Page 45 Review by Stephen
Originally published early in 2011 when we made this Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month, I have no idea when or how this dropped off our system. Perhaps it went out of print when the film came out. I still haven't seen that.
Anyway, in the days before we had access to interior art to show you, I set the scene thus.
Wilson accosting a stranger trying to type diligently on his laptop in a cafe:
"Hey brother - mind if I sit here?"
"It looks like there's plenty of empty tables..."
"I know, but I like to sit by the window. You working?"
"Good man. Wife? Kids?"
"That's beautiful. Living the Dream..."
[TAP TAP TAP]
"Hey, shit-head - I'm talking to you!"
That's Wilson: philosopher, philanthropist, bon viveur...
Actually he's a case study in self-centred misanthropy and deluded hypocrisy, constantly craving an ear yet too self-involved to lend anyone his own; paying lip-service to self-awareness and comprehending the world around him, but the first to give up if any thought or empathy is required. He's a man who values a decent day's work but has never done one himself; a family man without a family.
"I keep forgetting that my father is still alive."
One of the funniest books I have read in a very long time, it's composed of 71 single-page gags, their final lines beautifully undercutting the panels that precede them as Wilson begins to pine for an ex-wife he never really loved and, tracking her down, discovers she had a daughter sixteen years ago whom she gave up for fostering. Don't skip ahead because on attempting to establish contact with his daughter, the whole thing goes monumentally tits up in a way that only Wilson could manage.
Clowes cleverly lays down elements early on that later turn into punchlines, circles back round to characters you thought long-abandoned, and he uses a variety of styles and colour schemes for each fresh page depending upon its contents.
Radically different from any of his previous books (GHOST WORLD, DAVID BORING, THE DEATH-RAY etc. - all in stock), it's the first graphic novel not culled from the periodical EIGHTBALL, more of which I really don't think we'll be seeing under this industry's current trends.
... I wrote in 2011. Hey, I can do prescience.
Daniel Clowes' most recent graphic novel was PATIENCE, I mention that because you may have missed it.