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Book Review < Back

Twentieth Century Eightball

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Daniel Clowes
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Commentary

One last manic hurrah of absurdity: if Daniel Clowes can be likened to the Woody Allen of comics, then TWENTIETH CENTURY EIGHTBALL is his Starlight Memories, a fantastically strange funeral pyre for the 'funny era' as Clowes marches head-on into his 'serious era'. I'm not sure if the metaphor holds, really, but it feels good - so let's go with it.

TWENTIETH CENTURY EIGHTBALL collects random odds and ends from Eightball over its strange, sad history. Clowes' unrepentant misanthropy can be a bit off-putting, especially as it cascades over into self-loathing insecurities, but once you figure out that it's Clowes laughing - and crying - first and hardest, it makes the medicine a bit easier to swallow. The brilliant, controversial On Sports is here (where practically every major sport played in America is stripped down to its base sexual components) as well as Little Enid, a short piece new to this collection that invokes the spirit of Ghost World one more time.

Is this serious, profound, earth-rattling, idiom-destroying work? Hell no. But, Christ, it sure is funny.

-- Matt Fraction

 
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.

 


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