Mister Wonderful: A Love Story

Overview

The fan-favorite Eisner Award-winning story, originally seri­alized in The New York Times Magazine, now collected and with forty pages of new material.
 
Meet Marshall. Sitting alone in the local coffee place. He’s been set up by his friend Tim on a blind date with someone named Natalie, and now he’s just feeling set up. She’s nine minutes late and counting. Who was he kidding anyway? Divorced, ...
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Overview

The fan-favorite Eisner Award-winning story, originally seri­alized in The New York Times Magazine, now collected and with forty pages of new material.
 
Meet Marshall. Sitting alone in the local coffee place. He’s been set up by his friend Tim on a blind date with someone named Natalie, and now he’s just feeling set up. She’s nine minutes late and counting. Who was he kidding anyway? Divorced, middle-aged, newly unem­ployed, with next to no prospects, Marshall isn’t ex­actly what you’d call a catch. Twenty minutes pass.
A half hour. Marshall orders a scotch. (He wasn’t going to drink!) Forty minutes.
 
Then, after nearly an hour, when he’s long since given up hope, Natalie appears—breathless, apologiz­ing profusely that she went to the wrong place. She takes a seat, to Marshall’s utter amazement.
 
She’s too good to be true: attractive, young, intel­ligent, and she seems to be seriously engaged with what Marshall has to say. There has to be a catch.
 
And, of course, there is.
 
During the extremely long night that follows, Marshall and Natalie are emotionally tested in ways that two people who just met really should not be. Not, at least, if they want the prospect of a second date.
 
A captivating, bittersweet, and hilarious look at the potential for human connection in an increasingly hopeless world, Mister Wonderful more than lives up to its name.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Marshall is a middle-aged divorcé, not especially attractive, and his blind date is already nearly an hour late. From this unpromising beginning, Daniel Clowes' "love story" stretches out before us with the radiant ambiguity of real-life situations. When Natalie finally does appear, she is so abjectly apologetic, winning, beautiful, and attentive that Marshall fights not to be swept off his very flat feet. As the evening extends into night and the pair head off for a party, the story once again drifts into complications, eventually leading us—and the couple to a conclusion still wavering in the air. Daniel Clowes' Mister Wonderful doubtless won its Eisner Award for being so unique and recognizable.

Publishers Weekly
Schlubby, broke, lonely divorcé Marshall only wants a partner, "someone to read the parts of the paper I throw away (travel, garden)." He's been set up on a date with Natalie, who's more or less perfect for him—operative phrase "more or less." She's got some damage of her own, but they do seem to have at least a touch of chemistry. Over the course of the evening, nearly everything that could go wrong with a tentative flirtation does, including a mugging and a really bad party. Expanded from a serial that ran in the New York Times Magazine, this is a gorgeously staged graphic novella consistently playful and funny on a formal level—there's a running joke involving Marshall's interior monologue covering up images or dialogue, and constant fantasy sequences signaled by drawing-style shifts. It's also the most tightly focused and sweet-tempered of Clowes's books so far, the closest thing he's done to a Woody Allen movie. Still, it wouldn't be Clowes if he didn't show at least a touch of contempt for all of his characters amid the tenderness; the story is a romantic comedy with almost—but not quite—enough caveats to sink any sense of hope. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Unassuming but accomplished.” –Booklist

“A captivating, bittersweet, and hilarious look at the potential for human connection in an increasingly hopeless world, Mister Wonderful more than lives up to its name.” –Downtown Association of Santa Cruz

“Entirely crafty…uber pretty.” –Sequential Tart

Mister Wonderful is--okay, fine, I’ll say it—wonderful…this may be the most affirming and wistful work Clowes has ever done. Mister Wonderful is sly, genuine, and the mark of an artist who continues to innovate and thrive in the medium.” –Omnivoracious
 
“Outright spectacular.” –The Comics Journal

“Clowes' humor in Mister Wonderful is often biting, but here it's tempered by an unusual sweetness.” –NPR.org  

“Wonderful…It’s a remarkable work. Clowes is a master cartoonist, and every panel features delightful linework, making the book a pleasure to look at as well as to read. What’s perhaps most remarkable, however, is the degree to which Clowes creates a character, allows the reader to inhabit that reader’s skull and hear and live with the character’s thoughts, and sustain it for so long.” –Newsarama

"Funny, poignant, and powerfully evocative…As a storyteller and artist Clowes is at his masterful best here. There may be a few living graphic novelists as talented as Clowes, but in my opinion no one tops him." –Boing Boing

“Something of a revelation… Mister Wonderful is surprisingly sweet.” –AV Club
 
“Wrings startling humor and intimacy from numerous two-page spreads that cleverly capitalize on the book’s panoramic format…this oddly affecting, even hopeful Mister Wonderful gently breaks new ground for Clowes.” –Critical Mob.com
 
“A captivating, bittersweet, and hilarious look at the potential for human connection in an increasingly hopeless world, Mister Wonderful more than lives up to its name.” –comiXology

“Painfully wry and sardonic, a surprisingly touching page-turner… Mister Wonderful includes many tour de force touches.” –Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“A pitch-perfect combination of poignant and painful…Clowes writes and illustrates with the kind of smart perceptions and depths of understanding that reward repeated readings.” –AgonyColumn.com

“The oddly affecting, even hopeful Mister Wonderful gently breaks new ground for Clowes, who tacitly dares his readers to believe in a future for two lonely, screwed-up souls.” –CriticalMob.com
 
“The art is in a typical Clowes style, minimalistic and very humanizing, and it functions as a beautiful conduit of advancing the story…Mister Wonderful is a great romantic tale that has as much to do with self-respect and self-esteem as it does romantic love, and the two ideas marry in a simply wonderful way.” –The Anniston Star
 
“Human empathy dramatized in varying shades of white, black, and gray—with plenty of sharp humor included.” –Boston Globe

“Clowes writes—and draws—novels with lovable characters that you root for…a lovely love story about real, ordinary, consistently surprising people.” –About Books by Claire Ernsberger  

“The art is in a typical Clowes style, minimalistic and very humanizing, and it functions as a beautiful conduit of advancing the story and illustrating the way Marshall perceives and feels the world around him…a great romantic tale that has as much to do with self-respect and self-esteem as it does romantic love, and the two ideas marry in a simply wonderful way.” –annistonstar.com

Kirkus Reviews

An expansion of the strip initially serialized in theNew York Times Magazine.

During the brief period when that publication was experimenting with graphic narrative and other serializations, Clowes reached a wider readership, many of them unaware of the renown he'd earned with works like Ghost World(1997). Whether as an introduction to or an affirmation of his comic artistry, this novella-scaled narrative shows the complex, sophisticated possibilities inherent within the artist's work and the graphic-narrative format. The "Mister Wonderful" of the title is a middle-aged divorcé named Marshall, waiting at a coffee shop for a blind date who is either very late or who has stood him up. When Natalie belatedly shows, his interior monologue gives way to dialogue, as Clowes artfully conveys what they're thinking and hearing (or think they're hearing) as they're talking. Natalie is far more attractive than Marshall had any reason to anticipate, and she seems to respond to him more warmly than he feels he deserves. She turns out to be as neurotic as he is needy, yet both invite the reader's empathy. After a late start and an awkward process of getting to know each other, they seem to be getting along very well when Natalie reveals she has a party to attend and has to cut their evening short. Yet she ultimately invites Marshall to accompany her to the party, where he knows no one and she finds herself in a position of heightened drama. By the end of a long night, they are somehow still together, though the resolution is no more certain than it would be in life.

Clowes finds heightened reality in caricature.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307378132
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/12/2011
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 798,242
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 11.16 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

DANIEL CLOWES is widely considered one of the best car­toonists of his generation; his adaptation of his own Ghost World graphic novel for the screen earned him an Oscar nomination. A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Mc­Sweeney’s, and The Best American Comics, he lives in Oak­land, California.
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