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Daniel Clowes Books In Order

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Publication Order of Graphic Novels

Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Manly World of Lloyd Llewellyn (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Eightball Postcards (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ghost World (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pussey! (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orgy Bound (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lout Rampage! (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Caricature (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Creeps (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
David Boring (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twentieth Century Eightball (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Scorched Art (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ice Haven (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Art School Confidential (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wilson (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mister Wonderful (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Death Ray (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Patience (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Monica (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

#$@&! (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Complete Eightball 1-18 (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Mad Playboy of Art (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Big Fat Little Lit(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stuck in the Middle(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon

Daniel Clowes is an American cartoonist, illustrator, graphic-novelist and screenwriter. Known for his acerbic wit and biting satire, he offers a wry cynical perspective on themes of alienation and disaffection. From his early days at Cracked to writing Eightball throughout the nineties, he’s come far in developing his highly distinctive style.

Adapting his own graphic-novels, notably ‘Ghost World’ and ‘Art School Confidential’, he’s also worked in film. Whilst the latter maybe wasn’t so well received, the former is regarded as an influential cult classic. Alongside collaborating with the director Terry Zwigoff in adapting his voice cinematically, he’s also helped to popularize the term ‘graphic-novel’.

Early and Personal Life

Coming from Chicago, Illinois, Daniel Clowes was born on the 14th of April, 1961, to a furniture craftsman father and an auto-mechanic mother. Whilst he was Jewish on his mother’s side, he had an entirely non-religious upbringing. His father, on the other hand, came from a ‘reserved WASPish Pennsylvania’ family.

Attending the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools he then finished high-school in 1979. Going on to the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, he graduated with a BFA in 1984. Both prestigious institutions, he would later return to his education as a source of inspiration for satirical graphic-novels such as ‘Art School Confidential’.

First appearing in Cracked in 1985, he made his debut working there under different pseudonyms until 1989. Then, in 1986, he began working with Fantagraphics following the submission of his Lloyd Llewellyn comic. This led to his own series with Eightball, which ran from 1989 to 2004 for twenty issues.

Following a health crisis he was soon back creating comics and screenplays throughout the ’00s. Respected by other authors he’s made contributions too, such as Zadie Smith’s 2008 ‘Book of Other People’. Living in Oakland, California with his wife Erika and their son Charlie, he’s just released the graphic-novel ‘Patience’.

Writing Career

The first comics published were his Lloyd Llewellyn series, running from 1986 to 1987, with a special in 1988. Following this in 1993, he released his first graphic-novel ‘Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron’. Both show his preoccupation with the kitsch and grotesque, the latter employing a dream-like narrative.

Receiving awards and nominations, he’s become one of the most critically acclaimed authors working today. Included are the prestigious Harvey and Eisner awards, both for various works between 1997 and 2011. His screenplays have also won high profile awards, notably for his film Ghost World, which won the AFI Award.

Working with the director Terry Zwigoff, he’s produced many independent features. He was later subject to plagiarism after actor Shia LaBeouf filmed a short film using one of his stories. His designs were also used on the short-lived cult product ‘OK Soda’; an early nineties Generation X inspired Coca Cola brand.

Recently he has just brought out his graphic-novel ‘Patience’. This, for many, has been well worth the wait, as he continues to tour visiting bookshops and giving readings. Maturing thematically, he’s shifted his focus to ageing and what masculinity means growing older, something which he continues to this present day.

Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron

Collating the first ten chapters of his Eightball series, this was to be his debut graphic-novel. Brought out through the Fantagraphics label in 1993, it marked the beginning of his career as a novelist. Told through a dream-like narrative, it exemplifies his early fascination with kitsch and Lynchian like structures.

Following the perspective of Clay Loudermilk, he tries to find his estranged wife Barbara Allen. Atypical of the Clowes style, it casts him as a somewhat alienated individual, seen here trying to make sense of a nightmarish surreal landscape. The other characters seem to merely drift into his story along the way. On this path Clay is taken through many increasingly bizarre and hallucinatory experiences. Watching a BDSM film in a cinema for reasons unknown even to him, he sees a pornographic film starring his wife as a dominatrix. Then, travelling down the rabbit hole, he meets a cast of colorful characters. Using dream logic, it was inspired by his own dreams and a recurring one his ex-wife had. Never quite sure what’s real, it utilizes psychedelic imagery to convey a sense of absurdity about the world. Whilst distancing some readers, it also works in drawing them in with its intimate almost confessional style. It also provides the ideal starting point for anybody looking to explore Clowes further, showing him at his then most raw.

Inspiring a soundtrack album, this novel has itself become part of the pop-culture that Clowes venerated. He later wrote a fictionalized account of its film adaptation, whereby it turns into a crassly commercialized flop. Whilst this was definitely not the case in reality, it offers an interesting footnote in who he became as a successful and influential author and screenwriter.

Ghost World

Probably the work for which he’s best known, this also helped to popularize the term ‘graphic-novel’ as a concept. Making up the issues 11 through to 18 of his Eightball series, this was all the Ghost World chapters collected together. Published under the Fantagraphics label in 1997, it was later made into the 2001 film.

Telling the story of Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer, it captures the pangs of adolescence seeing them reaching adulthood. Both eighteen years of age having just graduated high-school, they’re both at a crossroads in life. Just as much of a character is that of their surroundings, making up the title of the story. Friends for all their life, these girls find themselves facing an indifferent world. Armed with their cynicism they seek to make fun of everything, whilst simultaneously searching for their own place within it all. Bringing up themes of alienation and the outsider, it shows Enid considering art school, but finds that this also may not be for her. Drawing comparisons to Catcher in the Rye, it follows in a rich tradition of coming-of-age comedy dramas. Using dry deadpan humor, it conveys what it is to have that adolescent bubble burst and find some direction. Doing this wryly similar to that of Salinger, the direction may sometimes also be about compromise. Their friendship is also key, in that it wanes gradually over the the book’s duration, with the two drifting apart.

Like before, it establishes its own place within modern pop-culture, managing to be both inspired and idiosyncratic in equal measure. Viewing a Daniel Clowes piece, readers can easily identify his unique style. Ghost World is no exception, as it sets his status as an essential author in both his field and at large, cementing his legacy for years to come.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Daniel Clowes

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