Daniel Clowes was born in Chicago, IL, on April 14, 1961. He attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, from which he graduated with a BFA degree in 1984.
He began his career as an “alternative” cartoonist in 1985 with the short-lived comic book series Lloyd Llewellyn, a feature loosely based around the adventures of a private detective which, in its gleeful embrace of the detritus of post-war pop culture (1950s science fiction, bad detective fiction, Russ Meyer movies, EC comics, etc.) predated many of the popular art trends of subsequent decades. He ended the series in 1987, anxious to move forward with different types of storytelling.
In 1989, he created the seminal comic book series, Eightball. The first among many stories to gain notice were the darkly comic Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron and his savage take on the comics industry, Pussey!. These were followed in the mid-'90s by the breakthrough hit Ghost World, the dark, complex magnum opus, David Boring, and an acclaimed short story collection, Caricature. Eightball earned the artist a large following and amassed multiple Harvey, Eisner and Ignatz Awards.
In 2001, the adaptation of his graphic novel Ghost World, based on a script by Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff, was released to wide acclaim, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay among other accolades. Their second collaboration, Art School Confidential, written by Clowes and starring John Malkovich and Jim Broadbent, was released in 2006. His latest film, Wilson (based on his graphic novel of the same name), written by Clowes and starring Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern, was released in 2017.
Clowes's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek and many other magazines. In 2011, Clowes received the PEN Literary Award for Graphic Literature.
He lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife Erika, his son Charles, and their beagle Ella.