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