Call her shoujo (girl comics) or call her josei (lady comics), the surprise winner of two Golden Globes last night, zeitgeist idol Lena Dunham has been called the voice of her generation—or at least a voice IN a generation. According to this Vulture piece, she keeps some graphic novels on her nightstand, including Daniel Clowes’ GHOST WORLD and and Julie Doucet’s Long Time Relationship. Dunham explains “I love children’s books and graphic novels, especially ones with scrappy girls at the center.”

Whether this is actual reading by Dunham or a PR answer (the Doucet book is pretty obscure to be an obvious choice; it likewise isn’t a graphic novel), one thing is clear: even the cohort of non-nerdy young women who are most interested in sex, college loans, and getting into The Woods on Saturday are finally a perfectly plausible potential audience for graphic novels.

Between Dunham and Rookie mag Tavi Gevinson‘s avowed liking for graphic novels, America is growing its own eventual josei audience.

Speaking of Clowes and HBO, when last we heard, he was developing a show called The Landlord for the network. The project was announced last summer and hasn’t been heard from since—anybody hear about any updates?


  1. I’d love for the West to grow its own solid josei scene (and to get more josei manga titles translated too!)

    I wonder if she’s read Strangers in Paradise– in a few years I could see her as a good Francine for a TV series!

  2. Isn’t there an old Evan Dorkin comic about this, comic fans getting irrationally excited by the hint of an actual celebrity reading comics, and how fans of other art forms don’t do that. “Did you hear, George Clooney reads books! Just like me!”

    (Is George Clooney still a hip reference for an “actual celebrity”? I feel old…)

  3. @BobH

    While I love your point and your example is funny, I was surprised to learn other hobbyists do the exact same thing. I know some knitters who do this a LOT. Welders, too. Like, did you know Bob Dylan and Jack White are welders? I do because the welders I know talk about it a lot.

    Either knitters and welders are crazier than comic readers or everyone is more alike than it seems.

  4. With all due respect to Evan’s hilarious cartoon, my point here was not that “famous people read comics so we all can now!” but that thought leaders in a demographic group traditionally not seen as friendly to comics culture are now embracing it. This is something I haven’t seen in the last decade or so.

    The celebrity endorsement is a part of marketing culture as old as human nature. And yes they do endorse movies and books and TV and milk and skateboards and sports teams and everything else.

  5. Oh, she’s a “thought leader”, not a celebrity? That’s different.

    One sec, I need to google the emoticon for rolling my eyes…

    Okay, this will have to do: (9_9)

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