Saturday, March 25, 2017


Wendy is a whirlwind of a book, about a young, trendy woman who is trying to make her way in the art world. She wants to be a star, but she keeps getting distracted by things like drinking, partying with her friends, seeing punk shows, and needing to make money. She finds occasional opportunities though nothing seems to pan out, and mostly she seems to rely on others to figure out things for her.
What makes this book really work for me is not just that it is the portrait of a wanna-be artist, it is also a broad, biting depiction of the art-world she is trying to break into. There are sleazy art critics who have their own designs on her, successful "role models" who are treacherous and terrible, scenesters there for a good time, and more sincere people who dabble in performance art, fashion, and music. The audience for such satire might be limited, but I found this book utter compelling, at once repelling, hilarious, touching, and caustic.

One of the other aspects of this book that endeared it to me was its art style. It is crude, black and white, and very expressive: sometimes characters' faces devolve into simple, geometric shapes. In terms of visuals and story, the entire book packs an impressive wallop. It's like Mark Beyer made a sequel to Dan Clowe's "Art School Confidential", and I mean that as a high compliment, not in a derivative way. This book's author Walter Scott has his own unique vision, and I love how he delivers it. He speaks about Wendy and his other art endeavors in this interview.

The reviews I have read about this book have all been very positive. Olivia Whittick called it "the funniest, most touching, most relatable comic I have read in a really long time." Sean Rogers wrote, "Scott takes a snarky scene report, and subtly shades it into an affecting character study." And like Katie Skelly wrote in her review, I am also hoping for "her speedy return."

Wendy was published by Koyama Press, and they have more a preview and info about it here. For interested readers, there is also a sequel Wendy's Revenge. Because of drug use, sexual situations, and profanity, I recommend this book for mature readers.

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