This first book from Chicago author Chris Ware is a pleasantly-decorated view at a lonely and emotionally-impaired "everyman" (Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth), who is provided, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time. An improvisatory romance which gingerly deports itself between 1890's Chicago and 1980's small town Michigan, the reader is helped along by thousands of colored illustrations and diagrams, which, when read rapidly in sequence, provide a convincing illusion of life and movement. The bulk of the work is supported by fold-out instructions, an index, paper cut-outs, and a brief apology, all of which concrete to form a rich portrait of a man stunted by a paralyzing fear of being disliked.
From the Hardcover edition.
Emotionally distant and affecting...
By James Hiller - May 19, 2003
I've never done this before. Buy a book. Can't stand it. Return it a few days later. Buy it back a few hours later. Fall in love with it. Such is my journey with Chris Ware's graphic book, "Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth". Let me tell you first why I returned it, and what redeemed it.I came across this book after a brief EW mention of it, rating it very high. Intrigued, I purchased a copy, and attempted to delve into its layers. Instead of intrigue, I found frustration, mainly because I simply didn't know how to look at the book. I didn't know where my eyes were supposed to go, so many of the early pages were difficult to read. Plus, the characters constant and sudden lapses into their daydreams made for early confusion. So, I returned it, happy of my decision. And then, I attended a live version of "This American Life" that prominently featured the work of Ware. His artwork captivated me, enough to rebuy the book and try again. What I found was... read more
Brilliant -- Perhaps the first true graphic "novel"
By Michael S. Manley - September 16, 2000
Having been entranced by Ware's "The Acme Novelty Catalog" (a meticulously produced comic book containing the Jimmy Corrigan novel and extras, plus other pieces and marginalia that rivals even that of Dave Eggers) for a long time, and having followed a great deal of this book's story in Chicago's NewCity paper, I was no less impressed and moved by encountering the entire story here in one collection. While the abject loneliness of Jimmy Corrigan is more deeply rendered through the extra vignettes in Acme Novelty Co., this book brilliantly captures the evolution of a strain of melancholy across generations (from the dispossesed Irish immigrant/veteran to the abused orphan to the ignored/smothered Jimmy), beautifully counterpointed by the promise of real family assembled from the fragments of others (Jimmy's father and sister). The epilogue (which, frankly, would resonate even more if some of the aforementioned vignettes had been included in this book) lends... read more
Take this seriously
By Jeff Hodges - March 9, 2001
When people see you reading Jimmy Corrigan, you will get quite the gamut of reactions. Some people snicker to themselves and mumble something about a long comic book and wonder where "Flash-man" is. Others will take an interest, read the first ten pages, and put it down in emotional and intellectual frustration. Then you have a few people who will widen their eyes and say solemnly "are you serious...?"This work realizes the dream of Scott McCloud's literary graphic novel in a way that has no precedent that I have found. It is both accessible and intellectual. Its the story of an emotionally destitute and pitiful character named Jimmy Corrigan (actually a couple of them, if you want to get technical) and his search for a meaningful relationship with his/thier father(s). To tell any more than that (even that is too much) will destroy the story for you. Its a story that unwinds over the course of its reading, yet is present from the very first page.Things to think... read more
Even the most desperate poverty, the most devastating illness, the most heart-wrenching grief is not beyond God's help. His love and power have no limits-and that's a message readers from all walks ...
Covering the years 1870-75, this history celebrates the introduction of P. T. Barnum into circus proprietorship, an episode that connected his name and legend with this American institution for all ...