Dan Clowes is one of the most respected graphic novelists in the US, with such past successes as Ghost World, Wilson, and Mr. Wonderful. Clowes' many works tend to focus on disaffected, curmudgeonly, misanthropic, intelligent, and intensely introspective loners, as does his newest work Patience. The difference is that the protagonist Jack Barlow fell in love with a woman named Patience. The rub is that he loses her under tragic circumstances, but instead of merely being eaten up by his sorrow an opportunity opens up. He discovers a person who has discovered the secret to time travel, and so Barlow steals it and goes back to prevent the tragedy from happening.
Dr. Strange story or a James Cameron movie, but the narrative ends of being mundane and weirdly grounded. Still, this is a complex work that demonstrates a masterful grasp on artistry and storytelling, a well made book, but not one of my favorites by Clowes.
All of the reviews of this book I have read comment on its complexity, maturity, and evocative narrative. Etelka Lehoczky was very pleased with the fact that "Clowes does create another lonely, obsessed male character here, but
instead of brooding endlessly over the woman he's lost, Jack does
something to help her." Jacob Brogan called it "a surprisingly calm work, probably Clowes’ most confident and clear-headed book to date." Kathleen Rooney wrote, "The book's self-awareness and sympathy make it more than just an
exercise in the mixing of genres, but it's in this unabashed mixing that
Clowes creates a story that is as transcendent as it is upsetting — and
Clowes speaks about his inspirations and work on this book in this interview.
Patience was published by Fantagraphics Books, and they have a preview and much more here.