2011-01-20 / News

Comic strip author plans book reception Friday

By Tim Riel

Beer, humor, comic books and art are among the things that islander Will Wilson is passionate about. Minus the beer from the equation, and what’s left is a year’s worth of the light-hearted comic strip “Ordinary Bill,” which has appeared weekly in the Jamestown Press since last February.

“I’ve always been interested in art, especially in high school, and I’d like to think I’ve got a pretty good sense of humor,” Wilson said. “So, throw all that into a blender – love for art, love for comic books, love for humor – a comic strip was the outcome.”

Tomorrow night – Friday, Jan. 21 – from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Jamestown Arts Center, Wilson will hold a release reception for his second book, “Ordinary Bill: Pretending to be Adults.” Along with a few examples of his art and illustrations on display, Wilson’s new book will be available and he will also sign copies.

Wilson grew up in Rehoboth, Mass., with his parents, Bill and Cathy, and his two younger siblings. After his parents divorced and Will went off to attend the University of Connecticut to study sculpture, his mother moved to Matunuck and his father moved to Jamestown. Following college, Will moved onto the island with his father and brother, Iain, who was attending Salve Regina and working as a reporter for the Press.

“I’ve been here ever since,” Wilson said.

Wilson said he began to be interested in comics at a young age because “my father accumulated a ton of comic books in his youth that he held onto, so I had a minor library of comic book material at my disposal.”

He was published for the first time by The Daily Campus, the student newspaper at UConn, “basically, because they would run anything,” Will said.

Currently, Wilson is published in a handful of newspapers scattered around the country, but says that most of his viewership is online, especially for “Ordinary Bill.”

Where does his get the ideas for the “Ordinary Bill” strip? “I suppose I’m Ordinary Bill,” Wilson said. “When the comic started off, I was definitely Ordinary Bill, but now, it’s sort of evolved into a magnified version of me. It’s most of my personality traits, but bumped up and emphasized.”

He said Isis, the female character in the comic strip, is influenced by his girlfriend.

Wilson said writing the comic is more tedious than the illustrating.

“Writing is more difficult,” Will said. “Mainly because, an idea will form, but the polishing and delivery of that idea can be a meticulous task. Where as drawing the comic is more natural and has a steadier flow, especially with the Sunday strips; those are a ton of fun to draw, and rather relaxing.”

Wilson includes “The Farside,” “Calvin and Hobbes,” “Krazy Kat” and pre-1990 “Doonesbury” as his favorite comics.

His web site – www.ordinarybill.com – is scheduled to be up and running next week.

“I hope people are enjoying the work,” he said. “It has been an enjoyable experience for me and I hope to continue as long as the Press lets me.”

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