Re/Read: The Daniel Clowes Reader

Re/Read is a regular feature by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery curator Larry Reid looking back at books you may have missed or merit more attention. With the pending release of his feature film Wilson, it’s a good time to revisit The Daniel Clowes Reader.

Daniel Clowes needs no introduction. He’s one of the founders and driving forces of the alternative comix movement. The Daniel Clowes Reader is a critical collection of stories, essays. interviews, and annotations edited by Ken Parille. A chronology of the artist’s early influences and seminal work is followed the complete Ghost World collection, including an in-depth analysis of the symbolism, aesthetics, literary references, and social implications of the story.

Another highlight of the book is the inclusion of “Art School Confidential” from Eightball #7. In an interview I conducted with Clowes in the April 2001 issue of Juxtapoz art journal, Clowes discussed the extraordinary resonance of this story. “It was definitely autobiographical,” he explained. “I drew it mostly for the amusement of my friends, but I soon found out that every single reader of Eightball went to art school and they were all convinced it was about them.” The book is also noted for the inclusion of his fictional story of irascible film critic “Justin M. Damiano.” This seldom seen comic gained global notoriety when actor when Shia Labeouf adapted the story to film without permission.

The Daniel Clowes Reader is an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in the enduring influence of this amazing artist. An extensive selection of comix by Clowes and his contemporaries is available at Fantagraphics Bookstore, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle’s colorful Georgetown art community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Please note new phone number: 206-557-4910.