By Daniel Clowes
(Drawn and Quarterly, Hardcover, 9781770460515, 48pp.)
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
ON TIME, NPR AND USA TODAY'S BEST-OF 2011 LISTS! WINNER OF THE EISNER, HARVEY AND IGNATZ AWARDS
Teen outcast Andy is an orphaned nobody with only one friend, the obnoxious—but loyal—Louie. They roam school halls and city streets, invisible to everyone but bullies and tormentors, until the glorious day when Andy takes his first puff on a cigarette. That night he wakes, heart pounding, soaked in sweat, and finds himself suddenly overcome with the peculiar notion that he can do anything. Indeed, he can, and as he learns the extent of his new powers, he discovers a terrible and seductive gadget—a hideous compliment to his seething rage—that forever changes everything.
The Death-Ray utilizes the classic staples of the superhero genre—origin, costume, ray gun, sidekick, fight scene—and reconfigures them in a story that is anything but morally simplistic. With subtle comedy, deft mastery, and an obvious affection for the bold pop-art exuberance of comic book design, Daniel Clowes delivers a contemporary meditation on the darkness of the human psyche.
DANIEL CLOWES is the cartoonist of the iconic comic book series Eightball and of the graphic novels Wilson, Ghost World, David Boring, and Ice Haven; the screenwriter of Ghost World and Art School Confidential; and an illustrator for The New Yorker. He is married and lives in Oakland, California.
"Daniel Clowes continues to plot a lofty, lonely course through the subconscious of popular culture with this hilariously bleak graphic novel." —TIME Best of 2011 "48 pages densely packed with art, dialogue and ideas, The Death-Ray [is] supersaturated, a story delivered directly into your imagination..."—NPR
"Clowes once again shows he is a master of current-day absurdity — with heart.”—USA Today
"The Death-Ray reads as a cautionary parable and an acidic rumination on the travails of adolescence . . . Clowes demonstrates what the comic book can do and literary fiction can’t." —The Observer