by Daniel Clowes
After years of their exploits in the Eightball comic book, those Ghost World girls Enid and Rebecca have their own beautiful book. Enid and Rebecca inhabit Ghost World, that unsettling time between High School and the rest of your life. They are awkward and uncertain, but pushed by unseeing hands headlong into adulthood. These stories serialized in Daniel Clowes Eightball were quite fun, but seem to gain poignancy collected into a single volume. The book itself is a beauty, with black and white illustrations punctuated by an aqua spot color and a beautiful jacket. The individual stories come together very nicely and allow the reader to really see these girls grow up and ultimately apart as they enter the real world. They also discover quite a bit about themselves along the way.
Clowes writing and artwork are exceptional, and the storylines in Ghost World are frequently moving, often funny, and terribly real. The young women are not the muscle bound sex goddesses with breasts that defy gravity that seem to currently dominate comics; instead they are rich, fully-conceived characters. And it is those characters, the self-abusive, neurotic, idealistic Enid, and her less-troubled gal-pal and confidant Rebecca, who has an easier go of life due to less exacting standards, that make Ghost World come alive. Ghost World like much of the rest of Eightball finds a lot of humour in the truth, making for a terrific well-rounded tale. Clowes has populated his stories with real characters who sound like eighteen-year-old girls in real situations that are incredibly mundane, but gut-wrenching and heartbreaking for the characters just the same. Ghost World is not a groundbreaking work by telling the story of two young girls crossing into womanhood, but it is one of the best. Fantagraphics, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115