Daniel Clowes

The cartoonist and graphic novelist, with special reference to his “comic-strip novel” Ice Haven:


Among the large cast of characters in the book is Harry Naybors, Comic Book Critic (a jab at, yes, comic book critics). (The central character on the cover is Random Wilder, the narrator.)

From Wikipedia:

Daniel Gillespie Clowes [his family name rhymes with cows] (born April 14, 1961) is an American cartoonist, illustrator, and screenwriter. Most of Clowes’s work first appeared in Eightball, a solo anthology comic book series. An Eightball issue typically contained several short pieces and a chapter of a longer narrative that was later collected and published as a graphic novel, such as Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (1993), Ghost World (1997), and David Boring (2000). Clowes’s illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, Vogue, The Village Voice, and elsewhere. With filmmaker Terry Zwigoff, Clowes adapted Ghost World into a 2001 film and another Eightball story into the 2006 film, Art School Confidential.

The cartoonist’s equivalent of a selfie:


Ice Haven (Pantheon, 2005). First appearing in Eightball #22, Ice Haven was revised and reformatted for the 2005 collection, with new chapters and redrawn art. Featuring a fictional Midwestern town and a large cast of main characters, the story centers on David Goldberg’s kidnapping and the strained interactions of the town’s inhabitants.

The characters include Mr. and Mrs. Ames, Detectives for Hire (like Pam and Jerry North, but professionals); Vida, a visitor to Ice Haven who serves as an additional observer of events (she’s the other foreground character on the cover); the lovesick teen Violet; and an assortment of child characters. The main story is interrupted by comics within the comic: among them, the foul-mouthed Blue Bunny and the odd couple Leopold and Loeb (recall that the main story is about the kidnapping of a child; think Bobby Franks).

Then there’s Harry Naybors, a geeky young man given to pretentious analysis of the comics and very defensive about his passion for them. In one strip we see him as a boy (though he still talks like the adult the boy became):


Clowes’s handling of multiple points of view is especially skillful, as is his weaving of elements from one of his (sub)comics into another.

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