NOTE: This is a prelude to a bigger post on comic books in general!
So many things I was ‘into’ when I was younger have just completely failed to have relevancy to me today – Youth Crew/SXE hardcore, um, higher education, um… well, you get the idea! Imagine my surprise when I revisited what was one of my most favoritest and my best comic book Eightball and realized I might even ‘get it’ more now than I did almost 20 years ago!
Let me take you for a second to the before times, when the interwebs were used to mostly trade Star Trek episode summaries, before anyone knew what a browser was, and certainly before people had any way to vent their collective frustrations. Back then, many a budding artist would turn to the ‘graphic format’ to pour forth their rage, and comics were popular enough to get into the hands of people that might find this interesting… Charles Burns, Peter Bagge, Chester Brown and Eightball’s Dan Clowes were all ‘important underground cartoonists’ in the early ’90s.
I first got into Clowe’s work with his ‘LLoyd Llywellen’ character, a kind of ’50s lounge detective that got into typically slacker’ish adventures (BTW, there is a huge overarching Church of the Subgenius theme to many of the characters I’m drawn to), but Eightball is/was his masterwork – an at times typically ’90s brutal self-examination of Clowes in his early 30′s.
The great thing about Clowes tho, and this is outside of his actual skill, is his ability to integrate humor that was amazingly timely, but on examination also quite timeless! Take this little joke for example:
Clowes was able to gain some popularity from Eightball, even though I am literally the only person I’ve known that has read this comic! Not sure if people remember/know, but the movie ‘Ghost World’ was originally a serial in this comic…
He apparently adapted another Eightball story – “Art School Confidential” into a movie as well – but I doubt even fewer of you have seen it/heard of it… He did eventually move on to more commercial art; Clowes was one of the feature illustrators of Coke’s ill-fated “OK” soda…
Hipter/Slacker soda? Who the fuck came up with that idea?!? I was actually in a test market for OK Soda and I friggin’ loved the stuff… and I don’t really drink soda. Guess I was just kinda out of step with the rest of the old US of A…? With the success of Eightball, some mainstream success (designing a soda brand? Fuggin’ big time for an illustrator!) and general recognition as an ‘artist’, Clowes started sporadically putting out issues of Eightball, ending in 2004 with #23 – issue #22 had come out back in 2001.
Come on over to my Tumblr to see something else that hasn’t had new material in a while!