I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got five new comics:

  • Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance – 2
  • Flashpoint: Legion of Doom – 1 and 2
  • Flashpoint: Project Superman – 2
  • Glamourpuss – 20
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

    “Mister Wonderful” by Daniel Clowes

    I’ve been a fan of Clowes’ work since the late 1980s. I had a few issues of “Lloyd Llewellyn” but it was when Clowes started doing “Eightball” that I really got into his stuff. I think I’ve bought all of his comics since then so it was a no-brainer that i would buy “Mister Wonderful”.

    At eleven inched wide by six inched tall this book is not shaped like your usual graphic novel. At eighty pages it isn’t really a novel either but long or short I’ll take my Clowes comics anyway I can get them.

    The subtitle of this book is “A Midlife Romance” and that pretty well sums up the plot. The book opens with the main character, Marshall, in a coffee shop waiting for his blind date, Natalie, to show up. It takes a while for her to show up, they go on the date, the date ends, odd things happen, and then their romance blossoms. That’s the plot but this book is not about the plot.

    This book is about Marshal and what’s going on in his head. He’s a self proclaimed “Damaged guy” and is having a hard time mustering up the self esteem too start any kind of mid-life romance. He sees this date as his last hope but that may just be his lack of confidence talking. He certainly doesn’t expect Natalie to be perfect and is happy that she isn’t as repulsed by him as he is by himself. But he tries to triumph over his own insecurities.

    The storytelling style of the book is very interesting. Parts of the book were serialized in the New York Times Magazine which accounts for the wide comic strip-like presentation but it doesn’t read like a comic strip.

    What is also interesting is the narrative presentation. We get to read Marshall’s inner dialogue as it’s going on in his head. That’s not new but it often obscures the spoken dialogue between the characters. His caption balloons are placed right over the word balloons making what he’s thinking much more important than what he’s saying.

    I think that technique worked well for the story as it emphasized that Marshall had become distant from the world and didn’t really know how to speak to it anymore. It takes him a while to sync things up.

    So if you’re a Dan Clowes fan then here is another good book for you. If you haven’t read anything by him than this is a good a place to start as anywhere. Good stuff.