cover image Wilson


Daniel Clowes, . . Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 (77pp) ISBN 978-1-77046-007-2

Clowes (Ghost World ) takes his particular brand of misanthropic misery to new levels of brilliance in this book, a series of one-page gags that show the divorced and lonely main character repeatedly attempting to engage with life, and then falling back into his hell of pessimism. Clowes uses a variety of drawing styles to depict Wilson and his world; sometimes he's highly realistic, other times he's an Andy Capp–style cartoon, but he's always the same downbeat guy. In one sketch titled “FL 1282,” Wilson asks the kid seated next to him on a plane about his line of work. When the kid answers that he does “I.T. stuff,” Wilson comes back at him with a mockingly satirical description of his own supposed work, using only initials. The last panel shows Wilson looking at a Spirit magazine and asking, “Christ, do you realize how ridiculous you sound?” Clearly, the comment is directed as much at himself as to the I.T. kid. This attitude of solipsistic despair is expressed incisively and cleverly, taking Wilson through a search for his ex-wife, Pippi, who has become a prostitute since leaving him, and their daughter, put up for adoption years earlier. Clowes offers another beautifully drawn slice of piercing social commentary. (Apr.)