Rolling Stone interviews Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez at the same time

Who is this handsome bunch? Just four of the greatest living cartoonists on Earth: Jaime Hernandez, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, and Gilbert Hernandez. They were interviewed simultaneously by Sean T. Collins in Rolling Stone. (Photo by Meredith Rizzo)

Gilbert: It's funny: When Ghost World came out and Dan was nominated for the Oscar, I could just picture someone like Gwyneth Paltrow saying, "Dan Clowes' comic book . . . "

Clowes: And she did!

Gilbert: It was the most bizarre prediction ever. I just picked her out of a hat – I bet you somebody like that's gonna say it.

Clowes: I was sure she was gonna pronounce my name wrong, but they must have coached her. I thought that would be the perfect thing, to have the cute girl in class pronounce your name wrong when you're in the Science Fair.

Ware: A defining moment.

Gilbert: And this is probably the first time she ever mentioned a comic book in her life, and a few years later she's in Iron Man.

Ware: And Scarlett Johansson went on from Ghost World to do another comic book movie.

Clowes: I have to say she had such disdain for comics. [Laughter] They were the lowest.

Ware: I find it amazing that the stuff that I got made fun of and jumped in the hallway for reading, and spat upon -- literally, some guy spit in the coat pocket of my jacket -- is now mainstream culture.

Clowes: I saw an attractive teenage couple on the subway saying "Should we see Thor?" When I was a teenager, if I'd said, "Hey, wanna come over to my mom's house and read my original Kirby issues of Thor?" I'd have been peppersprayed.

Q&A: Comix Stars Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez



    1. Graphic artist is the old school term for designers/illustrators. Think Saul Bass or Milton Glaser.

    2. Sorry, but I have to provide a correction in terminology. While there are elements of design in laying out a comic, a comic-illustrator (or cartoonist) isn’t a graphic designer when s/he is illustrating. I’m trained as an illustrator (with some cartooning and animation work), photographer, and graphic designer. Those are all separate jobs with separate job descriptions.

      Milton Glaser and Saul Bass are both “graphic designers.” While many g.d.’s do have some drawing skill (with so much layout done on computer these days, that requirement has lowered considerably), their main job is to communicate ideas cleanly. This can be accomplished through page layout, type choices, image selection, original illustration, or other options. Possibly Glaser’s best-known design “I <3 NY" was pared-down to its simplest elements with the only illustrative element as a pop art heart.

      "Graphic artist" is actually a broad-scope term that covers quite a few creative fields including: graphic designers, illustrators, cartoonists, animators and others. So in a Venn Diagram, all cartoonists ARE graphic artists, but not all graphic designers are cartoonists or any type of illustrator. Here's one I made to show the relationship, hope it helps!

      P.S. Conan, either term you chose is correct. One is more specific.

  1. Are comic book artists and cartoonists the same thing?  Because I have to think that a collection of the greatest living cartoonist has to include Bill Watterson and Gary Larson in order to be called the “greatest”. 

    1. 1. No, comic book artists and cartoonists aren’t the same thing.  “Cartoonist” is the part of the Venn diagram where “comic writer” and “comic artist” overlap.
      2. It quite clearly says “four of the greatest”, not “the four greatest”.

  2. I saw the picture and thought “either no one packed a change of clothes, or this photo was taken at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda.”  Glad to say that I made it, thanx to BB for mentioning the L&R tour in the first place.  Joyce Brabner was there, too: a nice surprise because she wasn’t in the listing.  We’d never met but she chatted me up like I was an old friend.

  3. They’re all brilliant in their own ways. I gotta say, though, that that picture isn’t kind to Ware; he looks like he’s wearing a latex bald-head cap. 

  4. Gaodamn I’m old.  Last week I was telling a friend about Black Flag (he’d never heard of them) and mentioned buying (in Paris, ’86) the french version of L&R where Maggie and her friend shout out, “Paq de six”.  Crickets.  

  5. At the Dallas Fantasy Fair in ’84, Robert Crumb was giving a panel and talking about what he didn’t like, so I asked him what he did like. “That thing your brother does,” he said, pointing at Hernandez in the front row. “Heartbreak Soup.” Gilbert said, “That’s me!” He was pretty happy. Somebody with a Polaroid asked for a photo of them, and Crumb grabbed my wife just then and pulled her into the photo, so the photographer took another one and gave that one to me. I forgot to get Gilbert’s autograph, but maybe some day…

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