Book review: Wilson by Daniel Clowes
Published by Drawn and Quarterly, 80 pp, $23.95, hardcover
Wilson is an asshole. Not a lovable rascal, either, but a full-on misanthrope. So why should we care about the titular protagonist of the latest Daniel Clowes graphic novel, which is the cartoonist’s first book of all-new material, as opposed to a collection of previously published stories? Well, because he’s funny, in a caustic way. He accosts strangers on the sidewalk and in coffee shops, mostly to hear himself talk, but also to mock their supposedly deficient values.
Despite his acidic demeanour and general lack of redeeming qualities, though, you’ve got to feel sorry for a guy who has never had anything go his way. An unemployed loner who spends his days walking his dog, visiting his father on his deathbed, and complaining, Wilson has no prospects of any change on the horizon. Until he reconnects with his long-absent ex-wife and learns about the daughter he never knew he had, that is. Then things change, all right, but not necessarily for the better.
Wilson, which Clowes has ingeniously arranged as a series of single-page gag strips drawn in a number of different styles, is by turns profoundly hilarious and deeply depressing. In other words, it’s classic Clowes.