Interview: Daniel Clowes

By MIKE MILIARD  |  April 27, 2010

So i’m guessing you don’t think the iPad is gonna save the comic book.
I doubt it. I dunno what’s gonna happen. I don’t even like to think about it. I like books. I like to hold something and turn the pages. With this book, I really tried to make it a book. I did it on the thickest paper I could find and tried to make it really solid. I wanted it to scream: “I am a book. I can take a bullet and protect you.”

At the same time, you didn’t leave comics entirely behind. Why the six-panel format? Was it a challenge, each page requiring a punch line?
I’d just finished reading the biography of Charles Schulz. And there’s a quote from Schulz saying, “A professional cartoonist can take five minutes and cobble together a completely workable idea for a comic strip, where nobody would even notice that it took him five minutes. That’s what it means to be a professional.” So I sat down with my sketchbook, and I just started doodling comic strips about this guy I’d never thought of a minute before that — who turned out to be Wilson. I tried to do it sort of like a Peanuts strip, where they had a certain rhythm and a punch line. It just kind of took off from there.

When you started drawing Eightball, in 1989, did you have any inkling how popular comics and graphic novels would be in 2010?
No. No. I mean, it was still just a wasteland. There were a few of us trying to do comics that weren’t within the confines of what the comics industry at that time was, which was 99 percent superhero comics and then a few slightly different science-fiction and fantasy comics. If you had told me then that there would be cute girls coming to comic conventions in 15 years, I would’ve told you you were out of your mind.

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