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Ghost World Summary & Study Guide
Ghost World Summary & Study Guide Description
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes is a graphic novel about Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer, two girls who have recently graduated from high school. Enid and Rebecca spend most of their time making fun of other people they encounter and occasionally playing mean tricks on them. Enid and Rebecca both become romantically interested in a young man named Josh, which causes tension between Enid and Rebecca. This tension is heightened by the possibility that Enid might leave for college.
In the first chapter, Enid and Rebecca sit in Rebecca's bedroom and watch television. Enid tells Rebecca about a diner named Angels where she always sees a Satanist couple whom she finds interesting. The last time Enid ate there she met a strange man named Bob Skeetes.
In chapter two, Enid is holding a garage sale, but does not appear interested in actually selling anything because she abandons the garage sale to go to Angels with Rebecca in the hopes of seeing the Satanists. Enid and Rebecca do not see the Satanists at Angels, but do randomly run into them at a grocery store. Enid and Rebecca makes fun of the male Satanist for only buying Lunchables.
Enid cuts her hair into a punk style in the third chapter and goes with Rebecca to Angels and another cafe. Enid complains about every guy there, but Enid tells Rebecca that she is planning to meet a cartoonist the next week whose work she enjoys. Upon seeing the cartoonist, Enid is disappointed. At the end of the chapter, Enid explains to Rebecca that she is so sexually frustrated that she cannot even masturbate.
In chapter four, Enid calls Rebecca to say that she went to a pornography store with their mutual friend Josh earlier that day. The store makes Josh very uncomfortable. Enid also explains the story of the first time she had sex. Enid seems far more concerned with Rebecca's reaction to her sexual experience than the experience itself.
In the fifth chapter, Enid and Rebecca go to a 1950s themed diner named Hubba Hubba. While eating there, they go through the personal advertisements in a magazine and decide to call one of the men, claiming to be the woman he is looking for, and tell him to meet at Hubba Hubba. Enid and Rebecca talk Josh into driving them back to Hubba Hubba to witness the man from the personal advertisement's humiliation. The man soon figures out a joke is being played and curses at Enid, Josh, and Rebecca as he leaves, which makes all three feel remorseful.
Enid and Rebecca are eating at Angels at the beginning of chapter six and see Josh walking by outside, and they talk to him briefly. Later, Enid and Rebecca see the female Satanist by herself at a movie theater. By eavesdropping, Enid and Rebecca discover that the Satanists are no longer a couple.
Chapter seven begins with Enid and Rebecca going through old photographs, which leads Enid on a search to find a record from her childhood. Enid and Rebecca search the record stores but are unsuccessful, so they go to eat at Angels. Enid and Rebecca argue in the diner over the possibility of Enid leaving for college. Both girls cry over the fight, and Enid goes over to Josh's apartment and almost has sex with him before leaving.
In the eighth chapter, Enid prepares to take an entrance exam and move away to college. Enid tells Rebecca that Josh likes Rebecca more than Enid, and Rebecca begins seeing Josh. After Enid takes the entrance exam, she goes on a short trip with Rebecca to Cavetown, USA to relive Enid's only happy childhood memory. On the trip, Enid and Rebecca discuss the possibility of Rebecca moving away with Enid, but Rebecca ultimately rejects the idea. Back at home, Enid receives a letter from Strathmore College telling her that she did not pass the entrance exam. Enid visits Rebecca at work and goes to the beach where she gets an astrological reading done by Bob Skeetes. Enid leaves the beach and sees a woman painting "Ghost World" on a building, and Enid chases after this woman but cannot catch her. Enid boards a bus and leaves town.
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Fiction | Graphic Novel/Book | Adult | Published in 1997
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Ghost World Inebriated Analysis
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Life has been hectic lately. We apologize for the lateness of this episode. Join us as we discuss Ghost world, A graphic novel that was later adapted into a movie.
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Ghost World at 20: the comic-book movie that refused to conform
The astute and unconventional adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ source material remains one of the most unique examples of the genre
I n the 20 years since Ghost World was released, nerd culture has become dominant culture, turning a term once associated with the dweeby outcasts of 80s comedies to a shorthand nearly everyone can self-apply. Now you’re a nerd for seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp on opening day. In truth, the term was always meaningless, whether it applied to pitiable dorks with taped-together glasses and pocket protectors or the hordes jamming Hall H at ComicCon every year, hyped up over the biggest movies on the planet. Authentic nerds are exiled from the culture entirely – few people want to spend time around them, much less pay money to see them on the screen.
And so despite excellent reviews, superb performances, and abundant insight into the lives of such alienated misfits, Ghost World was not a hit in 2001, but has a cult following, which is perhaps the proper fate for a film that clings to the arcane. Based on Daniel Clowes’ comic book and directed by Terry Zwigoff, who co-wrote the script with Clowes, the film clearly loves these salty misanthropes and brings the audience into the private spaces where they dance along to 60s Bollywood numbers or pick through 30s blues rarities on 78, with their pops and cracks and evocative warps. But Clowes and Zwigoff have the integrity to allow their characters to be off-putting or cruel, and to make the kinds of terrible mistakes that account for their loneliness.
Take the very first scene with Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), best friends rolling their eyes through a valedictory speech at their high school graduation. “High school is like the training wheels for the bicycle of real life” is an eye-roller of an opening line to be sure, but the speaker is wearing head gear from a near-fatal accident from drug and alcohol abuse and they can’t stand to see her turn that experience into lame inspirational bromides. “I liked her so much better when she was an alcoholic crack addict,” Enid snorts. She instinctually defaults to the meanest thing she could think to say. It’s both a weapon and and a defensive mechanism.
For starters, Ghost World is about how much that bicycle analogy stinks. Enid and Rebecca haven’t even looked at their bikes in four years, much less learned how to ride them, and the hard question they face, “What are you going to do now?”, leaves two basic options: conform or not conform. It’s heartbreaking for Enid to learn, over the course of the film, that she and Rebecca don’t share the same answer to that question. When they meet Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a middle-aged record collector with a crummy shared apartment and no romantic prospects, it’s like a visitation from the Ghost of Nonconformist Future. Rebecca recoils in horror. Enid is intrigued. “He’s the exact opposite of everything I hate.”
Seymour was Zwigoff’s creation, not the comic’s, and the two share the same music obsessions and probably plenty of other qualities, too. At first, he’s the target of a prank Enid and Rebecca decide to pull over a personals listing they find particularly pathetic, one where a man seeks a woman over a “moment” that he’s probably imagining. When Seymour turns up at Wowsville, a fake 50s diner they take pleasure in despising, the two have a notably different reaction: Rebecca laughs at this sad little dork in the ratty green cardigan, but Enid is struck by how casually he accepts this humiliation. He expected something like this to happen.
For guys like Seymour – and for future Seymours like Enid – the world has a way of affirming your most uncharitable assessments of it. Or maybe those assessments become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The main difference between Seymour and Enid is that Enid isn’t old enough to realize that she has to participate, however wearily, in a society that repulses her, which means that she can’t afford to get fired from a low-wage job on the first day and she may not find a romantic partner who shares her weird interests. And she learns, over the course of the film, that Rebecca is a conformist at heart, perhaps drawn to gravitational force of Enid’s sarcasm in high school, but now showing an interest in conventional guys and the department-store dish sets that could go in her new apartment. Enid is taking the hard road – and, in the film’s final moments, maybe a road that leads to oblivion.
As a comic book movie, Ghost World is subtly extraordinary, rejecting both the cutesy life-as-a-comic-book framing of a film like American Splendor two years later and the slickness of blockbusters to come. There are sequences that feel like a succession of highly detailed panels, like the “Jaan Pechechaan Ho” opening, which peers into the odd lives of people in Enid’s boxy apartment complex before we see her dancing in her graduation gown. But Zwigoff, whose only previous credits were the brilliant documentaries Louie Bluie and Crumb, isn’t given to flashy displays of artistry. He and Clowes trust that the types of vignettes that comprise Clowes’ comics – offbeat, mordantly funny, with an ever-so-slightly elevated realism – will not only cohere on screen, but have the same graphic vividness.
This may be Enid’s world, but there are worlds within worlds in Ghost World, each a short story in themselves, much like those apartment rooms in the opening sequence. And everywhere you look, there’s something provocative or funny or astutely observed: a remedial art class run by a teacher (Ileana Douglas) who favors a “confrontational” tampon-in-a-teacup display over Enid’s impulse to draw an illustration of Don Knotts; a store called Masterpiece Video where “every film is a masterpiece”, but no one knows the difference between Fellini’s 8 1/2 and 9 1/2 Weeks; a yard sale where Enid either refuses to sell her old stuff to uncool passersby or prices it too high, like $500 for the dress in which she claims she lost her virginity.
The film is made in the details. Sometimes it’s in details of performance, like Birch’s Enid having a wordless realization that Seymour is a kindred spirit or the way Buscemi suggests that Seymour knows his pedantry about the difference between blues and ragtime is killing his chances with a potential mate, but he can’t stop himself from doing it. Sometimes it’s an item of clothing, like Seymour’s cardigans or Enid’s ironic T-shirts. Zwigoff and Clowes are not above a simple, well-timed fart joke, either. In the context of Ghost World, even a fart can be existentially revealing.
- Scarlett Johansson
- Steve Buscemi
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(Clowes, Daniel. Ghost World. Pg. 09)
Welcome to Ghost World
Come, visit an eerie town where nothing happens. Where people wait for non-existent buses and time freezes in shabby fifties-themed diners. Where perverts and pseudo-bohemian art-school nerds populate the streets. Sounds boring, doesn't it?
What meaning can life have when you live in a town like this? Join our edgy protagonists Enid and Rebecca as they desperately battle with this question. Do they succeed to find their purpose in Ghost World? Let's find out!
Introducing the Text: A Synopsis
'Ghost World' is a contemporary realist graphic novel written and drawn by Daniel Clowes. It was initially published in installments through Clowes' own comic book series 'Eightball', from 1993 to 1997, and was eventually published in its current graphic novel form in 1997. Critically acclaimed and commercially successful, Ghost World has gathered a cult-fan-following, and has been adopted into a major motion picture by the same title.
Clowes' 8-chapter linear narrative does little in the way of plot development. Indeed, very little seems to happen as you flip from the cover page to the last. But what makes the comic special is this very portrayal of modern boredom- of purposelessness, emptiness, and a dull existence. The narrative follows its two young protagonists as they try to come to terms with their adult life, and to look for things to do in a dead (read: ghost-like) town. With it's disturbingly real characters, vivid portrayal of a concretized suburban space, and witty peppering of dark humor, Ghost World becomes just the right portrayal of the modern world we live in today.
About This Website
This website serves as an e-portfolio about Ghost World . It has been created by a bunch of English post-grad students, to function as a one-stop study guide for their peers. It contains everything from the factual details of the novel and the author, to thematic analysis, structural and narrative investigations, to an in-depth discussion of salient issues and concerns. The goal has been to create an online reservoir of the most important resources, that will hopefully help you understand and appreciate the novel.
So, to complete noobs and hardcore fan-people alike, welcome to our website!
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Ghost World (2001) Analysis
In Ghost World, director Terry Zwigoff brings Daniel Clowes' graphic novel characters to vivid, vibrant life. The movie captures the same ironic, bittersweet tone of Clowes' writing, tracking Enid's dogged search for authenticity in a world populated with Holden Caulfield-spite-worthy stupid, shallow phonies and creating a powerful adaptation which, although straying from its source material, remains serious and sad without ever losing its sense of humor. A loving and level gaze at the tedium and mystery of teenage life in contemporary America, Ghost World also approximates the author's clean, quiet drawing style through its unhurried editing, unobtrusive, subtle compositions, and general unremarkability of the camerawork. In this universe, the characters and not the cinematics carry the story, and the form reflects the simplicity of their lives, helping to portray a realistic lonely and misunderstood (not least of all by herself) young girl who has just graduated high school, but,...
Between - Journal of the Italian Association for the Theory and Comparative History of Literature
Giorgio Busi Rizzi
Ghost World (1997) is a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Two teenage girls, having ended high school, confront with the passage to adult life in a spectral American suburbia scattered with non-places: diners, shopping malls, vinyl and comic stores. From their own bedrooms, the two spend their time cynically commenting the fatuity of US pop culture, trapped between a haunting past and an uncertain future. This contribution intends to discuss space in Ghost World from three main perspectives, concerning the material book, the visual level (page layout, framing, colors) and the diegetical one (investigating spaces inside the story).
e article explores representations of " realistic " teen girlhood in popular culture in order to examine the current constructions of power made available to girls. Specifi cally, it focuses on three recent popular and critically acclaimed fi lms: Mean Girls, irteen and Ghost World. e dominant discourses put forward in these fi lms—girls as mean, as wild, and as alien-ated—naturalize negative behavior as a normal part of girlhood. In the terrain where these distinct, yet overlapping and reinforcing discourses on girlhood operate, postfeminism is taken for granted. Girls are portrayed as facing only individual concerns rather than any group-based injustices and, therefore, as not needing collective deliberation, evaluation, or action to solve their problems. e resulting discursive formation works to limit access to feminist and other oppositional discourses that name girls' experiences and link their feelings to the ongoing quest for gender justice.
Gitaigo and Giongo are effects that one encounters when reading Japanese manga. While giongo are the effects that represent actual sounds, gitaigo are effects that convey emotion, action, and other non-auditory effects. These onomatopoeic and mimetic effects assist in connecting the reader to the material, and help in the development of empathy towards a character. Benshi, narrators for silent films, performed a similar work in Japan; they not only told the audience what was going on in the film, but also added to the film to direct the audience towards their reactions to what was presented on screen. This paper will explore the ways in which gitaigo (and, to an extent, giongo) work on connecting the audience to the silent medium of comics in ways rather similar to the work of benshi. This exploration will demonstrate the importance of utilizing “sound” to connect the audience to a work on a deeper level than by the visuals alone.
Sarah Juliet Lauro
edited collection with Kim Manganelli
An overview of the films of Canadian filmmaker Andrea Dorfman
This is a chapter from a textbook for BA students called "Film & Culture" (ed. Dorottya Jászay and Andrea Velich, Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University, 2016)
University of Western Ontario, Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository
[To read this dissertation, please click on the link to http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/3091/ above] It is difficult to think of something as formally resistant to definition as a ghost. What is more ambiguous than something described as “haunting”? Few currents in literature have been as prominent – and as comparatively unremarked – as the current critical and literary dependence on the language of spectrality. While ghost stories in prose have gained substantial attention, in drama and poetry ghosts and hauntings have found less critical purchase. In response, this dissertation takes up a selection of drama and poetry from Ireland, South Africa, and the Caribbean to illustrate the theoretical and critical potential of ghosts and ghost stories in twentieth-century Anglophone world literatures. Selections are picked for their illustrative potential and thematic richness. The constellation of texts articulate a dazzling range of ghosts and ghost stories used creatively to reflect deep investigations and critical awarenesses of metaphors of haunting in epistemological and literary discourses. The first half of “About Telling” examines ghost stories as performances on the theatrical stage to ask questions of relation and narrative (in Conor McPherson’s The Weir), nation and song (in Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats…), globalizing technologies and economic change (in Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona’s Sizwe Banzi is Dead), theatre as technology (in Samuel Beckett’s Shades trilogy) and, finally, mourning and the lament (in J.M. Synge’s Riders to the Sea and Derek Walcott’s The Sea at Dauphin). Each chapter takes up a re-envisioned relationship between drama, narrative, and ghosts. The second half of “About Telling” turns to poetry and questions of lyric theory: tradition and spectropoetics (in Eavan Boland), gothic prosopopoeia (in Breyten Breytenbach), lyric experimentation (in Samuel Beckett), and ekphrastic addresses (in the discrete responses of David Dabydeen and NourbeSe Philip) to the history of the Zong. Once decreated, poetry’s intense pressure on meaning-making in language reveals not stories but ghosts themselves. Refusing transcendental definitions of ghosts and hauntings, this dissertation suggests that the manifold significance of terms such as “ghosts” and “haunting” can organize formal readings of poetry and drama in a recognizable heuristic. In short, language affords the resources for ghosts to enter and survive in our world.
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Daniel Clowes sheds cynicism and embraces maturity
In his latest graphic novel, ‘monica,’ the comics icon explores the inescapable power that our parents hold over us.
Many years ago, I was having dinner with a well-known writer and his then-12-year-old daughter when the subject turned to the poet Philip Larkin. Without warning, the writer and his daughter began to recite Larkin’s funniest poem, “ This Be the Verse ,” a famously vulgar, sing-songily serious joke about the harm that parents inevitably do to their children. Like a family vaudeville act, they let Larkin’s perfect final lines lilt: “Man hands on misery to man./ It deepens like a coastal shelf./ Get out as early as you can,/ And don’t have any kids yourself.”
Fine advice, maybe, but — and I took this to be the point of the parlor trick — it is always already too late to do anything about the parents we have, or about those we had, or even about the wide abyssal plain of not having them. We are, each of us, products of the past that bore us, a past that lingers at the edge of perception the way a comics panel we just read does, peripherally shaping our sense of the one we are now reading. The trouble with origin stories is that they are maps, which is why we keep reworking them, hoping that we might finally find our way to someplace new, or at least someplace where we can start again.
“In a way, Penny had given me the best possible life,” says the eponymous narrator of “ Monica ,” Daniel Clowes’s first graphic novel in more than seven years. “She’d allowed me to invent my own provenance.”
Monica is speaking of the mother who abandoned her when she was a young child, never having told her who her father was. In the years before, the pair subsists in hippie dissipation, operating a candle shop that burns down, sometimes inhabiting squalid group houses, sometimes the cluttered apartments of men Penny dates. Then, on the verge of something like stability, Penny vanishes, leaving Monica to be raised by her grandparents. “From that moment on, I lived a normal life, happy and safe from harm, but I never saw my mother again,” Monica says over a panel that finds her held by her grandmother on the porch of her new home, her few belongings crammed into a paper shopping bag.
In an earlier book, Clowes — who is best known for his graphic novel “ Ghost World ” and other stories that he serialized in his comic book “ Eightball ” — might have immediately undercut that “safe from harm.” Here, by contrast, it only gradually becomes clear that Monica will never be fully safe because the harm has already been done. Following her through her life, we see how totally her parents shape her even in their absence, from the candle business that makes her rich — an echo of the store her mother ran — to her growing fascination with a paranoid cult that could yet give her back, perhaps literally, the family she lost. She may not have really know her parents, but, as Larkin might still warn her, “They fill you with the faults they had/ And add some extra, just for you.”
Between the longer chapters of Monica’s life, Clowes intersperses a series of shorter, self-contained narratives that play with other genres. In one, two soldiers speak grimly about life in the Vietnam War; another finds a prodigal evading the eerie blue monster people who have taken over his hometown; and so on. These vignettes are, presumably, meant to be read as stories written by Monica herself, tentative attempts to make sense of her patchouli-scented childhood and subsequent abandonment, and their sometimes-glancing connections to her own life lend them a slippery proximity to fact.
Even the sections set in the real world — or at least Monica’s version of it — swing languidly from genre to genre, ambling seamlessly into the haunted house of the ghost story, the locked rooms of the cult-recovery memoir, and, ultimately, the small towns of adult romance. In Clowes’s earlier works, such as “ Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron ,” surrealist swerves served as declarations of artistic independence, but they work differently here. Sometimes shocking yet never jarring, the narrative shifts in “Monica” evince its protagonist’s gradual maturation, the stages she passes through as she shapes herself in the absence of the parents who might have guided her.
Throughout, but especially in the interstitial segments, Clowes nods visually to the aesthetics and iconographies of EC Comics , a legendary publisher from the ’40s and ’50s that was best known for its often shocking horror and crime titles. And though he also draws on mid-century war and romance comics, his allusions to more sordid elements of the medium’s past carry a special weight. In these episodes, he seems to be negotiating his own lineage, acknowledging his long-standing debt to a generation of talented artists whose work was largely neglected by the mainstream comics business for decades — thanks in large part to industry-sponsored censorship that helped drive EC out of business. Here we have an alternate genealogy of comic-book history, one that doesn’t subvert the perverse paternalism of Marvel’s and DC’s superheroes so much as it, like Monica herself, seeks a wholly different way of relating to the lost familial past.
Clowes’s visual style is as crisp as ever, all controlled lines and spare colors even when his story explodes into prismatic anarchy, like a businessman in a gray flannel suit sporting a punky mohawk. Sometimes, dense cross-hatching amplifies his restrained inkwork, lending his characters an intermittent fleshy vitality for a panel or two, as if they were suddenly and uncomfortably aware of their own bodies. Other panels are strangely tight, their word bubbles truncated by the edges of the frame, the contents only partially legible — as though someone had zoomed in on an iPhone photograph only to have the device freeze up on them. The technique leaves one with the disquieting sense that someone else has already perused these half-remembered images in search of clues, and that we are studying not the event but the traces of their investigation. Such effects are amplified by the book’s slightly oversize pages, which allow Clowes to produce dense but never busy layouts that, like the sprawling sentences of László Krasznahorkai, almost demand rereading, forcing us to constantly loop back and revisit what was or might have been in Monica’s past.
Though it remains as playfully weird as his early work, “Monica” is largely without the puckish bite that made Clowes a counterculture icon. Instead, it is of a piece with his previous graphic novel, “ Patience ,” a terrific if sometimes plangent time-travel romance about the challenges of really knowing those we love. The themes in “Monica” — abandonment, grief and self-loss, especially — are familiar from a library’s worth of books, but there is nothing maudlin, or even comforting, about the way Clowes explores them. Instead, he comes at them with a steely confidence, consistently guiding his story onto unsettling new paths, following them through the dream thicket to the book’s magnificent final pages, which will infuriate some and puzzle many more, but which are still entirely in keeping with everything that precedes them. “Monica” is a work of tremendous artistic maturity, one that finds Clowes progressing steadily forward even as he bends back, as one must, to his many origins.
By Daniel Clowes
Fantagraphics. 106 pp. $30
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Books | cults, romance, war and mom: daniel clowes’ new book ‘monica’ explores the ’60s.
For years, cartoonist Daniel Clowes knew he wanted to start a book with two Army grunts, Johnny and Butch, smoking cigarettes in their foxhole in Vietnam as bullets flew and mortar rounds boomed nearby.
“These characters are kind of living in another era,” he says recently on a call from his home in Oakland. “Unaware of what’s going on back home.
“I thought that was such a strong idea because it was a real separation of two very distinct worlds,” says Clowes, whose books include such graphic novels as “Eight Ball,” “Ghost World,” “Wilson” and “Patience.” “You have these two naive guys, thinking they’re fighting World War II. They think they’re still in this bygone 20th-century era.
“But back home, everything is changing. Everything they’re counting on is completely different.”
His new book, “Monica,” begins with that chapter. Clowes, 62, wanted to explore the ’60s in this book, and the Vietnam War fits solidly into that plan.
But what he realized he really wanted to write and illustrate was a book about his mother, and the eight chapters that follow focus on the life of Monica, whose mother Penny was inspired by Clowes’ mom.
“I didn’t want to do just straight autobiography or biography,” Clowes says. “I wanted to have the room to kind of not feel like I was beholden to the facts, which is why I think I always do fiction.
“I needed a narrator for the story and realized early on it was the baby,” he says of Monica, who was born to the unmarried Penny, Johnny’s high school sweetheart and fiancée, while Johnny was still in that foxhole. “She was the one sort of telling what it was like to grow up in this world.
“Once I had that in place, I saw that all the other stories that I’d been thinking of in the book were all about this character,” Clowes says. “It felt like I’d almost raised a child that I understood. You know, you often have characters, you see them as adults, as middle-aged characters, and you kind of imagine their upbringing, but we don’t really know.
“In this case, I felt like I knew every minute of her life as a child, so I had a real sense of her as a living character.”
In an interview edited for clarity and length, Clowes talked about his mother, how her absence of interest in parenting influenced the book, and the concept to do each of the nine chapters as entirely different genres of comic books.
Q: What was it about your mother that drew you to tell part of her story here?
A: My mother was just a very distinctive character and very unlike anybody else’s mother. People would talk about their mother and I’d think that couldn’t be more opposite of my mother. I don’t think my mother made me a meal after I was a baby. After that, we would just go out to dinner if we ate dinner together at all.
She decided when I was six that birthday presents were frivolous, like something a consumer was compelled to do, so she never bought me another present. She was very disengaged from my life. So that was all I knew.
Out in the world, she was a very remarkable woman who ran her own auto repair shop on the South Side of Chicago. She was a martial artist. At 70 she went to law school and got a law degree. She did all these kinds of amazing things but she was absolutely not a mother in any sense. It was a very disconcerting way to grow up.
As a father, I couldn’t imagine making the same decisions she did. And I wanted to figure out why she did that.
Q: I can imagine it might have certain challenges writing something that’s related to your own family. What was it like to be using your own life more directly in ‘Monica’?
A: When I began the story, my mother was very much alive and I worried about her response to it. You know, she was very defensive about her choices and never accepted that it might not have been great for me. That was very painful for her, so she always kind of argued against it.
I wanted to do it anyway. I always imagined I could somehow keep it from her. You know, she doesn’t follow media of any kind. But I knew she had friends who would probably tell her, ‘I heard about your son’s book on NPR.’ And so I was kind of dreading that, and I think that’s why I started so slowly at the beginning.
But in the middle of the book she died, and then my brother, who was the only other person who was kind of party to this childhood, he also died. So I had nobody left to either argue against me or to corroborate anything or even have any firsthand knowledge of it. That became a whole ‘nother story unto itself, trying to piece together the mystery without any firsthand witnesses.
Q: Penny abandons Monica as a toddler and disappears. We later find out she joined a cult. That and other kinds of faith show up throughout the book.
A: I’m not someone who’s gone through all that experience. I’ve never been drawn to religious ways of thinking or to joining cults and things like that. But I’ve always had a somewhat unhealthy obsession with reading about them, especially all those California cults, which felt like something my mother would do even though she was much more individualistic and it would have been very difficult for her to listen to anybody else.
When you read (about cults), the beginning chapters always seem great. You think, ‘Oh, it would be great to be in the Manson Family! Caring for each other, taking in all these wounded souls, it’s us against the world.’ And then of course you hit the midpoint and all of a sudden you’re killing people or drinking the Kool-Aid or whatever it takes.
(Monica’s) mother just disappeared, a total mystery. So she is looking for some kind of community, but also something to explain how she feels so separate and different. It’s really about examining that loneliness. Like there must be, you must be a creature of faith somehow.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your process. Do you have the script fully written before you start to illustrate?
A: Most of the thinking goes before it. I did those first two stories, I knew somewhat the rest of the book from there. By doing those, it clarified the rest of the book. So I was able to think through exactly what happens. And, of course, a lot of the thinking is stuff that never appears on the page.
I thought about her life from beginning to end. And there are 20 years where none of that makes the comic. It informs it, though. Things like the way she talks and her attitude towards things that you can tell are formed by experiences that you didn’t necessarily see.
So it’s a process of thinking about nothing but the story for years and literally years. Then when it comes time to actually sit down and compose the panel-to-panel sequences, the dialogue and stuff like that, it becomes almost like transcribing. It’s like, OK, I know what happened.
Q: Do you ever find yourself going back to earlier parts of it and rewriting, redrawing?
A: Always. It’s sometimes like doing a gigantic oil painting. Maybe I’ll paint all of the horses over to the side in the beginning, because they’re in the deep background. And then you paint the figures and you go, Oh, those horses don’t quite match for me. And you go back and go over them.
I do all my artwork still on paper and if you look at the paper there are often taped-on panels, like three or four on top of each other. It’s almost a relief map.
Q: So you could flip back and go, ‘Oh, this is where I started?’
A: I often wonder if somebody’s going to wind up with this artwork someday, and they’re going to go, ‘Oh my God, what the hell was he doing?’ I’ll often do four or five things and then go back to the first one.
Q: In terms of the visual style, ‘The Foxhole’ kind of reminds me of ‘Sgt. Rock’ –
A: – or the TV show ‘Combat’ –
Q: – and the ‘Penny’ chapter feels like one of those old romance comics. Tell me about mixing and matching visual styles.
A: One of the very first thoughts about the book was that I was imagining telling a life story using a different genre for each story. I thought that would be a sort of interesting way to do that. And so I started out, you know, I have a war story, and that goes into a sort of young girl romance story, but then that story sort of turns into something else halfway through. And then there’s a kind of supernatural EC Comics story.
But then I found the genres started to merge and, like, pile up on each other so it’s a cacophony of genres. And that felt like much more depth and interest to me than just kind of sticking to the conceit. Then, as it builds up at the end, it builds up to where there’s almost no genre, or the genre is naturalism, real life. Which, of course, gives way to a completely different genre.
And so it sort of became reflective to the way human life is where your babyhood is a genre. You’re a baby and you’re seeing the world, and everything is simple until it’s not. And then everything is combining and getting muddy and chaotic.
Q: When you were finished how did it feel? What were you thinking in terms of looking back at your life with your mother?
A: It’s hard to say. Certainly, I spent so much time thinking about her during the making of the book. I have very mixed feelings. Towards the end of working on the book, I found, under all her junk, a bunch of letters she had written to a friend. It kind of underlined and listed all the answers to all the questions I’ve had growing up. It ended up being a revelation, so I tried to give that to ‘Monica’ too, a little bit.
Daniel Clowes book event
What : Clowes signs his new graphic novel ‘Monica’
When : 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20
Where : Skylight Books, 1818 N, Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
Also : This is a ticket event. To enter the signing line you must by a copy of ‘Monica’ from Skylight Books
For more : Go to www.skylightbooks.com/event/skylight-daniel-clowes-signs-monica
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Comic Book / Ghost World
Ghost World is an indie comic series by graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, which appeared in Eightball #11�18 between June 1993 and March 1997. It follows Deadpan Snarkers Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer as they face the summer after high school graduation.
The character of Josh, an alienated friend (and quasi-love interest) of Enid's (and Rebecca's), also plays a major role in the comic.
Enid and Rebecca's conversations would not be out of place in a Daria episode, though they lack the moral core which would make them that kind of Deadpan Snarker .
A film adaptation was released in 2001, directed by Terry Zwigoff and featuring Thora Birch as Enid and Scarlett Johansson as Rebecca.
This comic contains examples of:
- Author Avatar : "Enid Coleslaw" is an anagram of "Daniel Clowes".
- Deadpan Snarker : Enid, Rebecca, and Josh.
- Eagleland : Type 2. Enid's nameless town is a wasteland of strip malls populated by the lonely and troubled.
- Greasy Spoon : Enid and Rebecca hang out at the Quality Cafe.
- Guess Who I'm Marrying? : Enid's father remarries the worst possible (in Enid's opinion) of his previous romantic interests.
- Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration : Enid: I think I'm going crazy from sexual frustration. Rebecca: And you haven't heard of the miracle of masturbation?
- No Celebrities Were Harmed : The male "Satanist" is a virtual dead-ringer for the late founder of the Church of Satan , Anton LaVey.
- Prank Date : What Enid pulls on Seymour.
- Surrounded by Idiots : Most of Enid's classmates.
- This Loser Is You : Seymour.
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Ghost World Endures for Its Cynicism—and Pathos
A Criterion Collection re-release of the 2001 classic of teen disaffection feels dated in all the best ways.
“This is so bad it’s almost good,” Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) says with a laugh to her best friend Enid (Thora Birch) at their high-school graduation, marveling at the unironic chintziness of the band onstage. “This is so bad, it’s gone past good and back to bad again,” Enid snarks back. If the early minutes of Terry Zwigoff’s 2001 classic of disaffection Ghost World have any dramatic tension at all, it lies in that never-ending debate: What enjoyment, sincere or otherwise, can we draw from our increasingly decrepit culture? Or, to put it differently, what’s it like to be a teenager in the 1990s?
When Ghost World came out 16 years ago, it felt like the apotheosis of alienated Generation X cool, a movement of sorts that had roots in the music, alternative comics, and indie filmmaking of the ’80s and ’90s. It pushed back against the conformist monoculture of the Reagan era, embraced a strange kind of kitsch that reflected on the even more homogenous 1950s, and traded punk’s angry, vocal rebelliousness for an attitude of total remove. As a remastered, director-approved edition is released by the Criterion Collection this week, Ghost World feels undeniably dated, but in the best way—a reminder of an age since passed, told with the kind of universal empathy that helps it endure.
Daniel Clowes on Creating Wilson and Translating Him to Screen
Dan clowes, author of 'ghost world,' has one rule for writing dialogue.
Boys Are Not Defective
Ghost World sprang from the mind of Daniel Clowes, the prolific writer and illustrator who was best known at the time for his long-running comic book Eightball , released from 1989 to 2004 (on an ever-more irregular schedule). Clowes was undoubtedly indebted to the work of indie cartoonists like Robert Crumb, legends of past generations who had upended their industry with explicit, countercultural imagery and storytelling that also plumbed the dark side of America’s folksy past. But while Clowes’ early work channeled that nightmarish vibe, his later approach was often more internal, told with a veneer of small-town friendliness. He was fascinated with nerdy obsessives, social outcasts, and the growing sameness of pop culture.
In Ghost World , Enid presents herself as an outcast—a bold act of rebellion in earlier generations that has since lost its effectiveness. When Enid dyes her hair green in the middle of the film, she’s immediately mocked by the aggressive clientele at the local record store. “Didn’t they tell you? Punk rock is over,” John (Pat Healy) crows at her. “You really want to fuck up the system? Go to business school. That’s what I'm going to do. Get a job in some big corporation and, like, fuck things up from the inside.” Enid protests that she was going for a “1977 original punk rock look”—an aesthetic that even Rebecca confesses went over her head.
Ghost World the comic is a quieter, impressionistic work, with Enid (who is more brittle and outwardly negative) and Rebecca (slightly more conventional, if similarly cynical) wandering around their nameless town after graduating from high school and remarking on the pointlessness of everything they see. It’s a narrative of growing up and growing apart that soaks the reader in alienation and despair. When Clowes began to adapt the work for screen, he initially tried to transcribe his writing word for word, but quickly realized a film would require a clearer narrative to succeed.
The finished product is ascribed to both Clowes and Zwigoff, who before Ghost World had directed the acclaimed, bizarre documentary Crumb (about Robert Crumb’s life and career). They did a beautiful job capturing the original comic’s tone, down to the slightly oversaturated visuals and the almost robotic beats of its early scenes, where Enid and Rebecca present a united front of disgust toward everything. It also makes the first act of the film almost embarrassingly prickly on re-watch; the unabated scorn on display for everyone they run into, ranging from high school airheads to sad-sack waiters, can come off as unnecessarily vicious.
But Ghost World succeeds not because of its caustic humor, but because of its understanding of its leads, who are as lost and rootless as the targets of their mockery. Enid (her full name, Enid Coleslaw, is an anagram of Daniel Clowes) shuns obvious affection and commits acts of outright cruelty, like responding to a pathetic-sounding personal ad with a prank call and then lurking at a restaurant to watch her victim Seymour (Steve Buscemi) realize he’s been stood up. Clowes, Zwigoff, and Birch’s great achievement is turning this shiftless misanthrope into a sympathetic hero—an effect Clowes obviously struggled to replicate with Wilson , a more recent adaptation of his own work.
Johansson’s wonderfully subtle performance as Rebecca works because you can see, from minute one, that she and her friend are almost doomed to drift apart. Rebecca lets on early that she lacks Enid’s ruthlessness and bottomless well of disdain. Enid then gravitates towards Seymour (a career-defining performance for Buscemi), becoming fascinated by this outcast of a different generation, a record collector who can’t help but correct people over the difference between blues and ragtime. To Enid, Seymour represents some strange fantasy of her future, someone who’s steadfastly refused to conform with anything remotely considered “cool,” even though he’s highly aware of how sad his own life appears from the outside.
It’s the genuine sweetness of Enid and Seymour’s relationship, coupled with the realization that it’s doomed to go nowhere, that makes Ghost World such a lovely work despite its hostility. And it’s Clowes’ refusal to tack toward a happy ending, or even a darkly miserable one, that helps it linger. In the end, Enid gets on a mysterious bus heading to a mysterious future, aware that the route she’s boarding was shut down by the city years ago. Many have interpreted that as a metaphor for suicide, a reading that Clowes initially said he was surprised by . To me, the ambiguity of Enid’s future, and her confusion over her place in the world, is the crux of those final moments. Ghost World might have contempt for the corporate, homogenized world its characters are stuck in, but beneath the sarcastic quips lies deep pathos.
Analysis on Ghost World, the Graphic Novel.
Nor Terry Goofy did while directing the film adaptation with the same title He actually enriched the story by adding “Elliot” plots, while Closes only referred to individuals Of the same age falling in love. “Ghost World” belongs to the world Of comics that deals With normal people leading normal lives.
There are no superheroes and villains. Crime, noir, fantasy or illusion. It stands for realism and reality.
The Story is based not only on Close’s experiences of growing up, but on everybody experiences.The feelings you get by reading it and then by connecting the imagery, the pacing, the dialogue and the characters’ gestures with your own memories of being a restated, misunderstood teenager can literally freak you out. At least it happened to me thinking that someone could be crawling noisily across my mind. This “action to action” novel involves not only some universal identification that shocks through its frankness and naturalness, but also a special language, so real in choice and tone. Ghost World” tells the story of Enid and Rebecca, two teenage friends who have just graduated from high-school and “are facing the unwelcome prospect of adulthood and the uncertain future of their complicated relationship”(Daniel Closes about “Ghost World”b End’s capacity for sarcasm and scorn is unlimited She spends a lot of time with her best friend, Beach, along whom she mocks the stupidity and the snobbery around.
She is more like a teenage extremist, breaking the rules of communication and disobeying social norms but seems to be confused and undecided When it comes to her future plans or to her actual desires.Rebecca is her gentler friend. She likes to rebel against humanity as well, but eventually finds a job and settles down, trying to convince Enid that she’d ether do the same. While End’s definition of being, given by Josh Ellis, their common friend is that Of someone Who defies definition, Beach is the one Who at least tolerates it and who doubts End’s behavior somehow.
End’s vocabulary is also rougher, more violent and always expressing a flush of anger. She seems to have an inclination towards hate and words like “FAA, “hate”, “bucket “lame shtick” and to jerk off’.She constantly uses neologisms and pretentious words on the background of mockery in order to make her lines sound serious, causing her observation to become a matter of life and death. For example, when talking about boys, she says: “I hate all these Obnoxious, extroverted, pseudo-bohemian art-school losers! ” as if every boy in the world follows the same pattern. The more interesting is that Closes places highlight on the *kind” words this character uses. Those boiled words, words like “care”, “handsome, “romantic’ are so hardly used that they need to be pointed out.
The word itself tries to draw attention upon its content and form: “l am special and I am different! ” which makes the reader understand there is a big compromise they make, both the character and the inner voice of the narrator. The exception of this rule, of boys being pseudo-bohemian and so
on, is Daniel Closes himself. Enid tells Rebecca that the only human male she likes is the cartoonist. Taking advantage of her answer, Closes inserts some details about his work, making use of metrification and imposing on the novel.Some critics said that “Ghost World” resembles “Catcher in the Rye’ but for a later generation, Both follow the “coming of that happens as teens mature, only that “Catcher in the Rye” concerns with the male perspective and “Ghost World” with the female one. The main difference stays in the way they communicate their feelings.
Enid seems to care much about how is perceived by the others. She does her best in making herself an outcast, an outsider. She often changes her looks.She sometimes dyes her hair green or dresses like a bunker or vintage-like or wears a cat-woman mask purchased from a sex-shop. I don’t know if it is just for catching the eye or to reflect the levels of her imagination in the mutinous process Of maturation.
Her personality keeps on changing only on the outside, not on the inside. Maybe that’s why Closes chose to draw them in blue and White. Blue is related to the theme Of change and to some sort Of moodiness that is reflective on characters.Rebecca is more like a cold-headed person who stays calm no matter what. Her vocabulary does not change at all, all over the novel.
She does not seem to progress either. Her horizons do not tend to expand. She’s not looking for an atonement of any kind.
She is pleased with what she already feels, with the rinds she already has and maybe that is why she insists on Enid to not go to college or keeps on being somehow jealous of her making new acquaintances. As it occurs to me, she is better in observing than Enid.Rebecca is more practical in making psychological assumptions about the individuals.
She actually uses the theme that made Orwell and Huxley so famous, that of consumerism, of a society of consumers. There is an episode in the first chapter in which she watches her favorite comedian cracking pathetic jokes, “Look at his shoes: if he’s such a “weirdo”, how come he’s wearing Nines? Is what she says. And she is right. There is some sort of black humor regarding the society we live in, people caring more about appearances than about themselves.Rebecca is smart. And she is also sensitive, at least a bit more sensitive than her “partner in crime”, Enid.
Daniel Closes tackles the theme of rejection and of “manipulation of the masses’ by making people believe that what is generally available is also good in Mellower, the minor character representing Enid and Rebecca colleague Who appears from time to time in the novel to bring great news about her career, as or example the fact that she’s been accepted to play in a commercial that promotes the “RIGHT wing” political candidate.Or in the character fjord Crowley, a former friend Of Enid, Who used to listen to alternative rock and spray,
paint “anarchy’ on Enid dad’s car and who is now a student of business school and already planned all of his remaining life, as for example the time he will get retired, be that 35 years old. Enid seems to react negatively to radical changes.
As a consequence, she finds her refuge in swearing at him, better to say, at his back. Closes places highlight on the pejorative words too.These words stay for what needs to be mentioned in Enid.
Her character is based on the stereotypes and click©s of a typical teenager but her anger is meant to make beauty in the world. She makes beauty because tot Close’s skill tot making comparisons to the others. “Otherness” is informant to the extent that makes the reader understand Enid has “an inner life, visual distinction and expressive traits” (Scott McCollum, “Making comics”), Enid stands out because she was meant to be different.Terry Goofy, the director of the movie with the same title, gave her a human body, gave her clothes and made her seem a real extension of teenage angst. He used close-ups and lots of looking over the shoulder shots in order to establish even a greater emotional impact on the viewer, but kept a certain symmetry to Close’s original work. The only difference between the plots is that Goofy made Enid fall in for a senior out of mercy. In fact, there was no love but human understanding.
She got the feeling Of belonging to his world, even though he was an obsessed and lonely collector of vinyl.
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The One Movie Blog
The one movie blog worth reading
I love movies. I have loved movies all my life. I grew up on them. When I was eight years old, I managed to convince myself I would make movies when I grew up. Now I am in the process of getting a degree in Film Studies. I write about film more than ever before, partly because I have to for my classes, mostly because I enjoy it, because I have something to write about. Sometimes it helps me understand the film better; sometimes it helps me understand myself better. I created this blog as a place to showcase my work, and also as an incentive to keep writing reviews, analyses, and essays over breaks, when there’s no one here to grade me. I have tried many times, and failed, to explain in a coherent manner why it is that I love films. Here is my best—and most coherent—guess. Continue Reading
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Ghost world (2001) analysis.
¡Good! Es un film que con sus fallos, logra ser un producto sólido, sutil y con miles de citas que son dignas de reflexión. La película está estupendamente interpretada con maravillosas creaciones de Thora Birch y Steve Buscemi , y encadena situaciones simpáticas de manera fluida, sin sensacionalismos, excentricidad y mordacidad en ambientes muy diversos. ¡Muy recomendable!