Daniel Clowes was born in Chicago "on Jayne Mansfield's 29th birthday" (April 14, 1961). A look at Clowes' early work should help explain why Clowes chooses to link his date of birth with the late Miss Mansfield. Clowes early on earned his reputation by taking the look of '50s pop culture, movies, and advertising and turned them into a darkly humorous satire of middle class America.
Clowes studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, even though he considers himself to be largely self-taught. For him, formal college training was of little value, offering little technical information. Upon graduation, Clowes spent an unsuccessful year seeking art-related work in New York, but ultimately returned to Chicago.
His first comic book series, Lloyd Llewellyn, began publishing by Fantagraphics Books in 1985. As Lloyd Llewellyn progressed, Clowes' artwork developed, suggesting the stark, atmospheric work of '50s EC crime and science fiction artists like Johnny Craig and Bernie Krigstein (which Clowes admired as a teenager). It was this progression which set the stage for Clowes' new Fantagraphics title Eightball.
Eightball's evolution and increasing maturity has been remarkable. From the surreal early serial "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron," to his savage take on the comics industry itself with the fanboy character Young Dan Pussey, to Clowes' breakthrough hit "Ghost World," and his most recent opus, "David Boring," which features some of the most intricate plotting and layered thematic writing ever seen in comics, Eightball has earned the artist a large following (and has spawned seven graphic novel collections). Clowes has amassed multiple Harvey Awards through the years, including its two most prestigious awards, Best Writer and Best Continuing Series. In July of 2000, he won his first Eisner Award in the coveted "Best Writer/Artist" category. In 2000, MGM Pictures, in conjunction with John Malkovich's Mr. Mudd production company, finished filming its Ghost World motion picture.
Currently Clowes lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife Erika.