Daniel Clowes Reader
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Comics, Kudos, Most Visited, Read-outs

clowes reader

Back in 2010, I mentioned that my 1999 Hermenaut interview with cartoonist Daniel Clowes had been collected in Daniel Clowes: Conversations, an installment in the University Press of Mississippi’s Conversations with Comics Artists series. Ken Parille, editor of that volume, has a great new book out this month: Fantagraphics’ The Daniel Clowes Reader, a critical edition of Clowes’ Ghost World and over a dozen favorite Clowes stories — including “Blue Italian Shit,” “Like a Weed, Joe,” “Art School Confidential,” “The Party,” “Buddy Bradley in Who Would You Rather…?,” “Ugly Girls,” and “King Ego.” The great Eric Reynolds is the project editor for Fantagraphics; the 360-pp., full-color book is terrific!

clowes terror card

My Clowes interview — now being touted as “Clowes’s definitive discussion of Ghost World” (!) — appears in the volume. I’ve also written a new essay for the Reader. “Against Groovy” locates Clowes as a thinker and writer within a specific generational context: the Original Generation X, key members of which embrace anti-boomer ferocity, anti-hipsterism, apocalyptic fantasy, and trashy messianism.

Other essays in the book: Ken Parille’s “An Aesthetic Biography of Daniel Clowes,” Pamela Thurschwell’s “The Ghost Worlds of Modern Adolescence,” Adele Melander-Dayton’s “How Ghost World Made Me Brave,” Kaya Oakes’ “Literature at the Xerox Machine,” Parille’s “‘Me Worry?’/‘U BUY’,” Scott Saul’s “‘Etc., Etc.’: The Post-Punk Ballad of Rodger Young,” Anne Mallory and Parille’s “Clowes’s Romanticism and the Urban Aesthetics of Ugly (1986–1998),” and Parille’s “Decoding ‘Black Nylon’.”

garfield goose

The Daniel Clowes Reader also includes: over twenty other Clowes interviews; a Ghost World index of key words, phrases, themes, and objects; a glossary of terms related to comics, cartooning, and graphic novels; a chronology of Clowes’s life and career; introductions and annotations for the comics; poems; cartoons; lyrics; and excerpts from Gilmore Tamny’s zine Wiglet. A cornucopia!

Check out the book’s tumblr here.

PS: In 2002, I interviewed Clowes again, for a never-written Boston Globe story. The interview is here.



Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based semiotic culture and brand analyst. He is editor/publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age science fiction imprint HILOBOOKS. In addition, Josh is co-author of several books, including (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY, the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS, and (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen) the family activities guides UNBORED, UNBORED GAMES, and the forthcoming UNBORED ADVENTURE. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT.