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Born in Chicago in 1961, Daniel Gillespie Clowes attended high school at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, a private academy owned by the University. Upon graduation in 1979, he moved to New York to attend Pratt Institute, from which he earned his BFA. He tried to find work in New York as a commercial illustrator, but was unsuccessful. Dan did, however, contribute both art and stories to Cracked magazine from 1985 to 1989, working extensively on a feature called "The Uggly Family."

 
During this time, he also wrote his first Lloyd Llewellyn story, which he sent to Gary Groth at Fantagraphics. It appeared as a back-up story in issue 13 of Love and Rockets by the Hernandez Brothers. Lloyd Llewellyn became a six-issue mini-series, published in 1986 and 1987, and followed by a special, The All-New Lloyd Llewellyn in Black and White in 1988.
 
In 1989, Fantagraphics gave Clowes another break and published the first issue his comic masterpiece, Eightball, which has run up to issue 23. Many of the Eightball scenarios have been collected as graphic novels. This series started out containing a number of short stories featuring ridiculous surreal characters. The first ongoing story serialized in Eightball was entitled Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, appearing in issues 1 through 10. Later issues tended to focus on longer stories like Ghost World which was released as a collection in 1997 after being serialized in Eightball 11 through 18. This narrative was adapted by director Terry Zwigoff, with Dan's assistance, in 2001 and released as a full-length motion picture. Both Clowes and Zwigoff were nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Screenplay. Issues 19 through 21 serialized the tale of David Boring, which was also later released as a graphic novel.

Eightball continues to be released, albeit sporatically. The most recent issues #22 and issue #23 are stand-alones. The story in issue #22 is entitled "Ice Haven" and came out in 2001. "The Death-Ray" is the title of issue #23, which was published in 2004. Both are over-sized and in full color.

Clowes has won many awards including: Harvey Awards, including Best Writer in 1997 and 2005, Best Cartoonist in 2002, and Best Single Issue or Story in 1990, 1991, 1998 and 2005. As well as a nomination for Award for Favorite Writer in 1999 form Comics Buyer’s Guide.

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