Whether you recognize his name or not, Daniel Clowes is an independent comic artist that helped define our generation. My age bracket’s R. Crumb, if you will. Regardless of how his artwork and creations have seeped their way into your consciousness—New Yorker cartoons, the OK Soda ads, Ghost World the movie, or the recent plagiarism of his work by actor Shia LeBeouf—you can be sure it has. For many fans of Clowes’s work, one of his most definitive contributions to pop culture would be his comic Eightball published by Fantagraphics Books from 1989-2004. An anthology collection of comic shorts, many of the stories in Eightball would go on to be collected in graphic novel form, creating some of the greatest, weirdest indie titles ever published including Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (1993), Pussey! (1995), and Ghost World (1997). Clowes changed the format of Eightball with issue #s 19-21, dropping the comic collections and instead featured a three-part story titled David Boring (later released as a graphic novel in 2000). The last two issues also saw a format change with #23 containing the single story titled Ice Haven and #24 containing another single story titled The Death-Ray. Discovering Eightball was a definitive moment in my high school years, essentially introducing me to indie comics after years of dedication to the superhero genre.
Fantagraphics is set to publish a hardcover collection of Eightball issues #s 1-18 later this year and in anticipation of its release has unveiled the cover art via their website. This two-volume hardcover edition will include, according to Fantagraphics, “over 450 pages of vintage Clowes artwork, some never before reprinted, AND brand new artwork that Clowes created specifically for this set!” The Complete Eightball 1-18 is due out some time later this fall, but can currently be pre-ordered via the Fantagraphics website with a predicted shipping date of August. Check out the cover art below!