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The Death-Ray Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770460519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770460515
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 4.8 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


A Look Behind the Scenes of The Death Ray
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Some early sketches "No. 30"


An unused cover



Review

"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

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

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Noel TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Meet Andy, a quiet, lonely boy growing up in the 70s who has one friend and is being raised by his grandfather who is likely developing Alzheimer's. One day by chance Andy smokes a cigarette and discovers that nicotine activates "super powers" where he gains super strength. Couple that with his father's legacy leaving Andy a handheld "death ray" once he realises his super powers, and Andy goes from being an awkward teen to having the power of life and death in the palm of his hand.

Andy is your typical Clowes-ian character - awkward loner, angry at the world, cynical yet disarmingly open about their bizarre world views, and prone to strange acts in public. Quirky in a word, and Andy is very much in the vein of other Clowes characters from Ghost World, Ice Haven, Mr Wonderful, Wilson, and so on.

The book follows the story of Andy and his strange friend Louie as they try to find real world applications to Andy's Death Ray, at first picking out school bullies, then moving onto targets in the wider world. It can be read as a straight story with Andy actually having real super powers and the death ray really is a death ray but Clowes seems to be inviting interpretation in these incidents. Andy "blacks out" when he gets super powers, realising afterwards that he's pummelled someone's face into a bloody mess and the death ray works by "popping" someone out of existence in an instant - are the two connected? Is Andy in fact just an out and out psycho "popping" people out of existence with his hands?

Or maybe it's a far more depressed version of "Kick Ass", especially as Andy makes a costume to wear, and Clowes is showing how lonely and empty being a superhero is and how superpowers don't make you happy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jankanz on June 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Just by reading the harsh reviews on the ond hand and the glowing ones on the other, it is clear that this comic isn't for everyone. I loved it but I don't have any issue with those who hated it. I get the impression that Clowes creates work that interests himself, like most great artists should. I don't think he ever set out to titillate everyone under the sun, just those with a sense of humor like his own.

Many more people liked "Watchmen" because they felt it was what superheroes would be if they existed, aged, died as in real life. I enjoyed "Watchmen" but I think "Death-Ray" comes much closer to what they'd really be like - self-obsessed heroes of their own narratives - just like the rest of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Barnes on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Dan Clowes' oversized. brightly-colored 'The Death-Ray' (2011) is an interesting morality tale and unusual spin on the superhero comic book genre.

Like several of Clowes' other works, 'The Death-Ray' introduces its audience to a middle-aged White man--here named Andy--who is nondescript in both appearance and personality.

'The Origin of Andy' reveals that, circa 1977, teenage Andy is a skinny high school student who passes his life without being noticed at all; most of his fellow students can't say whether he's still attending their school or not. His mother has died of a brain clot, his father, of cancer, and his grandmother has passed on too. So Andy lives quietly with his grandfather ("Pappy"), and has made what he feels is one good friend in Louie, a rather aggressive Italian youth who has a wise mouth and likes to instigate minor fracases.

Andy also enjoys something of a long-distance romance going with pretty blond Dusty, who used to live nearby, but now lives far away. It seems that Andy's romantic relationship with Dusty may exist only in his own mind, since Dusty rarely responds to Andy's letters, except for a Christmas card during the holidays.

Louie convinces Andy to try smoking cigarettes, but the experience makes Andy vomit. But that night, Andy wakes with a feeling that he might "explode," of "absolute confidence that I could do anything, that I was in every way superior!"

Running outside to test his muscles, Andy, though still physically scrawny, discovers he can lift the back of a car off the street.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up rabidly devouring comic books as a kid. (As a child of the 90's I could still get Star Wars and Sonic the Hedgehog comics at the local grocery stores and gas stations.) But as I grew older, fewer and fewer comics grabbed my interest and I lost touch with the comics community. In college I really became interested in postmodernism and "snobby literature." I hadn't picked up a comic book in years when a friend handed me his copy of David Petersen's Mouse Guard. Needless to say, it awakened the passion for comics that I hadn't felt in years.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that every so often a comic book comes along that is so freaking cool that it reminds me of what it felt like to sit on my living room floor and revel in the sheer awesomeness of outlandish costumes and word balloons. The Death-Ray is one of these books. The oversize edition lets you really pour over the artwork, the story quality has the right amount of depth, and the premise has a pitch perfect blend of whimsy without seeming overly silly. Check it out if you need your faith in the graphic medium restored.
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