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The Incantations of Daniel Johnston

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UPC: 9781937512453
Author: Scott Mclanahan
Illustrator: Ricardo Cavolo
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Two Dollar Radio (July 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937512452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937512453
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.5 inches

The Incantations of Daniel Johnston is a spirited, eye-popping collaborationg between New York Times-bestselling Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo and award-winning author Scott McClanahan.

Long a fan of Daniel Johnston, the man and his music, Cavolo illustrates Johnston's colorful life, from his humble beginnings as a carnival employee to folk musician in Austin, to his rise to MTV popularity and persistent struggle with personal demons.

In addition to being visually very striking, with astoundingly economical prose McClanahan manages to deal with powerful and complex issues, such as how we as a society mythologize troubled artists, while continuing his ongoing exploration of human relationships, and the pliable interaction between reader and writer.


"[The Incantations of Daniel Johnston] captures Johnston's visions—both artistic and hallucinatory—in an intensely colorful cartoonish style and vivid recurring images: frogs, cascades of pills, volcanoes, eyeballs of many varieties."
—John Williams, New York Times Book Review

"You’ve never read anything like The Incantations of Daniel Johnston, a poetic, frenetic dive through the mind of the singer/songwriter. As graphic novel biographies go, this one excels."
Comics Beat

"Something wholly unexpected, grotesque, and poignant."
The Fader

"Intoxicating... simultaneously shedding light on ineffable notions like culture, psychology and fame."

"Stunning... spirited and dark and sweet and sad. McClanahan and Cavolo have managed to generate something spectacular."

"Lush, cartoonish... [The Incantations of Daniel Johnston] acknowledges the odd ways that society constructs culture and celebrity and how hard it can be to fully capture a life. But as McClanahan and Cavolo struggle to show the heart of a man who himself struggles to make art and live his life, they show their hearts as well—big, red, and beating."
The A.V. Club

"Beautiful and original."
Men's Journal

"Like an acid-laced children's book, The Incantations of Daniel Johnston follows the course of the musician's life with a hallucinatory reverence, before departing into the happy, beautiful, life filled with love that could have been for Johnston. McClanahan's prose over Cavolo's stunning illustrations left me welling with tears."
The Kind

"Sorry to all other books that are out in 2016, this thing is just glorious."
Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Astounding... as beautiful and heartbreaking, dazzling and giddy as you would expect a brilliant comic-book freestyle biography of Daniel Johnston would be. The love and affection for their subject is matched by a subtly keen dissection of the ways we mythologize troubled artists and mental illness."
Magnet Magazine


Ricardo Cavolo is a world-renowned Spanish artist whose artwork has been on display everywhere from Moscow to Montreal. He has completed artwork for Absolut Vodka, the Glastonbury Festival (United Kingdom), Urban Outfitters (France, Germany, England), Nike, FC Barcelona, and Fox Sports Mexico.

Scott McClanahan is the acclaimed and award-winning author of CrapalachiaHill William, and The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan: Volume 1. The Washington Post has called McClanahan's work "the genuine article."