Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Doodle Penance: "how do you pronounce daniel clowes"

Mike here, posting the Doodle Penance for a change. Today's formerly fruitless search item: "how do you pronounce daniel clowes." Well, it so happens that Isaac and I are well qualified to answer that question, having both had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Clowes more than once--myself as recently as last night, when he appeared at a local DC bookstore to promote his new book Wilson.
And indeed, the first word uttered by Mr. Clowes was his own surname, to correct the first of several mispronunciations of it by the employee who was introducing him as "Daniel Clothes." In an instant Mr. Clowes swiveled his microphone to his mouth to pronounce his name rightly, which did not stop the employee from calling him "Daniel Clothes" at least twice more. (At one point Mr. Clowes lowered his head in mock despair.)

So let's clear this up right away: it's NOT PRONOUNCED LIKE "CLOTHES." Or like "CLOSE" (with a voiceless S). Nor is it pronounced like "CLUES" (though it might have been in Chaucer's day). No, Isaac's handy doodle below should set the record straight once and for all:
Got it? Maybe if Mr. Clowes had resorted to the language of cartooning, as above, he might have reached the reptile brain of the employee and fixed his goofing.

Clowes was joined in the formal part of his appearance last night by Washington Post writer Dan Kois, who helpfully shouted out "Clowes as in cows," but to equally ill effect. But no matter; the mispronunciations were soon forgotten as Clowes & Kois (as in "voice") jointly commented and questioned an amusing slide-show presentation of material from Clowes's life and career, including a picture of 13-year-old Dan; two pages from his early minicomics ("Melvin the Clown" and "Sidney the Cat," based on TV's Bozo the Clown and an animated cartoon of Felix the Cat); snippets of Clowes's video for Tom Waits's "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" as performed by the Ramones;

and a few minutes from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! including a rube of a gas-station attendant scorned as an "eightball" mere moments before someone else (or was it something?) is described as "like a velvet glove cast in iron." Anyway, it was a pretty cool appearance, and I'm glad I got to check it out. And I even got Mr. Clowes's permission to post this sketch, so check it out:
Pretty sweet, huh? Meanwhile, you may have noticed that I haven't exactly offered up my own image for this week's Doodle Penance. Fact is, Isaac's cartoon pretty much covers it, plus I had a narrative to offer on the very topic that takes care of it as well as, or better than, another cartoon. But I do have a doodle, inspired by the cover to Wilson and dedicated to my co-cartoonist:

Not the best likeness, by a long shot, but perhaps partaking of some small measure of that creepy face-front pose that Clowes has been seeking at least since his mid-70s sketch of Gerald Ford (pictured in the slide show) and exemplified in this charming specimen from Eightball 8:


Isaac said...

Actually I think that envelope doodle looks like a hybrid of myself and Ken Parille.

And thereby, in fact, hangs a Dan Clowes tale for later in the year, as you know, Mike.

Isaac said...

Aw, heck. Why am I being coy about it? It's on Amazon already.

Here's a link to the book Ken and I co-edited.

Ken Parille said...

That does look like me . . .

Mike said...

Little did I intend! But then, I'd just seen Ken (at the Clowes reading) a lot more recently than I'd last seen Isaac (summer '09?), so I guess the visual influence was the stronger.

Anonymous said...

Wait, so is the last "s" silent then?

Isaac said...

Anonymous, there is more than one clown in my rebus.

Pigumon said...
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