Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (1997)

L: 6.5/10

M: 5/10

Analysis from a multi-week illness that has now just become the standard for living:

Ghost World falls into a category we often explore here on Aspirant Lecteur, which includes material that I am aware of existing in the world but not really knowing anything about it. I’ve flipped through this trade before, seen other work by Daniel Clowes, and even watched the majority of the movie based on these issues. It’s always nice to finally check something like this out in greater detail, getting the whole story and gaining some closure.

The issues of Ghost World that make up this trade are pulled from a larger piece of work by Daniel Clowes, Eight Ball, that serves as a melting pot of ideas and stories released weekly and spanning the more significant part of fifteen years. Even though this story begins and finishes, the story is still a melting pot of its own. Two friends struggle to find their footing post-highschool and just kind of mill about. Everyone who crosses their path is subject to their cruel ridicule, and the small town where they live with the same recurring characters offers plenty of fuel.

Enid and Rebecca are the main characters in this story, two girls who end up wanting very different lives. Throughout most of the story, the only thing getting them through the monotony of day to day life is each other, even though cracks of growing up begin to appear on the edges. Enid’s collegiate dreams start the ball rolling on getting on with life and becoming an adult. When she falters on that path, life keeps moving without her, and the monotony changes, and she is left alone to pursue a change.

Most of what happens in these pages doesn’t really seem to matter much. That, along with the black, white, and green coloring of the underground comic style art kind of just keep rolling along without emitting much depth for me. Sure it’s depressing, and all, but the annoying banter between two cruel friends just kind of wore thin on me. Overall I liked the experience, the ending was unexpected but held key with the general theme of the book at the same time. I will gladly display this trade on my shelf, and I will seek out Eight Ball for a future pick.

Analysis from that one broken slat on the blinds that’s annoying but not bad enough to warrant purchasing a new set:

I had never heard of Ghost World and never knew there was a movie about it when I picked this comic. I chose to do so based solely on the cover art, which has served me well and burned me bad in the past. I stick by my choice and will read more by Daniel Clowes, but that does not mean that I loved this pick.

I can’t stand these two main characters. They are the worst kinds of people. It is non stop negativity, hatefulness, and judgment spewed at everyone who crosses their path. I get that it comes from a place of insecurity, but it is so tedious and draining. The only redeeming character was Josh, who they appeared to torture and then fuck, I guess? I got a little lost there. He ends up with the blonde and replaces the brunette’s place in her life, I suppose. The artwork, however, was amazing, and it kept me intrigued and going back.

Had the work had more depth to the characters or the story, then possibly I would have fallen deeply in love with his comic, but for now, it was a Tinder date experience. It came in hot on the looks and wit, but by date two, it’s arrogance was unearned, and it was too shallow to care deeply for. Quick hit it and quit it, and I’m ready for the next!

daniel clowes

Daniel Clowes

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