« In many ways, I thought, the perfect night would be a string of unanswered doors. » Dan Clowes, Immortal, Invisible
For our lucky thirteenth check on October’s calendar, we’ll stalk the neighbourhood through Dan Clowes’ eyes with his bittersweet and appropriately haunting Hallowe’en memoir, from the 16th issue of Eightball (Nov. 1995, Fantagraphics). It’s also available in their excellent “Caricature” collection.
In the mid-90s, Clowes was going from strength to strength, having gradually evolved past the vastly entertaining but immature snarkiness of his early work… he’s certainly earned full marks for being true to his muse, instead of cranking out routine variations on Zubrick and Pogeybait or Needledick the Bug-Fucker.
As an draftsman, Clowes clearly isn’t a « natural »… he had, and has to work at it. But that’s fine, because his special gift rests in his storytelling. Yet it wouldn’t be the same if he merely wrote scenarios for others to illustrate, since his writing and artwork mesh wholly and perfectly.
As a chronicle of a certain early adolescent mindset, full of turmoil and intense, unpredictable emotions, « Immortal, Invisible » is nearly without peer, matched only by its companion and issue-mate, « Like a Weed, Joe ». I figure that just about any sensitive and perceptive person who’s suffered through the stages of a somewhat solitary and awkward late childhood and adolescence can find a bit of themselves in this tale. I know I can relate to its sense of bittersweetness and longing for the fast-receding innocence of childhood.
The full story is ten pages long, and if you aren’t already familiar with it, I couldn’t recommend it more fervently.
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