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Twentieth Century Eightball (Eightball)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  3,064 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Before the Ghost World graphic novel and film propelled Daniel Clowes to international superstardom as the preeminent cartoonist of his generation, his ongoing comic book Eightball was already the most talked-about series of the 1990s. Renowned for its gleefully incisive social satire and riotous absurdity, Entertainment Weekly proclaimed it "the year's best regularly publ ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 17th 2002 by Fantagraphics (first published August 2nd 2002)
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Emilia P
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: tough guys
Shelves: comic-books
well, 20th century eightball is totally totally crass, more crass than I remember Clowes other stuff being. There are people who have sex with insects and fish in it, a graphic discussion of the phallic symbols in sports, and multiple comics that could easily just be called (and I think one of them is) "People I Hate". I felt a little sad for him, actually, that he could be angry at so many things in so many ways. I know he's kind of kidding, but he's also kind of serious.

That said, it's in a lo
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Crudely honest, borderline too perverse to read, but thoughtful and funny.

Unlike other graphic novelists, Clowes has not changed his drawing or coloring style much throughout his career, he has just learned to 'tone down the sex and violence'.

Probably the edgiest comic I have ever read.
Edwin Arnaudin
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful. Appeals to my loves and doubts, challenging and strengthening my stances on pet peeves, religion, the inevitability of certain things in life, and even (in conjunction with this year's terrible NBA Finals) makes me want to stop following/caring about certain sports. All of these messages are delivered in a self-aware, self-mocking manner with Clowes acknowledging the complexities of his role as an artist, wondering how he could possibly make a legit living by making stuff u ...more
Christopher Roth
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. I was laughing so hard I cried. I remember living in Chicago in the early 1990s reading Clowes's Freudian analysis of American team sports in a free alternative paper called the Lumpen Times and I was Xeroxing it for friends and reading it over and over again, it was so wickedly good. I'm happy to see it here—I never made the connection that this was the same cartoonist responsible for Ghost World till I bought this volume—as well as other small masterpieces that were used as filler a ...more
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comix-novel
When the latest chapter of “Like A Velvet Glove” weighed heavily on me like a psych anvil Dan Clowes would restore the levity by following it up with short features that always raised a chuckle. This anthology collects all those funny stories in one volume, so no matter how heavy “Ghost World” or “David Boring” got these little zany bumpers kept you laughin’. The Harvey comics parody was the best!
Apr 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Dan Clowes' gag comics are pretty dumb, but occasionally they're really endearingly dumb. Knowing that this side of his creative personality exists definitely makes me like him more.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Steve Dziedziak
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Regarding this collection, so far I've only gotten my hands on Art School Confidential, so my opinions are merely drawn from that strip:
The comic version is a humorous, honest and cynical depiction of art school, students, teachers, and possibly the art world in general. Attending art school myself (well, with a primary focus in graphic and multimedia design rather than specifically that of fine arts), I could wholeheartedly agree that both students and teachers bite into the typical stereotype
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is Clowes at his silliest, and therefore, his best.

I love his more serious stuff and recognize why he's viewed as "important", but I can only take so much of it (and so much of the people out there who imitate him.)

But Twentieth Century Eightball is solid gold, perhaps best exemplified by the piece "Sensual Santa" which is superficially crass, but a deadeye perfect parody of a certain type of sweet, good-natured person who you think has a good heart but who you also think might be a pedophi
May 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Clowes fans, disaffected youth
Shelves: comix
I know I'm supposed to like Daniel Clowes' work, I do. He obviously has the chops, both as a scripter and artist, but I just can't deal with him. In this collection (which, to be fair, is mostly old filler strips, so we're not seeing him operating at his full potential) he tends to resort to easy gross-out gags and non-narrative screwball fantasies, which gets a bit old. He does have moments of insight, or at least perceptive wit ("Art School Confidential," "Ugly Girls"), but mostly the collecti ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
For supposedly being a collection of "filler" material, Daniel Clowes's "Twentieth Century Eightball" seems to have the right mix of the asinine, charming, sad, crass, lonely, dread-filled characters and their silly stories that made me laugh as well as feel, if not saddened, a bit melancholic. Still, the problems from "Mister Wonderful" are apparent here, and the overkill meta elements, like bringing himself into the comic strip, weaken a surprisingly enjoyable, short, dumb comic that may not b ...more
Tim Molloy
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Twentieth Century Eightball is a collection of gag strips from the 1990s written by Daniel Clowes' earlier self. The things I funny in Wilson or interesting in Ice Haven or endearing in Mister Wonderful are altogether absent in this collection. The strips are crass, boring, and mostly not that funny. There are a few gems, especially "Art School Confidential" and "Ugly Girls" where you see maturity peeking out. Beyond that, not much else grabbed me. Maybe it is a symptom of the 1990s you-had-to-o ...more
Oct 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Clowes may have a knack at making you feel uncomfortable with rudimentary jokes and thoughts, but it shouldn't overlook how dark and witty these comics can be. He shamelessly mocks the society we live in (as it should be) and shares, what I'd imagine to be, a viewpoint on the world that isn't often showcased correctly. People tend to censor themselves or dilute their thoughts the second that it begins to make them look weird, insane, vulgar, etc.. Alas, after reading this compilation of his work ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Clowes is one of my favourite comics writers, and as much as I enjoy his heavier longform stuff, this collection of shorter frivolous strips is a joy. Still rife with Clowes' frustration and irritation at life, there's some great stupid throwaway gags as well (a Peanuts reference in 'I Love You Tenderly' always catches me by surprise, and makes me giggle like an idiot). Probably not the best place to start with Clowes, but for fans, this collection provides great balance against his other ...more
Jun 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Love the art. Love the lettering. Love the self-doubting voice of misanthropy. As a wrestler (high-school, not professional) friend once remarked, in reference to my misguided love of the motion picture "Almost Famous," "You liking this is like me watching a wrestling movie: I'd HAVE to like it." (I was a wannabe rock critic, then.)

Anyhows, this: Lotsa funny stuff, with no big (or muted) emotional moments in sight. Look to "Ghost World" for that; this one's all about the um er "yuks" and yes I'd
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphicnovels
Although I rated this Five Stars I must admit I have never read the compilation. I have read almost every issue of Eightball when they came out and I think that Daniel Clowes is a great writer of the mundane life. It is not like American Splendor (which is great as well) it is a little more off kilter but really nothing amazing happens in the books. I was a big fan of this book when it was in monthly format so I can only imagine that the compilation is great as well.

Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This eclectic collection of shorts from Clowes includes some definite filler, but much of it is quite amusing and insightful. Interestingly, Clowes self-defines as an underground rather than alternative cartoonist, and the work here suggests that that's an apt appellation. Much more like Crumb in many respects than I'd have suspected, based on the other stuff by him I've read, though also definitely unique.
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
basically the raw materials that were distilled into Wilson. Not nearly as good as Wilson, but funny, interesting, and - for all the smart-assery - there's the genuine feeling of someone who self-aware struggling with the insane difficulty of being genuine, and being smart enough to say, "no, I'm not genuinely this sensitive sap, that's just a persona I use to try to say what I'm feeling, but that's still not the 'authentic' me."
Dave Sippel
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is cynical as hell. Don't let the fact that it is a comic book or a collection of short stories/comic strips fool you. Daniel Clowes is one bitter man. Take the two page story of a city dweller that deals with randomly violent, crass citizens and decides to never leave his apartment again. Then his roommate tells him that he found giant carnivorous worms under the sink. End Story.

Good reading for a bad day.

Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a compilation of bits and pieces from Eightball, which is where I originally saw these comics. While Clowes is generally known for having a somewhat somber tone, in his short works, he lets loose his inner wildman/child. Consequently, these are some of his most perverse, juvenile, anarchic, and hilarious comics.
Amanda Lynn
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite piece of work Clowes has produced and reading this really sparked my burning infatuation with underground comics and to this day, 8 years later, I consider myself just as infatuated with alternative/ indie/ underground comix as I was the day I picked this sucker up.

Thanks, Clowes!
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Just couldn't get into this one. I'm not the biggest fan of Clowes quirky/obscene ways--and yet, that is exactly the type of comic style I love, just not in his way. There were some chuckle to myself highlights and if anything I'd go read more on the ones I took to, but because the comics skipped around all over the place I just couldn't focus.
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hard to rate this one for my own personal tastes. While I loved “Like A Velvet Glove” and would give it 5 stars since it tickled my sensibilities of Lynchian strangeness and Coen brothers bizarre dialog, some of the more artist-centric stories were less interesting for me.
Rocco Versaci
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dan Clowes's comic book series, Eightball, featured some of the funniest, acerbic satire and cultural criticism around. The best of these pieces have been collected in "Twentieth Century Eightball," a must for anyone who enjoys humor.
George Hamilton-jones
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed a lot of these strips. Unlike his later fictional approach, most of these take the form of gag strips but the great linework, authoritative lettering and sophisticated social lampooning are all there.
Nov 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Daniel Clowes manages to turn misanthropy and self-loathing into fun, hilarious comic strips. Even so, I prefer his longer comics ("Ghostworld"!) as his "Eightball" work can seem a little choppy and unfinished.
John Parkinson
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read most of these in the original comic releases some 15 years ago now. These short pieces have pretty much all held up for their grim humour and the often dark reflection of their author. If only i didnt identify with so much of what he relates.......
Jessica Robinson
Abrasive and darkly funny, this is Dan Clowes at his best. I read this for the first time when I was about 14, and thinking about art school...for lack of a better word, I'll say it was "eye-opening."
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
In my opinion, the stories represented here are better than those in Caricature. The art is more diverse too. The "Ugly Girls" story is genius.
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best collection of comics I have ever read.
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Daniel Gillespie Clowes is an Academy Award-nominated American author, screenwriter and cartoonist of alternative comic books. Most of Clowes' work appears first in his ongoing anthology Eightball (1989-present), a collection of self-contained narratives and serialized graphic novels. Several of these narratives have been collected published separately as graphic novels, most notably Ghost World. ...more
More about Daniel Clowes...

Other Books in the Series

Eightball (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Bola Ocho, 1
  • Bola Ocho, 2
  • Bola Ocho, 3
  • Bola Ocho, 4
  • Bola Ocho, 5
  • Bola Ocho, 6
  • Eightball #7
  • Bola Ocho, 8
  • Bola Ocho, 9
  • Bola Ocho, 10

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