Daniel Clowes- The True Mr. Wonderful

Book: The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist
Reviewed by: Grace

I would just like to start by saying I am in love with Daniel Clowes. I’ve come to terms with it. Sincerely, the man is perfect. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist and you’ll soon realize just how many people are crushing on him (and with good reason).

Clowes has worn many hats, and they’ve all looked damn good. He is most notably the creator of Ghost World, which began as a comic, was later published as a graphic novel, and then adapted into a film. All of which are fantastic and will make your life better for experiencing- like so much of Clowes’s work. The Modern Cartoonist opens with an amazing interview conducted by LA journalist Kristine McKenna. McKenna and Clowes discuss the most intimate details of his existence, from his first known memory to his favorite writer (Nabokov- of course!) and the lifelong development of his unmistakable style. Clowes recalls his bizarre childhood with such matter-of-factness you quickly get that warm collective feeling we’re all strange- an ever present theme of his work. And like all great artists Clowes recalls feelings of inadequacy, wanting to draw like R. Crumb but claiming he knew he wasn’t talented enough. His own style was really him giving up on being any good. Thank God for that.

Everyone who contributed to this book gushes over Clowes. Whether it’s his impeccable line work, or profoundly tragic characters- the consensus is Daniel Clowes a genius. By far the most heartwarming of these has to be “Who’s afraid of Daniel Clowes?,” a true proclamation of love if I’ve ever seen one. Chris Ware, creator of Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Kid on Earth (who started as a cartoonist for The Daily Texan!)authors this thoughtful section. Ware recalls living in Chicago, just a college kid at the time, hanging out with Daniel Clowes with a slew of other notables including Terry LaBan, Archer Prewitt, and Gary Leib!  He tenderly describes the self consciousness Clowes has always evoked in his contemporaries. Ware writes, that “sense of ‘somebody actually drew that?’ sums up the experience.” I feel exactly that every time I open Eightball, constantly in awe of his greatness.

This book is fantastic, I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s chock full of gold. There are hundreds of Clowes’s drawings, original comic pages, some pretty amazing photos of his studio and extensive collection of all things kitsch. It is well composed, the articles are witty, and chronicles Clowes impressive career.  Go look at it. Now.

Joey Ramone loves Daniel Clowes!

And just because this makes me so very happy…

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