Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Crap, Schmuck, Get Laid

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Daniel Clowes on comics, smoking, and publishing in The New York Times, at the Onion‘s A.V. Club.

The A.V. Club: How did you get started with Mister Wonderful?

Daniel Clowes: The New York Times has been doing the weekly comic strip for two years. I was the second person they asked, after Chris Ware. I was going to do it about a year ago, until I had to get open-heart surgery. The next opening was in September. I’d always wanted to do a weekly strip, or a strip that was in installments like that. It’s been fun trying to figure out how to make that work. Their standards are so prissy that they won’t allow me to use all kinds of language. Not only can you not swear, this morning I was informed I couldn’t use the word “schmuck.” I couldn’t use “crap,” “schmuck,” or “get laid.” Those three were beyond the pale. But you get around that, and it comes out better. I can’t quite explain why.

AVC: Censorship helps, then?

DC: Were I writing a character that couldn’t be this repressed, it would be disastrous. I don’t know what I’d do. But I enjoy the opportunity to use swear symbols. The reader reads into them something worse than what you normally would have. They work as this outburst of incoherent anger. I’ve found ways to write around swearing that are much more effective, rather than going for what someone really would say. [Laughs.]

It’s a lot like Arrested Development in that respect, actually.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm

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