Graphic Novel Review 250/365: The Death-Ray

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #365GN on Twitter.

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Another banger by Daniel Clowes.

Title: The Death-Ray

Author(s): Daniel Clowes

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (2011)

Age Rating: 17+

This short, larger-paged book is about a guy named Andy that discovers that when he puffs a cigarette, he gets super strong.  Also, his deceased father left him a Death-Ray that only he can use to vaporize things out of existence.  With both parents gone, Andy lives with his grandfather, and he has few friends.  That’s really all you need to know about the plot…

So what’s the hype around Daniel Clowes?  His art is straight-forward, although, there is no mistaking his style:

His characters are fairly flat and don’t go through much change.

But his books are still interesting as hell.

After reading three of his books, I think I’ve figured out part of his appeal: Clowes creates flat casts of characters that do not go through much change, but he has some weird shit happen to them, and in doing so, mixed with the anachronistic mod art style, he creates a form of comic storytelling that is unique and memorable.

There you go.

I’m interested to know if you agree with me or not.  You might not like this book.  The characters are not very relatable or likable, but what happens to them is interesting.  I might have to try and use this shape of story if I ever teach creative writing again.  I am reticent to say that the style would not make a good film, but it worked for Ghost World, although, those characters were a bit more round that those in The Death-Ray or Patience.

Happy reading!

Eric

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