Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 May 30 • Wednesday

This book is kind of a mixed bag. I've been an admirer of Dan Clowes's work for a long time. I bought the first issue of Eightball when it came out. And what's great about this book is what Clowes himself brings to it, the reproductions of his work and his responses to Kristine McKenna's interview questions.

His work speaks for itself, as great art tends to do. In the interview Clowes appears intelligent, articulate, straightforward and unaffected. (Compare with Clowes's fake interview comic, printed as the cover for Number 233 of The Comics Journal, reprinted here on page 95.)

I was curious about his comment that "Lots of people are trying to do Great Graphic Novels right now and I hate them all. I'm just really disgusted by them". He goes on to say that he loves Chris Ware and Joe Sacco, so he doesn't mean them. So who does he mean? Did he hate Asterios Polyp?

The other parts of the book, consisting of pieces written about Clowes and his work, were less interesting to me. A few big names are brought on board: George Meyer, Chris Ware, Chip Kidd. Ware's contribution is typically generous and positive—has he ever said anything even slightly negative about anybody?—but distressingly overwritten.

Other pieces, which analyze what Clowes actually does in the medium, point in an intriguing direction but left me thinking that an Annotated Art of Daniel Clowes would be more useful.

This book is quite nice and well worth picking up, but I don't think it would be a good introduction for anybody not already familiar with Clowes, while those who do know Clowes's work would probably want more from a book such as this.