Pussey! Paperback – 15 May 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
This collection of nine stories 'torn from the pages of Eightball!' (Clowes anthology comic) as the cover excitedly states, makes no pretence to being a single narrative, but in providing selected highlights of our facially 'un-blessed' hero (from less than ten years old to his deathbed) it covers a respectable sum of ground. Pussey! is the tale of loner hiding in fiction, a not so furtive satire of the comics industry and undoubtedly a parody of Clowes and his cartoonist acquaintances. But it's not. It's a comic book about comic books, which make normal literary summations kind of redundant.
The degree of 'realism' in the drawing of figures and faces fluctuates constantly and consciously, as does weight of line and the rendering (or absence of) backgrounds in frame. This use of a wide range of cartooning techniques colours the reading in ways very difficult to categorise.
Each frame is 'loaded', like a comedians movements or the hint of sarcasm in a voice. This coupled with very funny dialogue (Pussey's gym teacher: "Pussey, you're worse than a hundred girls!") makes for a book you will re-read many times. Which is undoubtedly a good thing because it is pretty lightweight.
Which brings me to two criticisms. First off, as I mentioned, the book could not be accused of being too long, but then a lot of comic books (I hate the term graphic novel) share this anorexic tendency.
Secondly, although a cursory glance at the book will indicate to you just how talented a cartoonist/story teller Daniel Clowes is, with this book he is simply having fun.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Clowes pulls no punches. We have met Pussey, and he is us.
The titular character is a prototypical introvert geek that grows up devouring comic books and drawing superheroes at the expense of developing social skills. Dan Pussey eventually breaks his way into the biz as an illustrator, and we follow his rise and fall as an artistic force in comicdom. An omnipresent, Svengali-like publisher influences and dominates Pussey's life, manipulating our hero until he's cast aside and supplanted by the next hungry, young, and trendy penciller.
There's plenty of humor in the author's dead-on portrayal of weird comic fans, egocentric artists, and industry tropes, but Mr. Clowes goes beyond this low-hanging fruit by showing the darker side of comic creation, most tellingly with the character of the elderly publisher, Dr. Infinity. We see creative types like Pussey used and abused over the years by Infinity, who takes credit for their accomplishments and pays them peanuts while collecting the lion's share of the accolades and profits.
Real-life incidents (though thinly disguised), such as the Siegel and Shuster Superman debacle are woven into Pussey's tragicomic story to demonstrate this shocking abuse of the creative folks, making me thankful that legendary comic artist Neal Adams is fighting so hard for creator's rights. Any comic reader or collector, particularly those who lived through the wacky excesses of the 1990s, will want to add "Pussey!" to their bookshelf (alongside Mr. Clowes' "Ghost World").
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