Dan Clowes: He-Man Comic Artist

The Comics Industry

m: You never had to deal with the comic industry proper. . .

d: No, I'm the luckiest guy in the world, I mean most people have to hack around for years and get these little pick-up jobs until finally they get something, and I just completely lucked into it. It was just that the timing was perfect cause the markets were really booming at that time, and they were just looking for anything to publish.

m: So how do you explain, I mean it seems to me that Dr. Infinity and Dan Pussey come out of angst, but you didn't have to experience that. So are those strips just looking at the industry from the outside?

d: In a way, but I mean it comes from my early years of doing Lloyd Llewellyn and stuff, and going to these comic book conventions and just dealing with trying to sell my comic to retailers and being met with this just kind of passionate disinterest [laughs]. And just seeing how, you know, everyone goes ape over these absurd repetitive superhero comics. It really, really bothered me. I mean, now I'm sort of use to it, and I just kind of laugh it off -- it's just a macabre nightmare that I can laugh at. But at the time I took it really personally, and I was really offended by the fact that no one would look at my comics or at all of these other great comics by people I respected; how such a small segment of the industry was based on comics that had any at least real value intended in them. And everything that was paid attention to was such utter garbage. That [the Dan Pussey story] was sort of my way of expressing that, and I also thought of Dan Pussey as a character that was a cautionary message to myself. He was sort of what I could have become if I had taken a wrong path. I mean, I have a definite amount of sympathy for the guy all mixed in with the resentment and hatred.

m: [laughs] What kept you from becoming him?

d: Well I like to think that I was just a little. . .too aware of myself. I don't think I could have ever drawn that superhero stuff after age 15 or 16. I just would have gone crazy cause it's just mind- numbingly dull to me.