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Caitlin McGurk and Jim Rugg on Ghost World and The Death Ray by Dan Clowes



Jim Rugg and Caitlin McGurk are my guests for this episode where we're chatting about the depictions of teenage friendships in the books of Dan Clowes, specifically Ghost World and The Death Ray.




There's a photo of Dan Clowes sitting at his drawing table that I'd seen floating around the Internet, and it had made me think he works very large. Here's the photo in question. Caitlin, who has seen a lot of Clowes original pages, informs me otherwise. It looks like the pages he's drawing in the photo are the endpapers from the big Death Ray hardcover, so maybe those are drawn larger than usual.

Caitlin McGurk is the Engagement Coordinator for the Billy Ireland Museum and has also worked for The Center for Cartoon Studies’ Schulz Library, the Bulliet Comics Collection of Columbia University, and Marvel Comics. At Billy Ireland, she is tasked with cultivating and raising awareness of the collection among students, comics communities, and the greater public. It is a mission she tackles with pleasure, sharing the treasures of the collection through social networking, classroom instruction and workshops, building relationships with contemporary cartoonists, and giving presentations at conferences and conventions. She has also written for Diamond Comics’ Bookshelf magazine for educators and librarians, published her own comics, and remains active in the comics community at large.

Jim Rugg makes comics, books, drawings, illustrations, and designs. His books and comics include Street Angel, Afrodisiac, The PLAIN Janes, Rambo 3.5, Notebook Drawings, and Supermag. He has exhibited drawings at iam8bit, Gallery1988, Mondo, and the Society of Illustrators. Honors include an Ignatz Award, The Pittsburgh Foundation's Investing in Professional Artists grant, and AIGA's 50 Books/50 Covers selection for best-designed books. He teaches classes in the MFA Visual Narrative program at the School of Visual Arts and co-hosts's Tell Me Something I Don't Know podcast.

Mike Dawson is a cartoonist whose books include Freddie & Me, Troop 142, and Angie Bongiolatti. Follow him on twitter and Tumblr.


8 Responses to Caitlin McGurk and Jim Rugg on Ghost World and The Death Ray by Dan Clowes

  1. Charlie says:

    I haven’t listened to the episode yet (I plan to re-read book books first) and so I’m not sure what exactly was said about the size in which Clowes works but everything I’ve read and seen says he’s worked pretty large since towards the end of Eightball (around that time) and beyond. That depends on what your definition of ‘large’ is though, sure.

    For some specific size, looking it up quickly on they list a David Boring page as 14 x 19. In TCJ #250, where Clowes talks about his process, some of his work is 18 x 24. That could just be covers and such but I feel like I’ve seen pages that large or at least close to it. I also remember him saying the pages for Ice Haven the pages were of such a size that he had to put a hinge in the middle of the page, bend it, in order to work more easily.

  2. B. Johnson Smitty says:

    Everything I’ve seen by him in person is larger than the standard 11 x 17″ mainstream art.

  3. B. Johnson Smitty says:

    I should say “standard at the time” (1980s/90s) now of course thanks to digital and manga influence it seems every artist works at a different size?

    I always wondered how big those Mazzucchelli Rubber Blanket pages were.

  4. Chris Duffy says:

    Thanks, Mike, Caitlin, and Jim! I really enjoyed the podcast.

  5. Blake Sims says:

    I saw his show in Columbus last month, and the pages for Eightball were slightly larger than regular comic pages. The pages for Death Ray were pretty large, the couple of double page spreads were massive.

    However large they were, it was an amazing experience.

  6. I can’t comment on the size of Daniel Clowes drawings, but I wanted to let you know how much I’ve been enjoying these book club type episodes there’s always some good discussion that makes me want to either read or re-read the book in question.

  7. Mike Dawson says:

    Thanks guys, it’s really nice to hear you’re enjoying and getting something out of these shows!

  8. Fiachra says:

    sad you didn’t discuss the ghost world ‘where are they now’ comic.

    as for the size it seems for covers endpapers and title illustrations he goes for extra large
    but for regular pages it seems from other original art listings he sort of uses roughly an a3 bristol,
    as a sidenote does anybody know what brand he uses?

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