Friday 21 October 2011

CLowes' Mister Wonderful is a great read. A whole book describing the events of a single blind date. It took me a long time to warm to Clowes work as I never liked the gallery of grotesques in his early books like A velvet Glove cast in Iron. But from Ghost World on he has been a world class 'graphic novelist'. What bugs me now is that I didn't have the courage to make The Playwright a long horizontal book. I mean look at this; he's got two inches on me:

You see, I was so wishy-washy about the horizontalness of the art that I put padding at the top and bottom of the pages so I could try to slink around the walls of the ballroom without attracting too much attention.

Mister Wonderful is a gathering up of the serial that Clowes made for the New York Times when the venerable old lady was running a 'Funny Pages' section
The section has been criticized for being unfunny, sometimes nonsensical, and excessively highbrow; in a 2006 poll conducted by asking, "Do you now find — or have you ever found — The Funny Pages funny?", 92% of 1824 voters answered "No."
The Funny Pages are no longer published in the magazine.
Mister Wonderful was published a couple of months back by Pantheon. this month Drawn and Quarterly have gathered up his Death Ray (originally published as Eightball #23). he's talking about it at the AV Club:
AVC: How much research do you do to get a time period or a place right? Like in The Death-Ray, there’s a panel in which a character is holding a little photo-cube, which is such a perfect little ’70s décor detail.
DC: Often I’ll do research just to get a time period correct, but I didn’t have to for the ’70s. [Laughs.] That was sort of the height of my powers of observation, those years. I feel like I can close my eyes and still see it so clearly. And that was something I always wanted to do, to capture that later half of the ’70s. It’s like the early half of the ’70s is still the ’60s, in that there’s still kind of a playfulness and inventiveness in terms of design and the things that were going on in the culture. The second half, it got much more commodified. It’s possibly the ugliest era of architecture and clothes and design in the entire 20th century, from 1975 to ’81 or ’82. So I really wanted to capture that, because those were my formative years, and I feel like a lot of my aesthetic was in response to feeling the awfulness and cheapness of that. One of my weekend hobbies is to go look at old houses when there are open houses around here. Just to go look at the architecture. And you can see how many houses were built around 1977, the year where everyone said, “Let’s put in these aluminum windows instead of beautiful hand-made wood ones.”



Blogger Jeet Heer said...

Mr. Wonderful actually ties in with your earlier discussion of romance comics and Toth. Clowes has mentioned that in working on the story he looked at old romance comics as an inspiration for telling this sort of tale.

21 October 2011 at 21:25:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...


you know, because i sort of worked this post out in my head earlier it didn't even occur to me that this was Clowes doing ROMANCE.

that's serendipity, what!

21 October 2011 at 23:51:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

ps. I just remembered the Playwright is a romance too. duh.

22 October 2011 at 19:58:00 GMT-5  

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