Chris Ware: ‘Does the world really need another tome about an artist?’

The celebrated New Yorker cartoonist on his intricate graphic memoir Monograph, his love for Peanuts and why his grandmother is his favourite storyteller

Chris Ware is a novelist’s graphic novelist. Beloved by the likes of Zadie Smith (“There’s no writer alive whose work I love more than Chris Ware’s”), he is compared more often to Joyce than cartoonists before him. His books are Ulyssean in size and complexity, pages filled with tiny, intricate drawings, which is probably how he manages to fit so much of life into them.

His latest book is his biggest, in dimensions and concept. Monograph is a solid, 18-inch tall memoir, but also an exploration of a life spent in pursuit of art, and a frank breakdown of the nature and function of comics. “Does the world really need another printed tome about an artist, let alone one about an admittedly marginal and rather questionable graphic ...

Gary Panter: the cartoonist who took a trip to hell and back

Dante and Milton are recast through the eyes of a redneck Jesus in Gary Panter’s latest graphic novel. He opens up about the nightmare hallucinations and comic-book disasters that led him there There’s a moment of horror on entering cartoonist Gary Panter’s studio, when I realise I’ve stepped on one of his canvases – a quite wonderful painting of a robot fighting a dinosaur. “Don’t worry,” Panter reassures me, “it’s a doormat.” He’s not joking. It turns out the orange throw over the couch is a painted canvas too. In fact, Panter’s Brooklyn studio – which is also his apartment – is littered with all kinds of art: bulbous, home-made candy-coloured candles from a planned installation, bowls of beads and Godzilla toys, and of course his own complex, colourful, beautiful paintings. Continue reading...

Is diversity to blame for Marvel’s sales slump – or just a lack of imagination?

The comic giant’s new position acting as Disney’s R&D department means it needs to take risks in order to survive. The diversity debate isn’t the issue – it’s a lack of understanding how the industry has changed over the last decade Last week, David Gabriel, Marvel’s vice-president of sales, told the comics industry trade reporter Milton Griepp that he had heard complaining from retailers about the company’s strategy of publishing books starring women and people of color in high-profile roles such as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. The grousing, he said, correlated with a drop in sales. Related: Marvel superheroes aren’t just for white men – true diversity could boost sales | JA Micheline Continue reading...

Daniel Clowes: Trump’s America is like the cynical comics I drew back in the 90s

As the comic writer’s fantastically misanthropic work Wilson hits cinema screens, he talks about grief, Ghost World and surviving in Trumpland Hey, Daniel. What was it like making a movie without Terry Zwigoff, who directed Ghost World and Art School Confidential, but isn’t in charge for Wilson? With Terry, I was very much there the whole time in kind of a Coen brothers-ish scenario. We were bouncing ideas off each other and it felt fairly collaborative – for this one, I had decided I really had not enjoyed that process. I really like hanging out with Terry, we have fun together, but the actual process of making the movies was not at all fun for me. After the last one I thought, you know what, I’m just going to do what I do, write the script, hand it off and see what happens. My whole goal with this one was ...

Emil Ferris: ‘I didn’t want to be a woman – being a monster was the best solution’

The 55-year-old My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is finally out, after the artist battled West Nile virus and the publisher battled copies being held hostage at the Panama Canal There has never been a debut graphic novel quite like Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. The 55-year-old artist’s first published work, which came out last week, is a sweeping 60s-era murder mystery set in the cartoonist’s native Chicago. It’s composed of ballpoint pen drawings on wide-ruled notebook paper and is the first half of the story with the second volume out in October. Before she began work on Monsters, Ferris paid the bills with freelance work as an illustrator and a toy designer, making figurines for McDonald’s – she sculpted the Mulan line of Happy Meal prizes for one of the fast food behemoth’s subcontractors – and for Tokyo toymaker Tomy, for whom she worked making the Tea Bunnies ...

Time travel, slackers and Wonder Woman: the best comic books of 2016

A banner year for the artform saw excellent new Hellboy and Wonder Woman volumes as well as a frighteningly topical time travel story Even if no one sheds a tear for 2016, at least the year produced such an amazing crop of comics that we need two No 1 spots. Some of the best contemporary work in the medium emerged from startling corners this year: Marvel’s decision to let artist-driven books such as Chris Samnee’s Black Widow go more than a month between issues generated some profoundly beautiful continuous work while at Marvel’s competitor Image, Dustin Nguyen and Jeff Lemire’s watercolor space opera Descender remains one of the comics shop’s prettiest offerings, alongside Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s improbably, er, touching Sex Criminals.
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How fatherhood and grief have shaped the work of graphic novelist Daniel Clowes

The acclaimed creator of Ghost World has spent five years on his most ambitious project yet: a psychedelic tale of murder and time travel

No cartoonist alive devotes as much effort as Daniel Clowes to mapping the differences between the way people see themselves and the way they really are. “Whenever you meet somebody you know just as an online presence, the only response I’ve ever had is overwhelming empathy and sadness,” Clowes says over iced tea and soup in Manhattan. “Because you see at once. Often people come off very combative and sort of aggressive, and then you see them and think: ‘You are just so not a vital presence in the physical world.’ I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody for the first time that way and thought, ‘They’re exactly what I pictured!’”

Clowes’s work is characterised by such a devotion to technical perfection and a ...