“Mr. Wonderful” by Daniel Clowes (2011) – 77 pages
“Mr. Wonderful” is the ironic title of this graphic novel about a blind first date between Marshall and Natalie, both in their thirties. Much of the book was originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine.
Marshall hasn’t had a date for the six years since the divorce from his wife who “had some issues with fidelity”. His friends Yuki and Ted set him up with Natalie, and while waiting for her in the designated restaurant meeting place, Marshall is filled with self doubts and grandiose dreams. Natalie arrives forty minutes late, apologizes, and the date begins.
Much of the story is taken up with Marshall’s interior monologue. Just how honest and truthful should he be and still not scare her away? Natalie tells Marshall her back story. Marshall is ready to go into his story when the little mediator inside his head, who is actually pictured as a small fairy version of himself in a cloud above his head, says “Schmuck! What are you doing?! Don’t bum her out with your sob sister crap! What’s wrong with you?”
One of the nice things about “Mr. Wonderful” is the variety of the artwork which spices the story up to a considerable extent.
Marshall, with all his self-doubts and inner criticisms and self-consciousness, is reminiscent of the Woody Allen character in the early Woody Allen movies like ‘Play It Again Sam’. It does lend even more humor and realism to the dating situation. However we’ve seen this first date setup a thousand times before. Many events occur during the date which I won’t go into. You can find out for yourselves.
“Mr. Wonderful” is neither great literature nor a great graphic novel. However, it is a pleasant diversion, and being a graphic novel, the book does not require much time or effort to complete.