Though Daniel Clowes soared to indie-culture celebritydom when his stories “Ghost World” and “Art School Confidential” made the journey from regular installments in his ongoing comic book, “Eightball,” to the movie screen, he’s never actually crafted a fully realized graphic novel without serialization before his latest, “Wilson.” Perhaps it’s not surprising, given that, that this native Hyde Parker (now living in Oakland) structures the story of a lovable misanthrope, who suffers from a toxic mix of yearning to make connections in his lonely life with a tourettic tendency to blurt out uncomfortable truths, as an episodic narrative of one-page comics. It’s like they’re drawn for the Sunday funnies of a better world’s newspaper, one in which real people age and progess through a life never quite as good as it should be or as bad as it could be. Wilson’s a handsomely crafted book, in Clowes’ distinguished graphic signature, with interspersed stylistic interruptions that make for some interesting interpretation, both visually and narratively. Chicago makes a big cameo as well, when Wilson’s father takes ill, a parallel narrative to Clowes’ own journey home a couple years back, when he sat bedside as his father died of cancer. Given the accomplishment of “Wilson,” this weekend’s return should mark a significantly happier homecoming. (Brian Hieggelke)
Daniel Clowes appears at Quimby’s Bookstore, 1854 West North, (773)342-0910, June 12 at 7pm, and again on June 13, in conversation with Newcity’s Ray Pride, at the Printers Row Lit Fest, Center Stage, at 11am.