a conversation with Daniel Clowes      


1. David Boring has been acclaimed as 'poetry', 'hilariously funny', and a 'significant work of comics literature.' There are many fine qualities of your work to be proud of, but what is the particular element about this novel that gives you a satisfactory smile (or an infuriating cringe)?

DC: Sadly, everything I've ever done inspires that cringe, which is why I tend to go to great lengths to avoid looking inside any of my books after they're finished. David Boring is somewhat less cringe-inducing than any of the others, though.

2. Over the years you have produced an amazingly prolific amount of labor-intensive artwork. Unfortunately, David must excruciatingly digest a single issue of The Yellow Streak, at the rate of two panels per night. If future generations of readers were faced with the same dilemma, having only one issue from your collection to treasure, could you choose one? If so, what would it be?

DC: Probably my latest comic book story ICE HAVEN (to be found in issue #22 of EIGHTBALL Magazine, available at a comic store near you), because it is broken up into tiny fragments, and is intended to be read one page at a time.

3. After the successful adaptation of Ghost World to the big screen, do you have any similar notions to do the same with David Boring? What would the ideal actor have to possess in order to accurately portray the character?

DC: I have turned down several offers to do this because I can't think of a way to make the story work in movie form as well as it did in comic-book form. The ideal David Boring would have to have a broken nose and very greasy hair.

1. In Act I, page 34, bottom right-hand panel you mention "…and at least my embarrassing love letter of May 27 wasn't in the box…". Well, since you reveal so many other intimate details about yourself, would you mind sharing one about this mysteriously intriguing letter?

DC: All I can say is that it is indeed very embarrassing.

2. Just like a dusty wine bottle, a story gets better with time. It has now been two years since the first hardcover edition of your story was published. So if we were two old friends catching up at a bar, swapping love stories over a pint of Stella, what would you say if I asked, "Whatever happened to that chick Wanda?"?

DC: Actually, "Stella" is not an option in any of the bars we see in the story. The only two brands available, apparently, are Blight Ale, and the slightly-more-upscale Elba Light.

3. You do a fine job narrating the story from many points of view. However, one of the inferences a reader must make with a graphic novel is the inflection a character uses in their speech. "If you were reading the story out loud, what tone of voice would you use?" she asked with respectful curiosity.

DC: It should be read with absolute sincerity, with a undertone of adolescent self-satisfaction (at least in the first chapter, after that it goes all over the place.)

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    Photo credit: Dan Clowes