Books

Patience

Daniel Clowes

Patience is an indescribable psychedelic science-fiction love story, veering with uncanny precision from violent destruction to deeply personal tenderness in a way that is both quintessentially ‘Clowesian’, and utterly unique in the author’s body of work. This 180-page, full-colour story affords Clowes the opportunity to draw some of the most exuberant and breathtaking pages of his life, and to tell his most suspenseful, surprising and affecting story yet.

The story opens in 2012, when Jack Barlow returns home to find Patience, his pregnant girlfriend, murdered. We meet him next in 2029, still haunted by the murder. He hears of a guy who thinks he’s invented a device that enables time travel. On the next page Jack is in 2006, watching Patience on her dates with boys. Is one of them the killer?

The Death Ray

Daniel Clowes

The Death Ray is the story of teen outcast Andy, an orphaned nobody with only one friend, the obnoxious-but-loyal Louie. They roam school halls and city streets, invisible to everyone but bullies and tormentors, until the glorious day when Andy takes his first puff on a cigarette. That night he wakes, heart pounding, soaked in sweat, and finds himself suddenly overcome with the peculiar notion that he can do anything. Indeed, he can and as he learns the extent of his new powers, he discovers a terrible and seductive gadget - a hideous compliment to his seething rage - that forever changes everything.

The Death-Ray utilizes the classic staples of the superhero genre - origin, costume, ray-gun, sidekick, fight scene - reconfiguring them in a story that is anything but morally simplistic. With subtle comedy, deft mastery and an obvious affection for the bold Pop Art exuberance of comic book design, Daniel Clowes delivers a contemporary meditation on the darkness of the human psyche.

Mister Wonderful

Daniel Clowes

Shortlisted in the 2012 Angoulême Official Selection

Meet Marshall. Sitting alone in the local coffee place. He's been set up by his friend Tim on a blind date with someone named Natalie, and now he's just feeling set up. She's nine minutes late and counting. Who was he kidding anyway? Divorced, middle-aged, newly unemployed, with next to no prospects, Marshall isn't exactly what you'd call a catch. Twenty minutes pass. A half hour. Marshall orders a scotch. (He wasn't going to drink!) Forty minutes. Then, after nearly an hour, when he's long since given up hope, Natalie appears - breathless, apologising profusely that she went to the wrong place. She takes a seat, to Marshall's utter amazement.

She's too good to be true: attractive, young, intelligent, and she seems to be seriously engaged with what Marshall has to say. There has to be a catch. And, of course, there is.

During the extremely long night that follows, Marshall and Natalie are emotionally tested in ways that two people who just met really should not be. Not, at least, if they want the prospect of a second date. A captivating, bittersweet, and hilarious look at the potential for human connection in an increasingly hopeless world, Mister Wonderful more than lives up to its name.

Wilson

Daniel Clowes

Meet Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and quite possibly no one else. In an ongoing quest to find human connection, he badgers friends and strangers alike into a series of one-sided conversations, punctuating his own lofty discursions with a brutally honest, self-negating sense of humour. After his father dies, Wilson, now irrevocably alone, sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption. Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family - a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire.In his first all-new graphic novel, one of the leading cartoonists of our time, Daniel Clowes, creates a thoroughly engaging, complex and fascinating character study of the modern egotist - outspoken and oblivious to the world around him.

Working in a single-page gag format and drawn in a spectrum of styles, the cartoonist of Ghost World, Ice Haven and David Boring gives us his funniest and most deeply affecting novel to date.

Ice Haven

Daniel Clowes

Welcome to Ice Haven! 'It's not as cold here as it sounds.' So declares Random Wilder, the town's would-be poet laureate. Would be, that is, were it not for the 'florid banalities' of arch-rival poet Ida Wentz, whom the Ice Haven Daily Progress continues to publish 'ad nauseam'. Random is our ersatz guide to the sleepy midwestern hamlet, and just one of many characters we meet in this ingenious novel told in the form of short comic strip instalments - a form that Time magazine regarded as reminiscent of Robert Altman.

In addition to Wilder, we meet a captivating cast of characters. There are the lovelorn lovelies Violet Van der Platz and Vida Wentz, the detective team of Mr and Mrs Ames, those adorable interracial moppets Carmichael and Paula, and the disaffected stationery salesgirl Julie Patheticstein, just to mention a few. Along with the Blue Bunny, the bitterest rabbit in town, fresh-sprung from prison and ready to wreck havoc: 'I paid my dues! It's all about ME this time!!'

And lest we forget: poor little David Goldberg, who's been missing for over a week now...

All of this blends together seemlessly to weave a fascinating, multi-layered tale that is ultimately based on and inspired by - wait for it - Leopold and Loeb.

David Boring

Daniel Clowes

Terry Zwigoff's movie of Daniel Clowes' extraordinary graphic novel Ghost World has brought Clowes hordes of new readers. Every one of them will be eagerly awaiting the adventures of Clowes' new hero: David Boring, a nineteen-year-old security guard with a tortured inner life and an obsessive nature.

When he meets the girl of his dreams, things begin to go awry: what seems too good to be true apparently is, and what seems truest in Boring's life is that, given the right set of circumstances (in this case an orgiastic cascade of vengeance, humiliation and murder), the primal nature of mankind will come inexorably to the fore.

Ghost World

Daniel Clowes

Ghost World is the story of Enid and Rebecca, teenage friends facing the unwelcome prospect of adulthood, and the uncertain future of their complicated relationship. Clowes conjures a balanced semblance, both tender and objective, of their fragile existence, capturing the mundane thrills and hourly tragedies of a waning adolescence, as he follows a tenuous narrative thread through the fragmented lives of these two fully realised young women.

Biography

Daniel Clowes was born in 1961. He is the creator of the comic books Eightball, Ghost World, which was made into a film by the director Terry Zwigoff, David Boring, and Ice Haven. His adaptation of his own Ghost World graphic novel for the screen earned him an Oscar nomination. A regular contributor to the New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and The Best American Comics, he lives in California with his wife.