Top critical review
3 of 5 people found this helpful
An objective review
on 25 October 2009
I've never read anything by Daniel Clowes (nor have I seen the adaption of Ghost World that is so critically acclaimed) so I wasn't sure what to expect really, especially since there was no brief description blurb on the back of book. David Boring is about David Boring, a 20-something part time film student and expert pick-up artist. The story chronicles his meeting of a woman called Wanda, someone he eventually becomes infatuated with. David Boring is a unique story to say the least, with a 3-act structure, no act is similar (by much) to the previous, and there are plenty of twists and turns. But it's also a hard comic to get into.
While the story is unique in itself, it's also pretty aimless and has this annoying tendancy (like every piece of media aiming for indie cred) for the characters to fall prey to a severe amount ignorance when it comes to extraordinary events. For instance, David finds himself in some pretty extraordinary situations, especially one or two which are pretty life threatening, but at no point does he wonder, question or even go out of his way to figure out why these things are happening. Often, the story looks as if it's going to a very interesting place only to fizzle out to nothing at all. There are a number of interesting story beats here (David tries to figure out more about his late father through a comic book his Dad drew years ago, or the World War nuclear apocalypse backdrop that is kept at arms length) that ultimately lead to nowhere. It gives the impression that the author, while obviously gifted in terms of characterisation, writing and artwork, wanted to make an incredibly layered and complex story that ends up being quite shallow in parts.
But it is not a terrible comic, in fact after I had finished I was inclined to read it again thinking it'd maybe read better the second time around, like how sitcoms become more funny the more you know the characters. I feel the book would benefit from re-reading in order to fully "get it" (what there is to get however, I don't know, nor do I think there is anything to "get".) That said, it cannot be denied the comic has a number of problems, and although no piece of work is ever perfect, nor does it deserve the unanimous praise it seems to be getting here.
I would recommend it, if only to read such a unique story, but I doubt you'll be heralding it as the greatest work you've ever read.