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Have you met Wendy?

by Jacqueline Hampshire

In 2014, Kahnawake-born, Montréal-based artist Walter Scott gave the world Wendy. The graphic novel follows Wendy, an art school grad with big dreams of art-world success and a knack for questionable decision-making. 

Wendy drinks too much and smokes too much, sleeps with greasy band members and has evil best friends. Her schedule consists of punk concerts, after-hour parties, hangover brunches and the occasional art-related engagement. Though her all-night benders are amusing, there’s more to love about Wendy than her party-girl existence.

Wendy struggles to avoid distractions in an effort to find her place in the ‘real world’. For her, this happens to be the art world, as a reader, it doesn’t have to be. The post-graduation purgatory is a place most of us have or will find ourselves in. Wendy doesn’t exactly navigate it with ease and her constant slip-ups make her relatable and endearing. 

“It’s relatable, which is ultimately embarrassing. It’s nice to recognize parts of your everyday life in a story”, explains my friend Taryn who first introduced me to Wendy. 

Complimenting the narrative of Wendy’s mishaps, are the graphics. Scott’s drawings are simple and clever. With no apparent desire to remain true to human form, the figures warp, contort and multiply. The lines that make up Wendy and her entourage reflect their emotional state, going from straight, fine lines to thick and squiggly ones. Accompanying the visuals, the witty dialog shifts from art school intellectual to tipsy text lingo within a few frames.

Walter Scott, apart from being the master of fake band names, (‘Permanent Fad’ is pure genius) pokes fun at the MTL art scene in just the right places. An art school grad himself, Scott’s commentary, voiced through Wendy, feels honest, yet somehow avoids cynicism. You don’t get the sense that the comic is an outlet for resentment or the product of disdain. It seems to me that Wendy came to be from experience and imagination, and a desire to make people laugh. 

As an art history student, the rare opportunity to laugh at the art world is necessary for my sanity. 

More Wendy!!! On November 10th Wendy will return and this time she’s out for revenge! Grab a seat at your favourite oh-so-trendy coffee shop or distract yourself from midterms by reading Wendy cover-to-cover. You still have time to get acquainted with our heroine before the launch hosted by Librairie Drawn & Quarterly. 

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