Inside the minds of Daniel Clowes and Johnny Ryan

Over on the CBR mothership, two potential "book of the year" candidates are talking about what makes them tick. First up is Daniel Clowes, author of Wilson. In a report on Clowes's Dan Nadel-hosted spotlight panel at APE, CBR's Karl Kelly reveals that Clowes thinks none too highly of the readability of classic comics even by artists he admires:

"I realized at a certain point that the thing that keeps me drawing comics and the thing that has always moved me along is that comics history is really disappointing," Clowes responded. "It's not the same as the history of novels, history of art, history of movies, the body of work is pretty spotty. The things we imagined don't really exist. We imagine that Alex Toth did really amazing comics in the 50s that really worked, that were like Howard Hawk's movies, but he didn't do that. He never made a comic you could read. It's terrible, and I say that thinking that he was one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century."

That said, Nadel got Clowes to weigh in on a fascinatingly wide array of comics creators for whom Clowes had highly complimentary things to say, including Al Capp, Curt Swan, George Klein, Wayne Boring, Burne Hogarth, Al Jaffee, Don Martin, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, and Stan Lee. There's also a terrifically bizarre suite of Robert Crumb anecdotes that include the great underground artist calling Clowes a "fucking little punk."

Next up is our own Chris Mautner's interview with Prison Pit 2 creator Johnny Ryan. You might think that an ultraviolent action-adventure-horror-sci-fi comic about a crazed killer murdering his way through an abandoned planet full of bloodthirsty monsters and maniacs wouldn't be particularly revealing about its creator. Apparently, you'd be wrong:

What was the biggest challenge for you? Was there anything specific that you can point to?

I think in a strange way the book(s) are very revealing about myself. I felt as if I was really exposing myself here. I was very anxious about that.

Exposing you how?

Well, I don't want to break the story down into this means this and this represents this, but I'm sure any armchair therapist could have an interesting time with the book. With "AYC," and pretty much all of my previous work, everything was hidden behind a curtain of humor. There's no curtain in "Prison Pit."

Rough stuff, to be sure. Read the whole thing.

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