Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ghost World comic vs. movie

If you read the Ghost World graphic novel you've won and if you watch the Ghost World movie you've won, but if you experience Ghost World in both mediums then you've won the lottery.

Ghost World was first serialized by Daniel Clowes in his Eightball comic in the late 1990's before being collected. I actually remembered Ghost World, the comic, being longer, but it's "only" eighty pages in length. Ghost World on one level is a coming of age story about two young teenage girls, Enid and Rebecca, who've just graduated from high school. But I think Ghost World is really about the "odd" people who populate this world. Enid and Rebecca revel in observing people and through their running commentaries on those people they encounter, make Ghost World ultimately a great ode to voyeurism. Ghost World is also beautifully drawn by Daniel Clowes (who employs a nice soft aqua duo tone color that greatly enhances the story he is telling).

The Ghost World movie was released in 2001, directed by Terry Zwigoff (who directed the brilliant Robert Crumb documentary, called Crumb), and written by Daniel Clowes and Zwigoff. The running time of the Ghost World movie is almost two hours so obviously there's more story than what Clowes presented in his Ghost world comic. Thora Birch as Enid and Scarlett Johansson as Rebecca are terrific as is Steve Bussemi (who plays a collector of old vintage records that Enid meets - he's an added character in the movie) and Illeana Douglas (who plays a high school art teacher - also an added character in the movie). In the movie, Enid has to take an art class to make up a credit and this story addition is a welcome one as is the addition of a character who hangs out at a convenience store (very funny).

The Ghost World graphic novel and the Ghost World graphic novel both have different strengths, but I'd recommend reading it first as the movie then becomes a great way to revisit the story. Terry Zwigoff (the director) later adapted Clowes' four page story Art School Confidential into a movie, but although the cast was also great in that movie, the story goes off on a dumb "someone is killing college students" side story that just feels totally out of place. I've heard that Clowes and Zwigoff are working on another movie project so hopefully it'll be what their Ghost World collaboration was (and it would be nice if Clowes actually did some more comic book projects as it has been a while and he sadly never was vry prolific).

1 comment:

sheena said...

This novel is so graphic and its really fascinating stuff...all the comic strip is very happy...Its so cute funny...