The Time- Traveler’s Dead Wife
released OUT NOW! Publisher Jonathan Cape Writer/ artist Daniel Clowes
graphic novel The release of new work by Ghost World creator Dan Clowes is an extremely rare event, so it’s doubly exciting that his latest is a time travel tale.
It follows Jack Barlow, an average shlubb who comes home one day to find his pregnant wife’s been murdered. The title references both her name and his obsessive commitment to finding her killer. When, in 2029, Jack stumbles across a means of time travel, he switches his target from avenging Patience’s death to preventing it…
Clowes fans will immediately feel at home among all the signature elements of his style: the sardonic way even lovers talk, the speech bubbles littered with phrases like “tit- germs” and “total penises”; the vibrant, darklyinked art, with its cavalcade of characterful faces and bad haircuts. It’s a delight to see Clowes draw the future, so it’s almost a shame that the bulk of the story’s set in 2006 or 1985.
It’s a strangely touching book – a scabrous love story, simultaneously cynical and tender. The damaged, middle- aged Jack is an incompetent temporal investigator whose methods are morally dubious, but the lengths he’s willing to go to in the name of love impress. Though the killer’s identity is guessable, we’re given enough red herrings to keep the mystery involving. It’s not a particularly satisfying conclusion – but that doesn’t matter too much. For all that this is Jack’s story, some of Patience’s real strengths are shared with Ghost World: the way it unflinchingly observes the trials of a young woman negotiating the difficult transition to adulthood. Ian Berriman
Clowes spent five years creating Patience. Until he finished it, he didn’t show a page to anyone – not even his wife or publisher.
A scabrous love story, at once cynical and tender
Operation : the psychedelic board game.