Monday, May 3, 2010

Self-P, part four

Case in point: Dan Clowes' self-portrait is the second-to-last component of his new book Wilson. Meta-Clowes writes, "He finds it uncomfortable to hand-letter information about himself in the third person but feels the need to fill this space with a block of text for design purposes." Exactly: need and design.

Douglas Wolk notes, "Paul Gravett observed that 'Wilson' is a partial anagram of Daniel Clowes (like 'Enid Coleslaw' from Ghost World)--maybe this is some kind of nastily refracted self-portrait, and in fact the final images we see of Wilson are very close to Clowes' actual self-portrait a few pages later" (via Techland). The image above teases loose continuity with the comic vignettes (he's like his character) and subsequently teases loose correspondence with real life Clowes (his character's like him).

This publishing necessity, however, makes me wary of both because the bio becomes a new focal point for sabotaging sincerity. Even though it's jokey, it does exactly what it needs to do: dates, location, family, works, this work. The midsection of humor attests to the fact that we the audience love Clowes' sensibility, that we will follow Clowes anywhere, and more importantly that peevish Wilson, however Clowesian he may be, is but a temporary manifestation of our beloved clown Clowes. Long live the string-puller, no matter how short-lived the pulled was.

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