An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

Ghost World

Ghost World - Daniel Clowes

I read this for one of my summer classes. We had to read and annotate 10 comics/graphic novels. Here's the annotation I wrote for that class:


Enid and Rebecca graduate from high school without solid plans for the future. They spend their summer wandering their town, observing and commenting on their fellow citizens and their lives.


Ghost World feels very voyeuristic. The only color used in the book is a blue-greenish hue that gives the impression of light from a television set, as if the reader is viewing each panel from a screen. The reader is allowed to observe the girls in the same way they observe those around them. In most of the chapters nothing of particular note happens; the girls simply live their lives and hang out. The dialogue between them is frank, uncensored, and cynical, but they do not discuss anything of consequence.


Further in the book, the story occasionally touches on something deeper. The story is most compelling when Enid and Rebecca’s friendship starts to fall apart. The girls start the story in that liminal time between high school and college, between childhood and adulthood, but they cannot stay there forever. As summer passes, tensions develop between them as they grow up and apart. This more than anything feels realistic. There is no dramatic falling out; nothing drives them apart other than the passing of time.


Though it feels less relevant now than it likely did when released, Ghost World is an important title in the graphic novel canon. It would be difficult to justify leaving it out of any graphic novel collection.