Clowes Encounters of the Nerd Kind

Daniel Clowes/Drawn and Quarterly

Just to clear up any confusion created by that headline, cartoonist Dan Clowes‘ surname doesn’t really sound like “close”; it rhymes with “browse.” And he’s really not all that nerdy, even though being a celebrated comic-book artist and former fanboy is arguably the height of nerdiness. (Or is it geekiness? I can never keep them straight.) Anyway, if Clowes is a nerd, then we’re all nerds now. When I recently sat down to talk with him, Clowes observed how the comic-book scene has gone from a being a “sad little world” to a “sad big world”: “When I was in high school, if you said you liked superheroes or Lord of the Rings, you were just like a hopeless reject, and now those are the biggest things in the world. Even Avatar is a total nerd thing, and yet our popular culture has somehow made all that stuff acceptable…I don’t think there are any outsiders anymore. It’s good for the outsiders; I don’t know if it’s good for our culture.” 

The full interview is here. Check it out for more on Clowes’ new book, Wilson, plus why he hates the term “graphic novel,” the inside scoop on New Yorker covers, how Charles Manson’s eyes ended up on a soda can, and much more.