Wilson is cartoonist Daniel Clowes' first graphic novel (that is, it's not an anthology of a serial comic book strip). It's about a lonely, unemployed, self-loathing, passive-aggressive sad-sack who goes through life making himself and the people around him miserable. In the beginning, the pages seem to be unconnected, but about a third-of-the way in I had been swept up in the plot, which involves the highly-opinionated Wilson coming to terms with various relatives that he has deeply flawed relationships with.
Like all of Clowes' work, Wilson is darkly funny and moving, and the art is outstanding. He's in top form here. Clowes uses many different cartooning styles to tell the story, which is masterfully presented in a series of 70 one-page vignettes. For the last 10 years or so, Clowes has been writing screenplays, which has sharpened his storytelling and character development skills. The Wilson character is repulsive, but at the same time he is sensitive, intelligent, and insightful about the human condition. I cared about what happened to him.
If you live in or near Los Angeles, Clowes will be at Skylight Books on Friday, May 14, 2010, at 7:30 pm.
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