Do U Remember EIGHTBALL?

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!

Very accurate depiction of how I spend much of my time...

Very accurate depiction of how I spend much of my time...

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.

I have no idea why anyone would ever hide behind an alias like this...

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:

Funny Then/Funny Now (click for a bigger image)

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!

About King Krakken

I totally 100% percent non-ironically love you.
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27 Responses to Do U Remember EIGHTBALL?

  1. Sergeant D says:

    I hate “indie comics” or whatever but I LOVED Eightball back in the day, especially Lloyd Lewellyn, and it should be obvious what a huge influence “I Hate You Deeply” and “I Love You Tenderly” in particular were on me. I can’t find it anywhere on the internets, but his “Generic Comics” bit was also brilliant.

    Even more embarrassing, “Ghost World” was my favorite movie for years (and I still love it a lot). I think the movie is better than the comic because so much of the humor revolves around all the little details that describe the various annoying people such as the idiot at the video store in the Tommy Hilfiger shirt. The first 1/3 or so of “Art School Confidential” is some of the best film ever made, but the rest of it is unfortunately pretty shitty.

    Until I read this post and typed this comment I didn’t realize what a big influence Clowes was on me, but looking back I think “Eightball” was a pretty big deal to me.

    • CallPastorJerkface says:

      That scene in Ghost World where Steven Buscemi’s character says, “Actuallly, technically, uh, what he was mostly playing would be more accurately classified in the ragtime idiom…” changed my life. From the moment I first saw that I realized how insufferable my music-snob blather sounded to any normal human who had the sad misfortune of trying to talk to me. That, and my wife telling me to quit talking about myself “’cause no one really cares!” have improved my life immeasurably.

    • King Krakken says:

      True talk – when I was putting together images for the post, easily 80% were from those two stories. Those two just about perfectly sum up the overall vibe of SYWH – I especially how Clowes moves (in I Love You Tenderly) from mildly talking about things he loves to quickly (again) ranting about things he hates (but also kinda loves). Just great stuff…

      I could have easily doubled the amount of pictures in this post – as just about all of his stories had something that was really funny…

  2. Ada says:

    I’ve got a Dan Pussey trade somewhere, funny stuff. Not the funniest comic ever (that would be Flaming Carrot) but really good.

    • King Krakken says:

      Completely srs – I was first going to write this post about FC, but thought ‘nah… too obscure’. I’ll be sure to mention FC in my bigger comics post tho! FC and Eightball are probably the two biggest influences on my sense of humor and writing style… Actually, if you notice I use tons of ellipsis (…) primarily due to Bob Burden’s writing style!

      • chrismoke says:

        flaming carrot, milk n cheese, the bad boys, hate, yummy fur, 8ball, oldfag crumb/pekar stuff, i was raised on that shit as much as i was the music, thanks for posting this.

  3. VyceVictus says:

    SYWH is officially about “culture” now.
    People 50 years from now people are gonna use this website’s cache to try and understand how funny/weird/stupid we were. I am proud to have been even in the slightest manner connected to this site (srs). Another awesome article King, thanks!

    • Sergeant D says:

      I consider this site the world’s leading online community of opinion leaders, tastemakers and trendsetters. Posting on SYWH is to tell the world “I have my finger on the pulse of contemporary youth culture; I am on the cusp of the latest developments in the media consumption habits of alternative teenagers.”

  4. thetotalbro says:

    Fucking love this post! Dug the hell out of the Art School Confidential comic/movie (didn’t go to an art school, but I’ve taken art classes in college and met those people for sure.) Can’t wait for the bigger post about comics!

  5. pl says:

    art school confidential is alright in its way
    never got my hand on an eight ball but read a few clowes books
    are there some american indie comics worth reading ? most of what I had the chance to read was weird/boring

  6. foobear says:

    Ah, I thought this artwork style look familiar – this dude used to do a reoccurring strip in Cracked magazine called The Uggly Family:

  7. Void Eater says:

    King, if you really do spend all time imagining underage girls with tits (a wonderful hobby I must add) then do more SYWH posts. Always a good read, #nowhiteknight.

  8. i heart hunting accdents says:

    For srs, “urban attention seeker”is an expression i still use to describe wacky alternative fashion choices(taken from 8ball) Clowes lived in Chicago when he started 8ball and took some of his subjects from actual Chicago hipster-douches ,for which which that city seems to exert a powerful magnetic pull…great post.

  9. Walker says:

    I was filled with apprehension when I saw that this was about indie comics, but Im glad that this guy is one of those dudes that mocks hipsters and yuppies all day long, as indie comics make me want to die. True story: A local indie comic guy got mad at me on FB because he somehow learned that i thought his terrible comic was shitty and wrote a big post about how i shouldnt criticize his work because its demoralizing. Seriously, whoever tricked ugly, boring people that they should write longwinded stories about their sad lives and draw pictures about them to go along with it fucking sucks. If i wanted to look at ugly people I would look out the window.

    My brother bought me a collection of comics by this guy called Sam Henderson a few years ago which is really funny. He is in the same vein, except is more cartoony and takes shots at stoners/slackers more than hipsters. If you like that style of ‘everyone around me is an asshole’ comic, you should check it out!

  10. BonerPatrol says:

    I am a huge Clowes fan. Him, Joe Matt, and the Hernandez Brothers keep me reading comics. Most indie comic writers are huge pretentious fags, like Seth and Craig Thompson. Fuck those guys. When I was putting myself through college I worked at a comic shop and the only people who read books by Clowes was me and chicks. Unfortunately, that didn’t help me get in their pants, just made me look like a faggot. I still don’t give a fuck though, Ghost World is in my top 5 favorite books and movies.

    Any of you dudes read Johnny Ryan books? If racist, sexual, and gross humor is up your alley, you won’t regret picking up an Angry Youth Comix trade. The main character is called Loady McGee, genius!

    • BonerPatrol says:

      Oh shit, how could I forgot Hate? That made me the guy I am today. I still give the two Hate trades to people as gifts. I doubt they even read it, but Peter Bagge is a genius that needs to be heard.

  11. Nightshift says:

    Probably not related or relevant: My dad had a motorcycle shop back in the 70s and painted Robert Crumb’s ‘Keep On Truckin’ guy on the tank of a bike he built for one of his friends.

  12. floss says:

    remember all this stuff. i have an ok soda hat that i got out of the vending machine at my high school freshman year. i have another one of those hollow cans still closed in my high school time capsule i’m opening when i turn 40. hope its a shirt.

  13. Latinoheat! says:

    Ah cómics … Hmmm I C… Only cómics i ever read when i was a wee lad were spanish simpsons cómics from México and of course kickass batman n sum marvel hand me downs the cuz would spare… Being 8 yrs old this shit did help out towards talking n writing english… feelsbadman.jpg =\

  14. Inmyheadache says:

    I was never huge into comics but I like some of the Clowes stuff and I still LOVE the Ghost World movie. That kills me pretty much every time I watch it.

    My favorite stuff is still HATE and NEAT STUFF by Peter Bagge. Krakken, you should definitely re-read the Hate trades. There is a West Coast vibe for sure but eventually Buddy makes it back to the East coast (NJ).

    Now Entering the Truth Zone: I have a Buddy Bradley action figure by my turntable. Feelsbadman

  15. roger_camden says:

    Enjoyed Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron and the collections of non-serial strips about as much as Ghost World. Some of his serious stuff is completely heartbreaking.

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