Reads: Mister Wonderful

Apart from hopefully lining his wallet a bit, Dan Clowes isn’t doing himself any favors by repackaging this story. His most lightweight effort in more than a decade, it was a pandering trifle to begin with and it only suffers from being given the book treatment.

Originally published in the New York Times Magazine in 2008 and now labeled “a midlife romance,” it’s basically a wish-fulfillment story written for what Clowes’ imagined would be the typical Times readership: the kind of intellectual but lonely middle-aged white male, on retreat from the social world, who has been populating his comics for a while now. Rather hilariously, he has cited the estimable but also slightly smug filmmaker Errol Morris as the model for Marshall, the hapless protagonist of this tale.

Anyway, it seems to me that Clowes spent way too much time thinking of this imaginary Errol and too little listening to his redoubtable storytelling instincts when he writing Mister Wonderful.

Thank You, Bill Blackbeard

I have a perfect memory of sitting in my tiny New York room in the winter of 2003 overlooking a snow-covered Sakura Park, reading Krazy Kat, a cup of steaming coffee at my side. This memory now prompts a quiet, heartfelt “Thank you, Bill.”

For those of you who read Danish, here’s my obituary at Nummer9.

Image from George Herriman’s Krazy Kat.

In the Mix (MoCCA 2011)

Jon Gorga and Palle Schmidt dipping underground at Bergen Street

So, still reeling a bit from the move and all the new stuff that’s happening elsewhere, but I did get the time to drop in for the MoCCA Arts Festival at the Armory last Saturday.

I particularly enjoyed it as an opportunity immediately to get acquainted with the New York comics scene and meet in person a number of people whose work I’ve been appreciating, and some of whom I’ve been corresponding with, over the last half decade or more.

Picks of the Week

The picks of the week from around the web.

A bunch of quick comics links this week.

  • Tom Spurgeon on Chester Brown’s Paying for It. D&Q only brought 25 copies of Brown’s long-awaited new book to MoCCA, so it was sold out before I arrived, but I got a chance to leaf through. Looks amazing. And it has occasioned a thorough, intelligent critical review from Spurgeon, which makes one wish that he would do it more often.
  • Tim Kreider on the state of editorial cartooning. Good, heartfelt essay by a fine essayist.
  • Matt Seneca on color harmonies in comics. That guy’s on fire, man. I’m not sure this quite works, but whoa.
  • Anders Nilsen interviewed. Fine interview with one of comics best and brightest!
  • “Seed Toss, Kick it Over.” New DIY book from the Warren Craghead. Need I say more?
  • Kubrick! Another excellent critic and essayist, Chris Lanier, has penned this piece on Jack Kirby’s weird adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And in other Kubrick content, I dug this look at some of his 1950s reportage photographs from Chicago.
  • Jeet Heer on racism in comics. These pieces offer plenty to think about and interesting information on such classic cartoonists as Harold Gray and Frank King.
  • Photo by Stanley Kubrick.


    I’m sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve posted much of anything here. Emigrating to the States has taken some effort and time.

    I’m now living in New York, working an honest-to-God jacket-and-tie job for the first time since forever. It’s pretty great, actually. An opportunity to offset all those years spent in the splendid isolation of research and development.

    Plus, it’s just great to be back in the city. Last time I arrived here, I wrote a short piece on my then platform, the editorial section of Rackham (Danish alert!). As most things revisited after more than a half decade, it’s pretty embarrassing, if nothing else for being so overwritten, but I find the kaleidoscopic sense of possibility in, and the relentless commercial edge of, this city, that I was trying to evoke last time around, as fully palpable now as it was then.

    There are still a few kinks to be worked out in terms of fully settling here, and work places different demands on my time than I’ve been used to, but I nevertheless hope to maintain a steady presence here at the Bunker as well as around my other internet haunts (+ newly at Twitter @Metabunker) for the foreseeable future.

    Don’t touch that dial.

    Drawing for the cover of Ben Katchor’s great Julius Knipl book, The Beauty Supply District. New York in the vein.