Fans of Eightball, Ghost World, Wilson, The Death-Ray, and so on: Daniel Clowes has his first museum show at the Oakland Museum of California this April 14 through August 12. Marvel at the technical artistry and storytelling prowess of one of the greatest comic book artists of all time. It's not hyperbole if it's true! Photos here.
Will Clowes' rich storytelling abilities come through in a gallery-setting art show? I'm not sure. Comic-book art tends to wow me on the page, where I can enjoy not only the lines, shadings and colors, but also the background perspectives, dialogue bubbles, narrative boxes with their fine, even lettering, plus the page-turning qualities of the storytelling. Looking at illustrations on a wall is an entirely different concept. Still, the monograph, The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, was compiled with his complete cooperation, according to the Museum site, so that's a good sign.
Dan takes the NY Times on a tour of his neighborhood columbarium in Oakland here. If you've never visited The Chapel of the Chimes, you really should go. They host jazz nights there. There's all kinds of happenings going on at the Chapel of the Chimes. It's a lively place, despite being a columberium. The Annual Summer Solstice Concert is something you will not soon forget.
"Nostalgia and Paranoia" - a 2002 documentary on Daniel Clowes.
Years ago I encountered Dan Clowes at a book signing. I had brought my copy of Eightball along and when I got up to the table, I admitted I couldn't decide where I wanted him to sign it—on the panel of a stand-in of himself, sitting at the back of a bookstore of a sparsely attended book signing while his protagonist, Enid Coleslaw, cowers in the shadows at the leering sight of him—or on the forehead of a bald, possible Satan worshiper that Enid secretly stalks through the streets of a Berkeley-like city.
"Well," said Daniel, fixing me with his laser eyes like a cobra on a rodent. "DECIDE!"
Instantly I ascertained that Daniel Clowes did not like me. Not at all. And I wasn't too sure I liked him either. I pointed to the dome of the Satan worshiper, where he signed his name very nicely. Then I scooted away quickly, without looking back—much like Enid Coleslaw herself. What a moment!
Here's a fresh-faced Dan Clowes interview from 1991 (at 3:10), talking about his early influences and Eightball. Back in the early 90s, Dan was the man. He still is. Kudos!
"Ghost World" trailer, from the screenplay written by Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff. This is perhaps the best trailer (of a damn fine film) made in the past two decades. A rare coming-of-age movie about girls worth watching.
"Art School Confidential," the second collaboration between Zwigoff and Clowes, made decent hash of the bullshit inherent in an art school education, but lost me on the noir aspects of the plot. Still—John Malkovhich! Always worth a look-see. Definitely get your hands on the comic, acerbic satire of the highest caliber.
Do yourself a favor. Go to your local comic book store and buy a bunch of Daniel Clowes books. Keep the economy running while enhancing your existence. A panel from Ghost World.