Author: Walter K. Scott
Publisher: Koyama Press
Check this book on Goodreads.
Wendy is trendy, and has dreams of art stardom—but our young urban protagonist is perpetually derailed by the temptations of punk music, drugs, alcohol, parties, and boys. Hegemonies and hearts are broken in this droll and iconoclastic look at the worlds of art and twentysomethings. (Source: Goodreads)
Wendy is a 20-something artist living in Montreal. She has to deal with highs and lows in her career and a, surprisingly, large set of backstabbing friends. She is mostly faced with lows as she tries to find a place for herself in Montreal, and the on an island where she travels to continue her work. Everyone else seems to have the answers to her life, but don’t seem to want to share just what these answers are with Wendy. This book wraps up the excitements and disappointments of being in your 20s and trying to make your way in the world.
I am a little on the fence with this comic. I was initially attracted to it for a few reasons, the style (which was vaguely reminiscent of Persepolis or really Marjane Satrapi in general), the fact that it’s Canadian content, and also because it was likened to Cathy. I am a big fan of Cathy, the one Cathy book I have has been read and reread for the last 18 years of my life regularly, even when I didn’t get the jokes. I have to say…I still prefer Cathy and found that the content of Cathy resonated with me more than Wendy. The story of Wendy gets better the longer you read it, but the initial portion of the book just left me feeling like “why am I reading this?” The art isn’t the best, and isn’t super to my taste, however Scott does some really interesting stuff which I liked.
A lot of the jokes in Wendy come from partying and art scenes, things I’ve never really been a part of (even though I was a film student). For me, this stuff was just kind of lost on me. I didn’t get it, and didn’t find it funny or interesting. I also found the transitions and movement in the story difficult to follow as they were abrupt and confusing. However, the farther you get into the book the more interesting it becomes. There’s more content about Wendy being stuck in this place of uncertainty about her life and about her art, which is really interesting because it really resonated for me, because even though I’ve decided what I’m doing now, and I’ve found my thing there have been times where I’m just lost. I found the latter portion of the book really excellent because of this. I think this was basically the equivalent for me of the Cathy issue where she’s always trying to build a family and a life but isn’t all that successful.
The art is black and white, with a lot of block black spaces. It’s rather plain looking art, which looks pretty similar to other people’s work (like Marjane Satrapi) however (!!) Scott really adds an interesting character to his art in places. There are these places where Wendy will be running away of moving away from things and she becomes this swirl of movement and you can see all the frames of movement all at once which reminded me a little of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. I found that kind of stuff in the comic really interesting and unique, which made the art stand out a little more.
Just one note, the writing style might bug a lot of people. It bothered me a little, but not too too much. Basically it’s written like we text, all bad spelling and numbers and at signs and stuff. A little hard to read sometimes, but made sense in the context.
I think that while it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, Wendy is definitely worth a read if you’re into this style of comic. As much as I complained about this while I was reading it, I think it’s got some great stuff in it, and the art, while not perfect, has a unique twist to it which I appreciated.