First and foremost, I’m a big fan of Dan Clowes. But I’ve been scratching my head about his recent work over the past few years. I don’t think I have to go into the reasons why I thought Art School Confidential was a bad (okay, terrible) movie, but that doesn’t disturb me as much as my lack of enjoyment of his weekly series “Mister Wonderful” running now in the New York Times. As a comic book creator, Dan Clowes has always captured the mundane and transcended it in a way that is downright uncanny. But in “Mr. Wonderful”…it’s just mundane. Yes, it’s gotten slightly better the past few weeks, but it’s mediocrity both in plot and composition are disappointing.

Now there is word he’s going to be working on a film with Michel Gondry … though instead of the adaptation of Rudy Rucker’s novel Master of Space and Time, it now seems they will be working on an adaptation on the comics of Gondry’s 16 year old son (!?). In the best case scenario we will see Clowes returning to his surreal side ala “Velvet Glove Cast in Iron”… in the worst case scenario Clowes is going to be a third wheel to the two Gondry’s: one an obvious genius, and another a 16 year old comic book creator who can’t hold a candle to what Clowes had done for the medium (believe me because I’ve seen Paul Gondry’s comics – we published some in Filter Magazine while I was art director there).

So what’s going on? In my mind, the last great thing Dan Clowes has done was the “Death Ray” issue of “Eightball”, and before that, the fantastic “Ice Haven” issue. So, let me hope that someday soon the talented Mr. Clowes will ignore the bright siren song promise of the New York Times and Hollywood, and wake up to the mediocrity they have brought to his work. And after that realization, I hope he delivers another fantastic issue of Eightball. It’s been far too long.