Cartoonist Daniel Clowes continues his media rounds in his local paper:

Clowes, an illustrator for the “New Yorker,” is traditional in other ways, too. At a time when print is down and young cartoonists are turning to the Web, Clowes still draws everything by hand — “I’ll never type in a url to look at comics,” he says — and he was so shaken when Cody’s Books closed in Berkeley that he relates it to how a Catholic would feel if the only church in town shut its doors.

“That (book store) was the focal point of my life,” Clowes says. Like many of his characters, Clowes spends his time in local spots. He wrote and drew “Mister Wonderful,” the New York Times comic strip, at Posh Bagel on Piedmont Avenue. Most of “Wilson” came to life at Jennie’s Cafe on Grand Avenue.

D&Q’s Peggy Burns notes that this story got excellent play on the front cover of the Oakland Tribune.


And for added measure the front page had one of those great “Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things” photos!


  1. Clowes won’t type in a url to read comics?

    Just like I’ll never drive a car that I can’t start by hand cranking, or talk on a telephone that isn’t made out of a ram’s horn, like the one Wilma Flintstone had.

    We all have to draw the line somewhere.

  2. ‘“I’ll never type in a url to look at comics,” he says’

    Yeah, I like to intentionally limit my exposure to great material too. God forbid I should find something I might like!

  3. Yeah, I like to intentionally limit my exposure to great material too. God forbid I should find something I might like!

    Traditionalism of that sort isn’t so unusual. If someone reads a wide variety of material, there are many more good reads out there than he could read during his lifetime anyway. Many people only read books by their favorite authors. If Clowes had to choose between reading an electronic version of a book by a favorite cartoonist or going without it, perhaps he’d read the e-version.


  4. Synsidar, that’s somewhat understandable. I think what really bugs me (and is likely to bother others) is the condescension his statement carries. It seems to imply that comics on the web aren’t real comics, that they’re not worth of attention. It’s a sort of snobbishness–if it’s not on paper, it doesn’t have any value.

    I’d imagine people said similar things when television began to supplant radio way back in the day…

  5. Despite my teasing above, Clowes certainly has the right to develop and apply whatever set of aesthetic standards for his own life and reading habits that he likes. Free country and all that. Like Synsidar says, it’s not like he’s going to run out of things to read. Besdies, going strictly on the quote he’s not saying webcomics aren’t comics, he’s simply saying he has no personal interest in reading them online. I assume he’d look at something like Achewood in its’ printed version.

    But all of that doesn’t mean Clowes isn’t an crank. And being a great artist doesn’t mean you can’t also be an old fool about certain things.

    A pretty high percentage of comics’ greatest talents are also Grade A, inflating-earth, female-void, A=A, real-music-is-only-played-on-78-via-Victrola cranks. It’s part of the fun, and to be expected from a group of people who have in common a willingness/compulsion to spend most of every day inside drawing cartoons as their life’s work. Their crankitude obviously doesn’t invalidate their art, but by the same token their art doesn’t always justify their crankitude.

  6. I also don’t like reading comics online but it’s not because I believe the products of years past are superior to todays higher tech versions. I believe that certain experiences are richer because of the materials they are made with. I have tons of digital music that I listen to all the time but when I put on a vinyl record there is a visceral, physical experience that is far richer than just clicking a button. I think the same goes for print. With a comic printed on papar you have the object in your hands, you can feel the weight of the stock, smell the ink, see it layed out on the table with the other comics acquired that day. To me, looking at comics on a screen feels cold and lifeless. If I want to watch cartoon narrative on a screen I’ll watch..cartoons;)