March 19, 2009

Mr. Wonderful by Daniel Clowes

Oops, forgot to cross-post this here on Tuesday. Sorry about that!

Ah ha, success! I have FINALLY read a graphic novel from my list! No need for applause, gentle reader. I’m merely performing the bare minimum required of me. Given that I took up the lofty mantle of Major level participation (twelve books), I’m not doing a very good job in this challenge.

I blame society.

Anyway! The first graphic novel to get crossed off is Mister Wonderful by Daniel Clowes. I’ve read a lot of his work and when I found this FREE online graphic novel, I was happy to add it to the list. Not only is it a quick read, but it’s awesome, just like all of Clowes’ print books.

Clowes’ writes and draws the mundane in a delightfully weird fashion. From the snobby outsider Enid Coleslaw in Ghost World to the thoughtful pick-up artist David Boring, Clowes’ characters are unique in that they don’t strive to be anything more than regular people.

In Mister Wonderful we meet Marshall, a middle-aged divorced guy waiting for his blind date in a café. The graphic novel runs twenty chapters long and spans the course of his date with Natalie and the morning after.

See? Clowes writes the mundane, but manages to make it interesting! The dialogue is snappy and modern and the pictures are typical Clowes—colourful crosshatched image of regular people. The difference is that onscreen they are vibrant. The colours really pop. While I’m not a fan of reading regular books on the computer, Mister Wonderful is easy on the eyes.

Clowes is also a master at making the image fit with the words. For instance, when Natalie discloses to Marshall that her last relationship fell apart after she told her boyfriend she wanted a baby. Her boyfriend’s reaction was a derisive laugh. Clowes draws this laugh, filling Natalie’s apartment with the big block letters HAHA. The laughter haunts her.

Great graphic novel by a stellar writer and artist. I highly recommend Mister Wonderful. It doesn’t take long to read, and it’s a great introduction to Clowes’ work if you’ve never read anything else by him. One thing to note if you plan on reading this, the New York Times posted the conclusion first for some odd reason. Skip the first link and go straight to chapter one. Unfortunately, I read the conclusion first so I had a sense of where the story was going.

Rating: Four stars


Alea said...

I love Daniel Clowes, I still need to read a few of his graphic novels that I haven't yet! Ice Haven is my favorite! Mr. Wonderful is great, I just love his illustration style as well.

Olga said...

Hey Alea, I haven't read Ice Haven, butI totally agree--his illustration style is great. :)

Alea said...

You should definitely try it! I love how it's a bunch of little stories of one town, it's awesome!