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Patience, the new Daniel Clowes graphic novel
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1382

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:15 am    Post subject: Patience, the new Daniel Clowes graphic novel Reply with quote

My totally rambling, totally unordered, unedited, spew of thoughts/impressions of Patience, the new Daniel Clowes graphic novel -

Patience - worth the wait? Worth the weight?

I love Clowes, and I’ll hopefully keep loving him. Dan Clowes comics are still one of the best things in life, and each new release must still be anticipated with real pleasure.
Eightball got better with each issue, up till David Boring chapter # 2 (Eightball # 20), the first ish that was not better than the previous. David Boring # 3 (Eightball # 21) was worse; the first time the quality took a noticable dip. Previous to that, the words “Eightball” and “disappointment” had never been breathed in the same sentence. The magic run was over. Ice Haven (Eightball # 22) was good but not as good as earlier stuff, and Death Ray (Eightball # 23) was worse. Mr Wonderful was okay but even less interesting, and Wilson was worst of all.
But now Patience is better than Wilson and Mr Wonderful, at least while I’m 82 pages in - the first time in 15 years that Clowes has done something better than the previous thing. That’s exciting.
I hope the story holds up all the way through. Right now it’s a page-turner.
Can’t help but think that the new Dan Clowes, the famous Dan Clowes, the Dan Clowes who has existed ever since David Boring #2 - basically the Dan Clowes who has existed ever since the Ghost World movie, 2001 - has been stuck second-guessing his audience ever since that pivotal time-period of 2000/2001. His break into real fame and real money seems to have scared him, or made him self-conscious about what he’s doing, a need to be “great” in a mass way, a need to meet the standards of the New York Times Book Review and the New Yorker. When you read Eightball 1 - 19 you get the sense that Clowes does not give a flying fuck about being accepted by the New York Times Book Review. Needless to say, that was utterly thrilling, and has been absent from alternative comics ever since. They switched from true alternative culture to being a panting dog at the front porch of “normal” culture. They want the NPR interview, they want the New Yorker front cover illustration gig, they want the Ghost World film to be made. They want money, success, acceptance, respect. Obviously you can’t blame ‘em, I guess.
Another bad thing about “modern”/ post-Eightball / post film-industry Clowes - the “simplification” of the art, the removal of all of that wonderful rich style. By the time of Patience, the entire world that Clowes creates, the people, fabrics, things, locations, all look… eroded. Like they are made out of soap, and the soap has been used for a few weeks. Everything is softened, without detail, definition, texture, all of the magically beautiful hilarious sad rich FLAVOR that used to burst from every Clowes drawing, every panel, every face, every fold in fabric, every hairdo, every car, everything, even the lettering. He has rubbed out his own style. However, it has now been SO long since he had anything like the style of Eightball… in fact, Eightball lasted 15 years, and it has now been 15 years SINCE Eightball, if we consider David Boring to be essentially the end of Eightball as it had been - the end of the anthology, with each issue comprised of free-wheeling different styles and different stories. So the new Dan Clowes is who we must contend with. We have been beaten into submission, after the pathetic disappointment of Wilson, we now grovel to accept whatever Clowes puts out, with our hopes for the previous greatness sufficiently wiped out, to ALMOST accept him as a totally new artist, a new entity developing from scratch again. Maybe that’s what he is. This is also the Clowes who now has a wife, he’s a dad, he’s got a real grown up life, he’s not a fiery young punk, not a starving artist on the wild margins. He had heart surgery. He’s not full of unquenchable fury. He’s mellowed with age. Compare this to Lou Reed - when Lou was making some half-assed albums like Rock & Roll Heart in the 70s, people would have been of course pissed off that he had lost the magic of the Velvet Underground. But by the 80s you had no choice but to accept that this was the new Lou, the mature Lou, and he would develop as an entirely new artist, with new unexpected strengths, until by the 80s/90s Lou Reed of Songs For Drella, New York, and Set the Twilight Reeling, he was an old master, on a top of a pinnacle of artistic greatness far beyond the wild youth in the Velvets. He HAD to become a new human, a new artist, and find a new greatness. Maybe it’s the same with all artists. You have to let go of what you were good at, and start a new path, even if you sort of stink at the new path at first, finding your footing in the new you and the artistic output of the new you.
Anyway, WHO is Patience for? Mainstream Marvel/DC/Image comic readers? Old Eightball readers? New Yorker readers, readers of the New York Times Book Review? Hard to say, it doesn’t really fulfill the needs of any of this readership.
BUT, unlike many other modern graphic novels, it is GOOD. It’s engaging. It’s entertaining.
It’s long - the longest thing he’s ever done. Which means he could have put out like 6 issues of Eightball instead of making us wait for this one big thing. I’d rather have the issues of Eightball, even if they were stylistically different - partially because I can’t even read this giant tome. Too big to carry around.
Anyway, more thoughts later.
Later -
The clarity of style does make anything more complex look embarrassing, but it also makes Patience look like a children’s book. The art is so utterly clear and simplified, it’s as if it was designed to not be off-putting to any possible reader. All of those NY Times readers and NPR listeners who might potentially be a little bit off-put by the intrusion of anything as risky as a visual style - the people who would be put off by the art of Chris Ware, the art of Charles Burns - the art of the old Dan Clowes. People to whom WEIRD is not appealing. It’s like Husker Du signing to a major label, with everybody telling them “look, you guys write great songs, great melodies, just drop all the off-putting punky aspects, make some nice recordings, and it’ll sell a ton. Don’t sell yourself short by keeping yourself in a box that says ‘alternative-culture’, you have the real skill to make it in the mainstream world, with mainstream respect, if you just drop the childish trappings of your early stuff”.
Just because Clowes’ art has gotten super-simple doesn’t mean it’s stupid, though - there are plenty of small details, subtle suggestions, foreshadowings, which make the careful reading of each panel a rewarding experience. It’s not Watchmen, but it approaches the territory of David Boring in this regard. Clowes likes to fancy himself a master at the subtle suggestion, and it’s quite fun to see where he’s doing his “Clowes thing”. The event that takes place almost off panel, or even the dialogue balloons that are cropped short by panel borders, leaving the reader to intuit the gist of the content. It’s a nice effect that can really only be done this exact way in comics, and it’s always great when a comic book maker discovers a new narrative technique like this. The formal inventiveness is part of the joy.
And obviously the clarity and simplicity of the art is supposed to be part of the joy too - we’re supposed to feel as though he has achieved such mastery that his mere simple stroke tells more than lesser artists with all their cumbersome detail. It’s like the anti-Habibi; relentlessly curtailing any weak tendencies towards visual beauty. It leaves the reader pleasantly unburdened by the weight of visual beauty, it makes the storytelling look a bit more effortless. And yet… it still doesn’t seem to SAY as much visually as any given panel of Eightball. The lines, the funny choices of lines, and the faces, all of this was just richer in the old days. Compare the early panels of Patience, the full-face shots of the main characters - those faces are just not in the league of the faces in Ghost World, the faces in Velvet Glove, even the faces in David Boring. Would this sort of “basic/quality” thing work better in the hands of David Mazzuchelli, or James Sturm? That seems to be the general aesthetic.
And so what does this make Patience? Sort of a kid’s comic book, but a very smart one, like Death Ray. It’s obviously closer to Death Ray than any other Clowes work, in some ways it’s like Death Ray issue # 2, and remember Death Ray itself was just an extension of Black Nylon from Eightball - and Black Nylon was the superior work in every way, art, writing, and the sheer surprise that Clowes was tackling that sort of sci-fi superhero material at all.
I’m sure it’s fun for him.
And it’s a whole lot more fun to read then the “real life” travails of Wilson. I like seeing Clowes get imaginative. I just hope it wraps up impressively…
Ok now I’m done.
More thoughts: (almost spoilers so beware)
The plot thread of a background subplot involving an ascending politician, a subtle presence who may or may not be evil, or be significant, is always a nice touch but it’s been done before. David Boring used the peripheral political situation to much better effect, atmospherically. It’s somewhat present in Watchmen, and it’s very present in Elektra Assassin. It’s even in Taxi Driver. I wonder where this idea originates, or what other examples can be found. It’s an anxiety that Clowes exploited very well in the early parts of David Boring, the idea that political situations that are all around you but that you are not paying attention to are something that can create a very threatening aura, and it’s a very relatable feeling. Something in the constant background hiss of news/noise that seems insignificant or boring that can snowball to be something more, that’s a basic anxiety of anybody.
I sussed out the plot a bit in advance, I can’t remember when it first occurred to me but it’s obvious when the scene comes that clinched my suspicion. This is a pretty good thing, because it means the plot actually works - if you’re a careful reader, paying attention to every aspect of everything, you SHOULD be able to put together some puzzle pieces, while still not being able to predict how it will turn out in the end.
Also - this book had genuine pulse-pounding excitement. I could feel my heart racing as I turned each page, and the suspense did not let up, once the story got rolling. I’m not sure if this is a good thing; it was not a pleasant sensation, this anxiety about turning each page, laying eyes on each panel. The main character is unpleasant, so the experience of taking an unpleasant ride with him, through unpleasant people, places and events, is generally a somewhat unremitting burden. When the main character is more likable, or at least not dislikable, as in Velvet Glove, or in Ghost World, the outer unpleasantries are more pleasant to face, because as the reader you are with a friend.
So in general the book feels like a bit of a burden, to carry around, and to read. It’s also somewhat hard to figure out its place in the scheme of things. It’s got quality, that’s for sure - it’s an engaging story, with enjoyable parts, and it keeps up its quality all the way through, which is extremely rare and impressive. It shouldn’t be impressive, just for something not to suck, that should be a bare foundation of quality, but it’s hard to find even that baseline of quality, especially in comic books. What the hell was the plot of Black Hole? I don’t recall more than a random scene or two. What was the story of Habibi? I remember it, but it was discursive, unpleasant and ultimately random and rambling feeling. Both Black Hole and Habibi have insanely sumptuous art, and essentially hollow stories. Not that either author had ever proven themselves as an author before, so the expectations weren’t as high as with Clowes, who, along with Alan Moore, is still basically the only “real” writer in comic books, for the most part. Then look at other supposedly ambitious graphic novels like the Sculptor, which falls apart into insane stupidity, and remains embarrassingly threadbare, an anti-page turner, you groan and limp through it, it’s a movie you could walk out of and completely dismiss. Compared to all of that, Patience is rock solid, top to bottom.
And look at the colors - Clowes had to color this whole damn thing. It’s that flat unassuming color, the kind that Charles Burns used in the Sugar Skull stuff, the kind that Adrian Tomine uses when he goes color, and it’s all obviously from Chris Ware. It sure as hell ain’t from Jim Woodring. In fact it ain’t even from the more interesting and idiosyncratic color sense of the old floppy color covers of Chester Brown or Joe Matt. Look at the kinds of cover-coloring on the 90s issues of Peepshow - it’s so much more expressive and interesting than this deliberately un-interesting “flat color” thing that most of these guys are sucking up to. At least with Charles Burns he makes the Tin Tin comparison as an opening statement, rather than some kind of now overly-used historical reference. But heck, for all I know Clowes is being influenced by stuff that I’m ignorant of. Still… it’s deliberately not as exciting as the cover of any issue of Eightball, (or any of the interior color Eightball comix) and it doesn’t necessarily benefit from that. It’s quiet, it’s meant to be quiet, like the art itself, it’s like a drummer that doesn’t play fills but does a totally reliable job keeping the beat. Is that good? Whether it’s good or bad, it’s nothing that you’d call unexpected. Even where it looks great it’s still doing no more than just toeing the current line, it seems to me.
But now that Clowes is writing what is essentially no more than enjoyably solid pulp fiction, what is the purpose of Clowes in the bigger picture? If I like reading a well-written and well-drawn sci-fi adventure wouldn’t I just be reading mainstream comics, like Saga or Fable or Walking Dead or whatever stuff out there is supposed to be good? Once the art and the writing are washed clean of the eccentricities that made Clowes so utterly magical in the Eightball days, what are we left with other than just a decent read? The best parts of Patience are where the old Clowes lets himself shine through, just a little bit. The parts where he, gasp, seems to actually be having FUN. Not worrying about the NPR audience. Allowing himself to follow his own instincts of art/narration pleasure, in a few little spots. In general, you could look at the cover of Eightball # 18 and basically get all the enjoyment that Patience has to offer. The visual themes are strikingly similar. It’s like the cover of Eightball 18 was a painting of a dream Clowes had, and now he’s telling the whole rambling dream-story. Actually, the meaning/plot are totally different (and yes, the cover of Eightball # 18 has something that could be called a plot); but the kinds of characters and visuals have a vague relationship to Patience.
Look at Ice Haven - this is where Clowes took the format of Eightball, multiple stories in different styles, and tried to formulate a way to become a “novelist”, and it was pretty enjoyable - not as good as Eightball actually was, but pretty good. Patience is maybe as good as that? Or maybe not? Is it as good as the Death Ray? Hard to say. Death Ray was somewhat more enjoyable to read because it was so obviously light and fluffy and fun, even though pretty well done, and of course it was a LOT shorter. RIght now I’d definitely rather re-read Ice Haven or Death-Ray (in their original issue formats) than re-read Patience. Like Wilson, I may in fact never read Patience again. I’ve read Velvet Glove many times, and I take out all my Eightball issues and look through them pretty regularly.
Doing a page-count it looks like Patience is basically equivalent to 6 issues of Eightball. Really, we’d be better of with six issues of Eightball.
But that’s not going to happen. Or is it? Maybe Clowes has gone as far as he needs to go in making a ‘graphic novel’. He has enough money, presumably, to do whatever he wants. Why WOULDN’T he just want to have fun and make floppies now? Floppies where he doesn’t have the stress of all the public pressure and reviews, floppies where he can do anything in the world he wants, from totally wackiness to serious long stuff, to some new idea that we can’t even think of right now. Maybe the next step is a new series. Nineball.
Because I don’t know if i really feel like reading these giant tomes on an ongoing basis. It asks too much of me, and doesn’t give as much as the floppies gave. Why would somebody read Patience instead of Sandman or Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing? In fact, I wonder how much awareness Clowes has of that stuff.
Would a “Nineball” series just be a disappointment? Well, the stakes would be lower anyway… Would it be like a rock band trying to have a reunion tour? If it’s new material, who cares? At this point the “novel” ambitious are themselves basically old hat. There’s not as much creative difference from Death Ray to Mr. Wonderful to Wilson to Patience as there was in the average couple issues of Eightball. The change of format, the change of ambition, was in itself a novelty at first. But is this really the new way things will stay?
Probably nothing will ever stay the same. The cultural moment that created EIghtball can not exist again. Paul McCartney can’t make Beatles songs again, it’s not the 60s no matter what he might do. The Velvet Underground could not really reform as the Velvet Underground and make new records in the 80s… could they?? The Reed/Cale collaboration Songs for Drella is astonishingly awesome, beautiful, unprecedented, as a semi “reunion” album it has ZERO disappointment about the fact that it is totally different but totally great, truly great. Maybe a mature Clowes and a Nineball series would be great.
Because, and I’ll keep saying this… For all the effort of Patience, is it REALLY as enriching, memorable or enjoyable as one issue of Peepshow? One issue of Eightball? One issue of some good Alan Moore comic? Is Patience anything more than the equivalent of reading a Dean Koontz book, or a Stephen King book, or something like that, except not quite as good? The reason it’s not quite as good is that pulp fiction authors are fucking masters of their medium, and they are doing their thing. They’re not trying to dress in creative drag and be something they’re not, even though they DO try to stretch their creative muscles and do something different from time to time.

It’s possible that I’m just older and harder to impress. I’m 40 now, not the 21 year old who worshipped EIghtball.

Clowes, I do believe you can still be great at what you were always great at. I see it peeking through the cracks in Patience, and it’s the best parts of Patience by far. That old magic is still there, maybe any old time you want to use it. That’s VERY heartening, after Mr. Wonderful and Wilson.
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And then David Herman Dune (Black Yaya) had this response to my above review!



Hey Jeff!
Thanks!
I think your piece is interesting
And it shows you know the man's work, obviously helpful for a review.
If you seek advice in anyway about it.
I would go easy on the NPR-NYT aspect of your point of view, as well as the "he was better before". What starts as a valid point, because it's redundant, ends up sounding like it's more one of your general concerns/obsessions than something specific about this book. You know what I'm saying? I think both arguments come too often in your piece, and focus the reader on them, almost obliterating the book itself to give way to a different debate, "should we be suspicious about the artists motive out of principle?" Kind of thing.
I love what you said about an artist having to change and first suck at what they change for, it's very moving.
Now the book... I think comparing it to previous work is not very fair. The books before exist, you can still read them if you want, there is no need for the author or us to repeat drawing/writing/reading them. It has to be good in itself. I agree with the observation that its art is simple, bordering poor at times, colors being the least expressive part. Three things I still love, faces, ink and the fact that Clowes doesn't know bodies have shoulders. The arms are attached to the torso like rags, I think it's very funny.
Now the plot. I don't think it makes sense to judge plots according to the medium. I agree that the Skull Candy series is of poor writing and has impressive art, I agree it happens in Comics a lot, but I can't see how it could ever enter the standard of Comics, like, OK, you draw so well that I'm gonna read a story that wouldn't make it to the editing room of any crime writer or any movie? The story in Patience echoes Dead Zone (political subplot echoes it too), Back To The Future (flawless if you ask me) and so many, it wants to go and take us in Time Travel loophole/vortex territory, does in a way, but doesn't bring anything to what is now a genre of its kind in storytelling. Most of it has been done before, and if you disregard that point, the plot in Patience seems like it's gonna be a mind blower, but fails to be one, everything can be guessed too easily (I like your Chandler quote about that) but not in a way that makes you feel smart, more in a way that you think the story is so predictable that you don't believe in it by the end.
So now, I don't know, as a reader, I feel love for the art, the tone and the characters of the book, regardless of what I think is better in other Clowes books.
I also feel love for it, in regards to my love for Clowes as an artist, and the credit and respect he deserves.
But I think it's all a waste. The book is, no matter what one says, meant to be story/plot driven. The way it's made shouts "suspense, thrill, clever twists". Truth is there's little suspense, little thrill and no game-changing twists. It is not an art book nor a book of jokes, and the plot is weak and even sucks in some aspects, I don't understand how, if I can see this by reading, which took me a few days, he couldn't see the weaknesses working on it for months...
Anyway... I guess I agree with you, and I always love your sharp mind and your writing brother. I don't think "review/critic" seems to be your strong suit, makes sense to me as you are a major artist yourself, but still way above and more thorough than what anyone could expect to read from professional reviewers.
Also, I need to ask you something: You love Sandman, don't you? I'd not read it and bought the first two of the 10 compiled issues. I thought it a disaster. The drawings were horrible I thought, especially the faces that no one could seriously pretend to recognize from one panel to the next and that seemed traced on photographs and inked without care, almost like by a computer... I mean, the worse ones to me were the sort of David Bowie/ Lucifer panels, he goes from no nose, to David Schwimmer nose, to Gene Hackman nose, it's so bad! The Dream himself is ridiculous in that regard, his features change and sometimes it feels like the people who traced the face of a specific panel have never seen a human face. Not to mention Rose, she might be the most horribly drawn character I've ever seen in a comic, I would say it's laughable, except it more made me wanna cry... Now the story... At the end of the Doll House book, I just think it's very bad and pretentious, with touches of sheer perversion, the Hollywood Saw way, that don't impress me. I guess my question is: "should I keep reading it because it's important to people who love comics, or do you have to like the first two to like it all? In other words, does it become good or is it always this bad? Wink please tell me more...
Love
D
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And then this was my response to David!


Hi David!
I love all your thoughts!
Actually it seems I liked the book more than you, even though I have so many complaints! i did think it was suspenseful, and there were some nice twists and surprises, like the guy who invented the time machine suddenly reappearing in the story in that hilarious future-robot-suit, that was probably the best part... Real Clowes.
I wasn't aware that I was quoting Chandler!
You're totally right that the Dead Zone is a perfect example I forgot, I haven't seen that movie in so many years, I should re-watch it.
You're also right that there's nothing mind-blowing about this time-travel plot, because we've seen it all before - there's no new concept introduced into the time-travel genre. Which is a shame, because if you're even going to do a time-travel story you sort of have to think of some new crazy ideas, there's such an opportunity for new concepts.
Still, when I read Patience I knew NOTHING about what the story was going to be. It started boring, but then it became a murder plot, which was a surprise to me... then it suddenly jumped to the future, which was another nice surprise for me, then it unexpectedly became a time-travel story, all of this stuff was nice twists for me because I was reading it with zero pre-conceptions, I hadn't even read the back cover of the book!
Also, the whole second half of the book I read while lying on my couch yesterday, I was sick and feverish and I even threw up, I think I ate some old fish for lunch that fucked me up... so my mental condition when reading it was a bit strange maybe... it really filled me with tremendous anxiety, page after page, I was very stressed out.
Because - the stakes are higher in this story than in anything Clowes has done maybe since Velvet Glove - I mean, there are more characters and the things that are in danger of happening to them are more horrendous, they are facing more horrible possible fates, than anybody in Mr Wonderful or in Ice Haven, etc. There was a threat of really horrible disgusting things happening to all these characters, i was very disturbed by the fleshy psychedelic 4th-dimension nightmare stuff. And I was genuinely scared that Patience would still be murdered in some way that proves you can't change fate no matter what.
Did you read The Sculptor? (it's bad, but I'm just curious)
I do love Sandman - I've read the entire thing, I have about half of it in issues and half in the collections - of course I read it as a teenager, so maybe i have a false impression of it - but it IS definitely true that it gets better as it goes, especially the art. When it starts, nobody knew it was going to be popular, so DC treated it like any other series, using random artists, it wasn't held to a very high standard until a bit later. But I'm surprised you didn't like The Doll's House story, I remember that as a good one. Maybe it seemed good at the time because it was so much better than the earlier issues, it showed a surprising progress.
I guess it's a big chore to keep reading it if you're not already enjoying it, if you're just waiting for it to get better, how much more of a chance can you give it... As I remember, the third book Dream Country is not super great, it's just short and it's just a few short-story issues, not a connected story. But then A Season of Mists is one that I remember being good, and then I think it reaches its full flower, DC knew they had something special and started treating it with higher production standards, more consistent.
Okay I gotta run!
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misshelenc



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow that was a lot to read of which a lot of it was totally lost on me!
Get well soon Jeff, I am ill too, it's rubbish. You are the second person in 2 days that has been ill from fish that I know. The other man was sick for 3 days non stop from a bad cod. Makes me smug that I leave the fish in the sea and stick to veggies, you have both had a nasty time of it.
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misshelenc



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way I am reading Anger is an Energy the Johnny Rotten book and am enjoying it so far. I've only just got to the bit where they're forming the Pistols but so far so good. He grew up in the same place as my dad, but he is ten years younger. I like finding little connections like that, and reading his thoughts on culture and clothes and stuff, he likes to read like me and knows quite a bit about the news and politics and things I can understand.
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misshelenc



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was reading the BFG earlier, there's Dream Country in that too. He describes the dreams as mists too.
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jefflewis



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the John Lydon autobiography Rotten, I wonder if it's a similar book!
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misshelenc



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rotten is an earlier book by him, Anger is an Energy is from last year.
I haven't read any of it lately because I have been too ill, stuck in bed with flu, I haven't done anything really. I'll get back to it.
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Ian Cockburn



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't feel there was a dropoff in quality for Clowes in David Boring, Ice Haven or Death Ray, but I was unenthusiastic about Wilson and Mr Wonderful, to the extent that I won't buy the new one till I've borrowed it and read it. Also, I don't have as much free cash for taking a chance on books as I used to.

I think it helps that you are so passionate about the comics you like and dislike, and why, when it comes to doing your own comics. I'm really hungering to do comics again myself and I've been thinking about what I want to do and what I'd like to avoid. It seems there are more comics than ever from in such a variety of styles from people coming at it from so many different influences and starting points, and yet I really struggle to find things that suit my tastes. Though I'm probably more nitpicky than I used to be too.
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mama



Joined: 09 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't have time to read all of this but definitely agree its not as good as Eightball, he really didn't give a fuck then and it worked! Reading your review, scott mccloud's the sculptor came to mind, that felt so made for Marvel/NPR.

I think if Patience came out spread through 6-8 issues of Eightball it would of been less criticised? But maybe that's always the way? When something finally comes out in a "Clowes' first work in ten years!" kind of way, it's going to be scrutinized more.

I liked it, but did get bored after about page 90, but others I know loved it. My friend says "The ending felt like a good pay off" which I agree with. I dunno, it's better to have Patience then nothing? Indie comix are so far and few between (good ones at least) so I feel like i'm not entitled to complain otherwise they'll take them all away and i'll just be left with DC/Marvel !!
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mama



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, you may hate this jeff but, WILSON is being made into a film
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1781058/
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that explains where all of Clowes' time has been going...
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Ian Cockburn



Joined: 10 Mar 2015
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm doing a short evening class at my local Art College, which means I get access to their library and they have a TON of comic collections and books about comics. So far I got the Todd Hignite book about Jaime Hernandez, Gloriana by Kevin Huizenga, Jodelle by Guy Peellaert and I finally got to read Patience.

I read it eagerly but didn't know quite what to think of it. Then I remembered the reviews posted here from Jeffrey and David. I tend to agree a lot with both of them. It was good to read while I was reading it, but felt it didn't really say much to me of substance, or add anything new to the genre of time-travel.

Re-reading Jeff's review I wonder if I expected and demanded less than him because I forgot how good he used to be as a writer. Or maybe I've always underrated him, despite considering myself a big fan. I must read "A Velvet Glove", that's the only major work I've not read (I only ever had one individual issue of Eightball, not counting the last two self-contained issues. I like to read a long story in one go, and not to wait weeks or months between installments). "Pussey" and the "Twentieth Century Eightball" collection I considered great humour and satire. "Ghost World" I loved, found it hilarious and charming and cool, but I didn't really consider it profound. The "Caricature" collection I'd probably consider his high water mark as a writer, I'd recommend that book to anyone. "David Boring" was a really unpredictable thriller that I also loved, though the second half was way less thrilling than the first. It seemed the second half had the boring job of tidying up the mess made by the crazy party of the first half.

"Ice Haven" I considered sheer genius. "Death Ray" also great. They both showed he had not lost his skill in short story writing. (I guess "Patience" is like a longer version of the "Death Ray" idea, except it's Clowes does time-travel instead of Clowes does superheroes.) "Mr Wonderful" was a less wonderful short story but would have been fine as a single story in a larger collection.

I dunno about "Wilson", I found it annoying and less ambitious than previous Clowes books, and yet my housemate at the time said it was his favourite of all Clowes's books. So I wondered if I needed to lighten up and let Clowes do his dark pessimistic satirical humour thing and just accept it for what it was.
I think I accepted Patience for what it was, a page-turning thriller a la David Boring with some of those ethical questions from out of the Death Ray. I have no complaints. It's fine. Not his masterpiece, but no doubt it's the book he wanted to make at this time.

The colouring is an issue I didn't think about so much while I was reading it. It would be interesting if Clowes had turned the colouring over to someone else with more radical ideas, but that would of course have included another artist's vision in there. I read it back to back with Peellaert's "Jodelle", which is really all about the colouring, I mean if you took away the colouring there wouldn't be much of a book left there. I think there's definitely something in the idea that the huge influence of Chris Ware, towering titan of comics though he is, has not been without a negative side. (See also Ivan Brunetti).
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jefflewis



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure what you mean about Ivan Brunetti!
Do you mean that the first three issues of Schizo were great, then he switched to trying to copy Chris Ware and as a result he just seemed like a like copy-artist rather than a brilliant individual artist?
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Ian Cockburn



Joined: 10 Mar 2015
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jefflewis wrote:
Not sure what you mean about Ivan Brunetti!
Do you mean that the first three issues of Schizo were great, then he switched to trying to copy Chris Ware and as a result he just seemed like a like copy-artist rather than a brilliant individual artist?


I have to admit I shouldn't have brought it up because I don't feel that strongly about Brunetti. I like all his stuff (both early and later) but I'm by no means a super-fan and in fact I don't even own most of his comics, But that is the point of view I was referring to, yes. I've heard or read it expressed by other people and I think they just may have a point.

By the way, while I'm here, my comment about "Jodelle" being all about the colours could be misunderstood- I should say I LOVE the art in general, but the colour is integral to the art, and in the bonus material where we see the lines without the colour it looks very incomplete. Whereas sometimes when you see colour comics reduced to B & W they actually often look better IMO.
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