Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Daniel Clowes: David Boring

Comics may be inherently action-oriented, if solely by virtue of tradition, but Eightball writer and artist Daniel Clowes seems determined to explore its ability to portray inaction. His last extended work, Ghost World, masterfully captured the limbo-like state of two young women caught between high school and the rest of their lives. With David Boring, originally spread across three issues of Eightball, he blows that feeling of incertitude up to the size of the entire planet. A lot actually happens in David Boring, maybe even the end of the world, but what happens seldom coincides with what its characters want to happen, and their disappointment makes all the difference: Their lives may be in danger, but their enthusiasm lies elsewhere. When the young title character, a small-town security guard new to an unnamed city, takes a bullet in the head, it seems more puzzling to him than disturbing. That bullet arrives shortly after Boring has found, and lost, the woman of his dreams, an ideal described early in the story and pursued throughout. The journey at one point takes him to a tiny island populated with assorted friends, relatives, and strangers waiting out a reported apocalypse, a segment during which Boring snaps into sharp focus. With snatches of millennial blues and feints toward film noir and classic science fiction, Clowes has created the comics equivalent of a Beckett play: It's at once playful, sad, opaque, and deeply resonant, further confirming him as one of the most exciting writers working today.


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