. ,4 . 102 Denise Mina, Kathy Lette
- ‘105 The Last Laugh, Alias
106 Andrew W.K., The Cranberries
a, 109 This Is Football 2002
109 Pearl Harbor, The Dish
1 1O Liza Tarbuck, Kathy Burke
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DANlEL CLOWES Eightball (Fantagraphics Books) 00000
t’s official, Ghost World is the cult hit film of
the year. What’s more, the comic strip by
Daniel Clowes that it’s based on is officially cool, too. So, all those too aware of their street cred to pick up a comic can read it without fear of the G word (geek). However, Clowes didn’t just magic up a graphic novel out of nowhere for the film adaptation; you’re only half cool, Mr Luke Warm, if you don’t know where Ghost World came from.
It came from the pages of Eightball, the anthology comic Clowes began writing and illustrating way back in 1989. Issue 21 has been out since February this year and finishes the serialised tale of ‘David Boring’. With Clowes’ script-writing and film promotion duties done, issue 22 has been a long-time coming, but it’ll be here by the end of the year - and in full colour too. Meanwhile, busy yourself picking up back issues of Clowes’ marvellously freakish title (they’re available through its publisher
Fantagraphics - www.fantagraphics.com - as well as specialist comic outlets). Clowes’ work has also been repackaged in a number of volumes, most recently the aforementioned David Boring and Caricature, a tangentially autobiographical tale about a cartoonist.
Busy yourself with back
issues of Clowes’ marvellously freakish title, Eightball
In fact, autobiography is at the centre of Clowes’ comics. He’s admitted, for example, that he mercilessly used and abused for his own ends the protagonists of Ghost World, a pair of angsty high school graduate girls, by giving voice to his own frustrations and neurosese through their dialogue. And you’ll find Clowes caricatures himself in his strips from time to time.
It’s this warped autobiographical element
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1 12 Funky furnishings
_. 1 14 Jerusalem artichoke soup
1 16 Mardi Gras in New Orleans
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J which marks out Clowes’ work from the kind of mainstream comics associated with the G word. Clowes, in fact, continues the proud tradition of underground ‘comix’, the most famous - perhaps that should be infamous - originator of which is Robert Crumb (this explains Terry Zwigoff’s involvement in the Ghost World movie - he also directed a documentary about Crumb). Yet, as relatively mature as Clowes’ comics are (the accent is usually on disturbed psyches), they also retain a playful sense of absurdity, which, you might argue, is something comics do best. In Clowes‘ first serialised novel, Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron, its protagonist is strangely obsessed with tracking down the obscure porn film which give the tale its title. He gets his first break by consulting an Indian guru who sits not atop a mountain, but dispenses wisdom from a men’s room covered in graffiti. If Groucho Marx and Franz Kakfa collaborated on comics, this is what they’d be like. (Miles Fielder)
"‘ .‘x‘ ‘THE LIST 101