Daniel Clowes - Wilson
It’s heartening to know that Daniel Clowes isn’t turning his back on comics, despite writing movies in earnest since his Oscar nomination for adapting his own graphic novel, Ghost World. Clowes’ current movie projects include The Death Ray for Jack Black, the animated Megalomania for Michel Gondry and Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (a remake of the shot-for-shot reworking of Indy’s first adventure made by kids), all of which sound very promising. Meanwhile, one of our finest contemporary cartoonists has found time to write and draw his first graphic novel featuring all-new material, ie not strips collected from issues of his occasional comic, Eightball.
Like many of Clowes’ creations (Dan Pussey, Enid Coleslaw, Random Wilder), Wilson is a hideously – and hilariously – opinionated misanthrope. In this case, a middle-aged loner living in suburban California who’s given to engaging strangers in one-sided lofty discourses on the human condition that invariably conclude with an uncalled-for unpleasant put-down such as, ‘hey, shithead, I’m talking to you!’
Wilson’s miserable life unfolds in a series of one-page anecdotes, which Clowes develops into a bleak storyline involving bereavement, estranged family, incarceration and the loss of a pet. As with his antecedents, Wilson is a mouthpiece giving voice to his creator’s cynical and incisive view of the decline of western civilisation. ‘When you imagine the future,’ Wilson opines, ‘you always think there’s going to be more stuff, but really there’s just different stuff, and it’s never the stuff you were hoping for.’ So true.