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David Boring Hardcover – September 12, 2000

41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

It's impossible to write about Daniel Clowes's work without using the word "ennui." But his is a joyous ennui, if such a thing is possible, one that relishes the boredom of everyday life with a Zen enthusiasm. The title, David Boring, reflects his self-aware humor and captures the essence of an ordinary man living through a larger-than-life story. The main character lives with his best friend, Dot, in a large city, each looking for love and meaning. David in particular is trying to understand his father, whom he knows only through an obscure comic book called "The Yellow Streak." Murder, obsession, sex, and war are all just distractions as he tries to construct a sensible portrait from the odd bits and pieces he finds in his travels. Clowes finds little miracles everywhere he looks--so many, in fact, that they seem hardly to interest him. This detachment perversely makes David Boring deeply compelling and worthy of serious attention from fans and newcomers alike. --Rob Lightner

From Publishers Weekly

Critically lauded comics artist Clowes follows up his masterful Ghost World with this sometimes enticing, sometimes baffling, graphic novel about a postadolescent antihero. David Boring is one of Clowes's signature typesAaffectless, indifferent to his future and disdaining the small town he left behind. He shares an apartment in "the city" with Dot, a wisecracking lesbian friend, to whom he recounts his passionless, fetishistic sexual conquests; he falls in love with Wanda, a girl who's just his type, only to have her vanish. When Boring's visiting hometown acquaintance is murdered, he becomes the main suspect. Then Boring himself is shot in the head. Convalescing on the resort island where he spent part of his youth, Boring and the other vacationers find themselves stuck there indefinitely after terrorists' germ weapons render the mainland U.S. uninhabitable. One subplot concerns the Yellow Streak, a superhero comic that Boring's father drew long ago; another concerns the Eerie Boy, who keeps invading our antihero's dreams. Clowes (Eightball) alternates moving scenes of personal alienation and despair with bizarre transitions, portentous plot twists and an unconvincing mix'n'match of genres. Clowes's faux-na?f drawing style is as effective as ever, and his fans will certainly enjoy it. The same fans may feel the ambitious narrative tries to do too many things at once. This is, however, serious and innovative work; and it's never boring. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (September 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375406921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375406928
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 7.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel Clowes is the acclaimed cartoonist of the seminal comic book series EIGHTBALL, and the graphic novels GHOST WORLD, DAVID BORING, ICE HAVEN, WILSON, MR. WONDERFUL and THE DEATH-RAY as well as the subject of the monograph THE ART OF DANIEL CLOWES: MODERN CARTOONIST, published in conjunction with a major retrospective at the Oakland Museum of California. He is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, the recipient of numerous awards including the PEN Award for literature, Eisner, Harvey and Ignatz, and a frequent cover artist for the New Yorker. He is married and lives in Oakland, CA.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jason Preu on February 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Clowes artwork on David Boring is, as usual, immaculate and he consistently manages to draw characters whose faces emote a sense of ennui yet manage to evoke in me a feeling of compassion that borders on pity. This interplay intrigues me in that it serves to both endear and distance me to almost every major player in the book. Whether or not that feature of Clowes' art best serves the narrative, and whether it should, remains left to the individual. For me, the result is a positive and heightens the slightly surreal nature of Boring's world.

Stripped down, David Boring is a love story. Artfully dressed up by Clowes' craftsmanship, however, the standard love story is complicated by all manner of fixation, fetishism and obsessiveness in addition to the possible end of the world.

As a character, David Boring's only remarkable traits are his fetish for fat-bottomed girls and the single issue of his father's comic that he happens to own. This sexual fetish leads to expected relationship problems as David constantly risks letting his obsession for the physical overshadow any and all other aspects of his relationships with women. David's fetish for his father's comic, and subsequent obsession to learn about the man from the remaining scraps of his work, leads to one to speculate about the triadic, feedback-loop-like relationship between creator, creation and reader.

And so this theme of destructive fetishism runs rampant through David Boring as Clowes explores various characters, their fetishes and the nuanced situations that result from such behavior.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chris Cilla on September 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Clowes has outdone himself in this volume,collecting and improving upon the three part story David Boring.This is a challenging saga of a young man's attempt to organize his reality into a sort of personal movie,with himself as the protagonist.He deals obsessively with love and lust,and other human relationships with confusion.The focus on David and his love life is framed with a description of a violent and unpredictable world,complete with murder,intrigue,and war.The meticulous drawings merit close scrutiny for the detail they contain.This is a comic that tells as much without words as it does with them.The improvements in this book (it was previously serialized in pamphlet form) include the addition of color in certain panels,and overall an excellently designed package,including dust cover,spine,endpapers,and chapter headings.This is a book that will stand up to the many readings you're sure to want to give it.If you have any doubts as to the richness and depth available in the comics medium,this book with put them to rest.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pumpkin King on December 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Although Daniel Clowes' GHOST WORLD wasn't that appealing to me, DAVID BORING was surprisingly engaging. Like Chris Ware's JIMMY CORRIGAN, it begins by introducing the reader to reminders of traditional comic book superheros, and although the rest of the book is anything but a stereotypical comic, it retains various aspects of superhero comic books. It's wonderfully dramatic and fantastic, transitioning from a story situated in reality to one that's dominated by mysterious deaths, apocalyptic fears, and taboo relationships. With BORING, Clowes shows life as at once dreamy, vacuous, adventurous, and painful. He ends up with a moving tale that is deeply structured and well worth the hour or two it takes to read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Blahblahblah on May 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Falling halfway between the surrealism of "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron" and the realism of "Ghostworld", David Boring is a story about a young man who, on the one hand, has an inability to adapt to change because of his obsessiveness, but who nevertheless remains stable no matter what is thrown at him because of his very faults (although that means remaining constantly dissatisfied with life). I don't believe that David Boring (whose name I assume is a nod to the great Superman artist of the 1950s Wayne Boring) is meant to be as interesting as the events around him, but is meant to illustrate a person stuck in a rut no matter what goes on around him. Instead of moving on to a new girlfriend, for example, he continues to obsess about the one who has just dumped him, and instead of living his own life, he obsesses about his father through his old Yellow Streak comics. What makes this story depressing is that many of us can see a little of ourselves in David Boring. But underneath it all, David Boring is, at least, a survivor. It is this sort of imposed self-examination that makes this an important and effecting work of literature and the accompanying artwork by Clowes is simple but moody and emotional.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "50cent-haircut" on July 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The whole story is set against the year of 1999, leading to its end. The threat of a terrorist act and killings underscore the human follies of this funny, but sad story. The cataclysmic apocalypse of the world takes a secondary importance to being left over by love, in loneliness. A very lyrical and interesting juxtaposition.
Daniel Clowes has a tremendous gift as a storyteller, and in this comic book, he conscientiously chooses the 3-act screenplay form, both using it as a legitimate vehicle for his story and also as a deconstructive techinique. His characters are wonderfully three-dimensional, and the way they go in and out of love is always shown through a sympathetic, but detached view. The mistakes the characters make, the yearnings and losses... approximate the real human experience. The ending is a hopeful one - even as the end-time seems to be near, another possibility of love keeps David Boring afloat. Although Chris Ware seems to have caught the public and critical acclaim, when it comes to telling stories of modern alienation, there is no graphic artist to best Daniel Clowes. Not yet. Impressive.
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