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Daniel Clowes

Page history last edited by Michael Federico 12 years, 2 months ago

 Born: 1961 – Chicago, IL

Current: Clowes currently resides in Oakland, CA  



Daniel Clowes was raised in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL. He lived with his grandmother and grandfather, who was a professor at the University of Chicago. Among other famous literary figures, Saul Bellow was a friend of his grandfather’s and a frequent visitor to the house. When asked about his grandfather’s famous friends, Clowes has said, “At the time it was just boring. It was like, ‘I wish he’d just shut up and come to dinner so we can eat.’ It wasn’t until years later when I heard other people talk about the people who had been over at my house that I realized, ‘Oh yeah, those guys are actually famous.’ I just figured they were other old boring professors like my grandpa.”


After high school graduation, Clowes moved to New York to study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt in 1979 with a BFA, he sought work as an illustrator, but it would take him several years to break into the business.



Clowes found his first work in comics with Cracked, working at the magazine between 1985 and 1989. Clowes has said “Cracked was a strange place. They had a consistent, revolving audience of 9- and 10-year-old kids who would innocently pick it up at the grocery store for a year or two before moving on. In the front section of each issue there would be photos of children holding up their issues of Cracked, or posing in front of giant Sylvester P. Smythe birthday cakes with confused, lukewarm smiles on their faces.”


While still at Cracked, Clowes began work on Lloyd Llewellyn, which eventually became a series with six issues published from 1986 to 1987, and a special published in 1988. In 1989, Clowes saw the first edition of his comics collection Eightball published by Fantagraphics. When Eightball started to gain some traction in the industry, Clowes left Cracked. Much of Clowes’s work including Ghost World, The Death Ray, and Art School Confidential appeared in Eightball prior to being released as stand-alone graphic novels.


Along with his work for Eightball and his graphic novels, Clowes has become well-known for Mister Wonderful, which appeared in the New York Times Magazine. Also, in 1998, upon the request of then editor Dave Eggers, Clowes created the first comic featured in Esquire’s “Fiction Issue.”


Along with his continued work in the comics industry, Clowes has found success as a screenwriter. He was nominated (along with Terry Zwigoff) for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his adaptation of Ghost World. He and Zwigoff also worked together on an adaptation of Art School Confidential.



Clowes’s work has consistently been given the “Generation X” label due not only to his age or the era in which he began to publish, but also because he often deals with characters that are seen as disaffected outcasts, loners, and losers. Ghost World became a staple of ‘90s pop-culture, and is sometimes credited with giving birth to the likes of Daria and other disenfranchised “Gen-X” teenagers that populated movies and television throughout the decade.


Clowes functions as both writer and artist for his work. Earlier in his career his books featured a unified style throughout, but as he has progressed, he has experimented with shifting styles throughout the course of a book. He believes “that it’s one of the very few things that comics can do that you really can’t do in any other medium.” However, he has said that this technique is “something that can only be done by a single artist.”



  • Lloyd Llewellyn #1-#6 (1986–1987) and a special (1988)
  • Eightball #1-#23. #23 was released in June 2004
  • Wilson (2010). Wilson was Clowes' first all-new graphic novel that had not been serialized before being presented in book form.



  1. http://www.fantagraphics.com/artist-bios/artist-bio-daniel-clowes.html
  2. http://www.avclub.com/articles/dan-clowes,63645/
  3. http://danielclowes.com/bio.html
  4. http://www.andheresthekicker.com/ex_daniel_clowes.php  
  5. http://rookiemag.com/2011/12/an-interview-with-dan-clowes/ 



Further Reading

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2001/nov/03/features.weekend
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiKy4LIleYo
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMH7wfLlNm8&feature=related 
  4. http://popsop.com/28212
  5. http://oakpark.patch.com/articles/the-patch-interview-ghost-world-cartoonist-daniel-clowes
  6. http://www.google.com/#pq=ghost+world+best+adapted+screenplay&hl=en&gs_nf=1&cp=20&gs_id=3x&xhr=t&q=daniel+clowes+video&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&pbx=1&oq=daniel+clowes+video+&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=232dd482f38522b3&biw=1366&bih=571
  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m79ednpufOU

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