Daniel Clowes is a celebrated graphic novelist (Ghost World, David Boring, Ice Haven, Patience), academy-award nominated screenwriter, and frequent cover artist for the New Yorker. His papers were recently acquired by the University of Chicago library.
Praise for Daniel Clowes
“DAN CLOWES. American. A master. Perfect fusion of story and art. Clowes is an auteur. Period. A superb narrator. Patience is the rare time travel tale that fully delivers.” Guillermo Del Toro
"Clowes is the country's premier underground cartoonist." Newsweek
"A bona-fide cult hero." The New Yorker
"[Clowes has] explored the tedium and mystery of contemporary American life with more wit and insight than most novelists or filmmakers." A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"A master storyteller and artist. There is poetry in every panel." Esquire
"Clowes creates serious dramatic work that happens to be in comics form." Print
"No one has his eye―or ear―focused on youth as accurately as Clowes." Vogue
"For those interested in comic art's potential, Clowes's work offers exciting literary possibilities." Time
"With Clowes, you don't read about peoples' emotional states, you gather them as in life." Los Angeles Times
“...Eightball [was] perhaps the most important American alternative comic to emerge from the twentieth century... As the home of Clowes’s first six award-winning graphic novels―comics that helped garner him a 2011 Pen Center Award for Outstanding Body of Work in Graphic Literature―Eightball earned a place in the pantheon of Great American Comics.” Ken Parille, The Comics Journal
“Clowes once again shows he is a master of current-day absurdity―with heart.” USA Today
"Patience is a work of high comics so smart, so serious, and so finely wrought that I shouldn’t diminish it by saying it’s better than any novel without pictures I’ve read this year." David Hajdu, The Nation
“Clowes demonstrates what the comic book can do and literary fiction can't.” The Observer
“Some two decades on, [these comics from Eightball] are a fascinating time capsule from another age. Clowes strove to capture the America he saw around him―he drew a place riddled with obsessive slackers, kitsch Americana, caustic femme fatales, sweaty ratfinks, exhausting culture snobs, and magnificently, pointlessly belligerent nerds. The series is as relevant a snap shot of America's 90s Generation X as the music of Kurt Cobain, the writing of Douglas Coupland and the films of Kevin Smith. Eightball defined the zeitgeist, and in doing so, redefined the place of the comic book in popular culture.” Ian McQuaid, i-D
Daniel Clowes Biography
Daniel Clowes was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1961. He attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, graduating with a BFA degree in 1984.
His first professional work appeared in Cracked Magazine in 1985, and 1986 saw the debut of his first comic-book series Lloyd Llewellyn, which ran for seven issues.
In 1989, he created the seminal comic-book series Eightball, where virtually all of his major comics work first appeared. The series ran for 23 issues through 2004 and earned the artist a large following and multiple industry awards including several Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards. Collected from its pages are the graphic novels Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, an indescribable nightmare-journey through pre-millennial America; Pussey!, a brutal examination of the comics industry; Ghost World, his breakthrough hit about the last summer of a teenage friendship; and David Boring, a dark and apocalyptic story of obsession. Clowes has also released two anthologies of his Eightball comics: Caricature, an acclaimed short-story collection; and Twentieth Century Eightball, a collection of humor strips including “Art School Confidential” and “Ugly Girls.”
Clowes moved to full color with the last two issues of Eightball, each of which featured a stand-alone story and a shift in both visual and storytelling techniques. These issues include Ice Haven, an intricate tale of kidnapping and alienation in a small Midwestern town (published as a book in 2005) and The Death-Ray, the unlikely story of a teenage superhero in the 1970s (released in book form in 2011).
Since the end of Eightball, he has created the widely acclaimed (and occasionally reviled) graphic novel, Wilson, and a serialized comic for the New York Times Magazine, a “middle-aged romance” titled Mister Wonderful, which was collected in an expanded hardcover edition in 2011. His comics, graphic novels, and anthologies have been translated into over twenty languages, and his work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions.
In 2001, the film adaptation of Ghost World, based on a script by Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff, was released to great acclaim, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and winning the Independent Spirit award among many others. Their second collaboration, Art School Confidential, written by Clowes and starring John Malkovich and Jim Broadbent, was released in 2006. In 2017, the movie adaptation of Wilson hit theaters. The film starred Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern, with a script by Clowes. He has several film projects in development.
Clowes was the first cartoonist to be selected for Esquire’s annual fiction issue in 1998. He created the much-praised animated video for the Ramones’s “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” designed the packaging for Coca-Cola’s “OK Soda,” created the poster illustration for Todd Solondz’s Happiness, and has contributed numerous memorable covers to The New Yorker. His work has also appeared in Time, Newsweek, GQ, and many other magazines. In 2007 he appeared as a character on an episode of The Simpsons.
A major retrospective of his work, Modern Cartoonist, debuted at the Oakland Museum of California in 2012, moving to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2013 where it was the feature exhibit, and on to the Wexner Center in Columbus in 2014. A monograph of his work, titled The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, was released in 2012.
2015 saw the release of the 2-volume The Complete Eightball #s 1-18. In March 2016 his latest graphic novel, Patience, debuted, his longest work to date.
He lives in Oakland, California with his wife Erika and their son Charles.
Biography adapted from information on Clowes' website.