Best Graphic Novelist

Daniel Clowes

With his landmark 2000 graphic novel Ghost World, Dan Clowes helped to redefine literature in our era as something not just to be read but also seen: a transformation of the mind and soul whose art took the form of words and pictures, yet was definitely for grownups. In that book as well as in 2006’s Art School Confidential and his other works, Clowes’ ear for achingly authentic dialogue and his command of disparate drawing styles create narratives of unprecedented emotional honesty. His new book, Wilson, is set mostly in Oakland — where both Clowes and its titular protagonist reside. Wilson is the kind of guy who sits down across from you at cafe tables and asks how you’re doing, what you’re working on, and whether you have a spouse and kids. Answer him in monosyllables and he just keeps asking. Ignore him and he cusses you out. He’s not a misanthropist, Clowes insists, but rather a guy who holds his fellow human beings to an impossibly high standard and can’t bear to see how consistently they fail to make the grade.

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