle, so that Bozo would always have to grow his magical skills in order to defeat them. It was the nemesis’s idea that Bozo would have to become more powerful, but also more ruthless, in order to survive. He hoped that young Bozo would lose his moral compass and agree to join his campaign of evil.

In one novel, Bozo found that his mother had been killed, and he vowed to find out who was responsible and get revenge. In the end, Bozo found out that his mother had been killed by a magical trap that he himself had built, just to teach himself.

In another, the nemesis cast a magical poison on some of the milk at the supermarket. Bozo would have to cast a magic spell to find the poisoned milk. He didn’t have the power to neutralize the poison, but he could at least make sure that nobody bought it and died. The problem was that the nemesis had also sent an assassin after Bozo. The assassin was far too powerful for Bozo to defeat. If Bozo cast a spell, the assassin would certainly be able to locate him. He fretted about what to do for a long time, and then finally cast the spell. He found that he had waited too long and people had died from the poison already. The assassin arrived, and Bozo, weeping, convinced the assassin to help him instead of kill him. They linked their powers together and obliterated the poison from history, so that nobody had actually died from it.

BTW, in the dream, the word “Bozo” had no silliness connotations until the television show was made, and at the time that the novels were written, it was a word that sounded grave and magical.