I’ve got a review of Daniel Clowes’ newly-reissued The Death Ray in the new issue of BOMB Magazine, and over on their site, an extensive, wide-ranging interview with him.
Clowes is, without question, one of the masters we have now, as a comics artist and graphic novelist. In discussing the new seriousness with which comics are treated, we have to begin with the seriousness artists like Clowes and Chris Ware and Los Bros Hernandez brought to comics starting back in the 80s and 90s and have kept alive until now, when they are enjoying a level of readership and respect I think most fanboys and fangirls never dreamed of back even 10 years ago.
Clowes and I spoke of everything from the origin of The Death Ray to his early days hanging out with Chris Ware to the idea of his comics as horror comics starring the self. The Death Ray is part of a trio of works from him to appear in the last year and a half, and completes his sense of his current body of work, he says in the interview–it was initially published as a comic in his Eightball series, and he is reissuing it to have it back in print, and as a bound book available to his new readership. These works, Mr. Wonderful, Wilson, and The Death Ray, together, give off a patchwork sense of a world in which all of them exist together, an alternate universe with an emotional realism that puts much of contemporary fiction to shame by contrast.
For more on Clowes, Tavi at Rookiemag has an interview with him that appeared yesterday. And for more on the contemporary comics scene, check out the excellent interview with Adrian Tomine, another favorite creator of mine, at The Rumpus.