Ghost World

This gem among graphic novels, which originally appeared in several issues of Eightball and was first collected in 1997, finally receives its Bureau review.

Title: Ghost World
Author: Daniel Clowes.
ISBN: 1560974273

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Enid and Rebecca graduate high school, roam around the city, tease their closest male friend, play stupid pranks, plan for their future, revisit their pasts, browse a porn shop, and drift apart. Somehow, Clowes makes their alienation and meanderings entertaining and thought-provoking.

High Points

1. We see the world from the central characters’ perspectives, but we can also assess the central characters from the world’s point of view.


“You’ve grown into a very beautiful young woman.”
Enid, making with only a little irony the sort of comment she would have mocked if anyone else had said it.

…And then she gets on the bus.

Low Points

The Daniel Clowes cameo isn’t really a bad thing, but it seems unnecessary.

The Scores

Originality: 6/6.

Artwork: 6/6. The artwork has a washed-out look that suits the characters and story, and Clowes has a remarkable eye for those details which communicate the personalities of people and locale.

Story: 5/6. The film adapation features greater focus, but this more closely matches real life.

Characterization: 6/6. The characterization, especially of the principals, ranks with some of the best conventional short stories I’ve read.

Emotional response: 6/6 “God, I’m having a semi-religious experience.”

Flow 5/6. Ghost World has a deliberately fragmented storyline, but most elements carry over nicely.

Overall: 6/6 Of all the comics that I have lent to non-comic-reading friends, no other has been subsequently purchased as many times as this one. Clowes has crafted a classic.

In total, Ghost World receives a score of 40/42.