I never thought of the Odyssey as a comic novel before, but it's starting to dawn on me that it is one. What?
Maybe it's because epics aren't often comedic -- even comic novels like Candide that cover long journeys and spans of time are so short and snappy that they can hardly be considered epics. Then again, epics aren't often intimate, but Beowulf will fight you in an alleyway. Anyway, when Clare says it's a "just a romp," she's absolutely right. I like to imagine Odysseus as just this dude who took a long time getting home and when people asked about it he told them about all the bad weather and the islands he'd seen and the people who had helped him, and they seemed bored and he kept talking and eventually it was this storm-swept adventure full of nubile maidens and one-eyed monsters.
(A thing that bothers me about the Odyssey is that I can't really seek out historical anecdotes about the author or the original manuscript, for obvious reasons. However, I'd like to point out that some guys with too much time took a debatable detail in the Odyssey and pinpointed the day the Odysseus returns home and kills all the suitors. For the record, it's April 16, 1178 BCE. We are totally having a party on April 16, and I'm gonna serve Odyssey-themed food. It's going to be the best thing that ever happened.)