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I’m thinking that most of the people who’d be reading this are already familiar with Ghost World, either Dan Clowes‘ comic or the Terry Zwigoff film. If you’re not — well, you should be! And the Special Edition is a pretty good way to get familiar, albeit a relatively pricey way. But, for your 40 dollars (opposed to the 10 or so of the standard edition) you get a pretty awesome package.
The Special Edition includes the original graphic novel, the screenplay for the film (likewise available separately, although I think it MIGHT be out of print now), and loads of original artwork and related materials. Both versions of the story are annotated — the screenplay originally came annotated, but the notes for the GN are brand new — so you can find out little tidbits about where some of the names came from and where Clowes stands on the real Weird Al (hint: he’s Pro-).
Some of Fantagraphics‘ books have been rather fragile in the past – I used to joke that they were all bound with love… just not much glue. I’m happy to report that they’ve solved that problem and are using a hearty love/glue mixture that holds up well. It’s a very well put together volume, and one that does the material (and one of my all-time favorite cartoonists) justice. It’s really cool to look at the original roughs, the alternate covers, the one-off strips and all the other Ghost World arcana Clowes had in his archives, including a couple new strips for this edition of the book. The only way this book could be more complete is if they included a DVD of the film… but then again, I would have then re-bought THREE things in one, instead of just two.
Seriously, if you have never experienced Ghost World, you need to — even if you’re not a comics person. It’s a moving story of two girls the summer after graduating high school. All of Clowes’ work is essential, but this is probably the best starting point. And though 40 dollars might be a lot to drop at once on an unknown, trust me on this one. And if you’ve already got the standard editions, this one is STILL worth it, with all the added material, providing insight on one of the masterpieces of the form.