Legendary artist and author Daniel Clowes' newest masterpiece
The celebrated Oakland graphic novelist releases his most ambitious book yet. Clowes will sit down for a Q&A with Diablo's Pete Crooks on March 23.
Daniel Clowes’ new graphic novel, Patience, is described as “a cosmic time warp death trap to the primordial infinite of everlasting love.” Which is a lot to wrap your head around, until you get sucked into its wildly original examination of love, parenthood, and mortality. It’s also a psychedelic sci-fi adventure, complete with ray guns and time travel.
Patience is the first new book for Clowes—whose Ghost World is one of the best-selling graphic novels of all time—in six years. It features the type of mind-bending artwork and complex, envelope-pushing narrative that have made Clowes one of the most acclaimed cartoonists of our time. “I’ve had this crazy, complicated story bouncing around in my head for so long,” he says. “It’s strange to finally have it out in the world.”
Patience unfolds a love story about a man who trips back in time to protect his family. Clowes says he started writing the story in 2011, a year before the Oakland Museum of California celebrated his first 25 years as a cartoonist with a major retrospective and The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, a monograph of his work, was released.
“The monograph forced me to go back and have a conversation with my 25-year-old self. I realized that I was so much different—almost not the same person at all,” says Clowes. “That brought me to this idea of looking at a character’s younger and older selves, and seeing where they connected.”
This is a big year for Clowes. In addition to Patience, a movie version of his 2010 book, Wilson, is scheduled to hit theaters in the fall. The film features Clowes’ screenplay and stars Woody Harrelson as the misanthropic title character, who Clowes says “represents the version of myself that has the worst possible thoughts, and then actually says them out loud.”
“Fortunately, there is something about Woody Harrelson that is just so likable, he can say the same lines and audiences won’t be horrified,” Clowes says.