With PUSSEY!, Eightball creator Dan Clowes narrows his vicious, contained-barely disdain and raging disappointment with the entire human race down to one marvelously sickening facet: the world of comics, and the titular titans and modern mythmakers that manifest magically those four-color, two-fisted, twenty-two page epics of endearing, enduring excellence.
Starting with an odd, metafictional cameo, Clowes literally bumps shoulders with his, erm, alter ego Dan Pussey, comic creator extraordinaire and hopeless, irritating little fuckwit. We then follow Pussey - pronounced, we are told repeatedly, 'Poo-Say' - on his mediocre, meteoric ascention from asskissing sycophant to singular success in the sequential stratosphere.
God help me, I can't stop with the alliteration.
Using Pussey as both nom-de-plume and shield, Clowes retells, reinterprets, or repeats horror stories from the Industry passed down across generations into a secret, unspoken history of mistreatment by management upon the talent. No target, not even Clowes' own publisher is saved from parody and slander. We follow Dan from nerdy little boy - his parents, upon discovering a Playboy in his room are not angered at the presence of pornography in their home, but rather relieved that their son, so obsessed with drawing large men in tights, isn't gay - to nerdy little man, mentored to greatness by the Stan Lee-esque Dr. Infinity, equal parts carny barker and Harvey Sid Fisher cretin. Dan, as is want to happen all too often in comics, is used up for his mediocre talents and spat back out into obscurity. Ha ha ha! Fuck comics!
PUSSEY! Reads as a comics equivalent to Robert Altman's The Player without so much glamour and prettiness. Industry injokes and references abound, but it's not so far inside baseball as to alienate. Clowes has enough snarky contempt to go around. Be sure to keep an eye out for the first ever Eightball crossover, as Enid and Becky from Ghost World appear to give both Pussey, and comics themselves, a fitting epitaph.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.