Saturday, March 19, 2011


Daniel Clowes' latest book, Wilson. Image via Drawn and Quarterly

I got this book for my birthday but just read it recently. I wouldn't call it classic Clowes as surprisingly it's his first complete "graphic novel", but more of an expansion of his Ouevre that he's been exploring for years. Despite his other books being compilations of individually printed comics, those books seemed to have a more clear narrative than this one which feels more like a serial comic that's been compiled. I assume that was in part due to the formal story structure Clowes has chosen. What Clowes does with these one-pagers is tell a very complete story with remarkably little. I suppose it's like a great piece of music where the spaces mean as much as the notes. Typical of a Clowes' character, Wilson is a deluded loser but his tale of woe (mostly brought upon himself) is not only sad but incredibly and wickedly funny. Dan Clowes' humour has always been present in his work but I don't know if I had ever laughed out loud as often as I did with this book. Even though there is a repeated form to every page and a formulaic construction of every joke, the last panel was always the dagger that drew laughter (and a little blood). Of course, the writing uses explicit language and humour so it's not exactly a Sunday School Special but fans of Clowes will appreciate both his writing, and seeing his full range and knowledge of the medium as he manipulates comic book clich├ęs and styles in creating Wilson's story.

Yeesh, this post is written like a bad weekend review hacked together to meet a Friday night deadline. My most sincere apologies.

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