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Acme Novelty Library #20 Hardcover – Unabridged, November 9, 2010
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*Starred Review* The latest entry in Ware’s roughly annual Acme Novelty Library is devoted to a heretofore peripheral figure in his ongoing “Rusty Bown” saga, Jordan Lint, who appeared briefly in earlier installments as a school bully. Here Ware chronicles nothing less than Lint’s entire life in a series of single-page vignettes, from a newborn who sees the world in the form of benday dots to his troubled childhood, stormy adolescence, and failures as husband, father, and businessman, right up to his eventual death. Ware uses a wide palette of graphic devices—isolated words, symbolic objects, and near-subliminal flashbacks—to convey Lint’s inner thoughts and hidden turmoil. The assertive Lint seems a departure from Ware’s typically hapless and passive protagonists, but he shares many of their traits, from a damaging early trauma to a near-spiritual attachment to a childhood home. And Ware’s formal mastery of the medium continues to astonish. While he uses his characteristic techniques—meticulous drawing; tiny, repetitive panels ingeniously juxtaposed; creative typography—to brilliant effect, here he adds to his arsenal with a powerful sequence depicting a harrowing experience that happened to Lint’s son, rendered in a primitive scrawl that’s all the more powerful for its radical break with Ware’s usual detached approach. --Gordon Flagg
About the Author
Chris Ware lives in Oak Park, Illinois, and is the author of Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, which was recently selected as one of the hundred best books of the decade by the London Times. He is an irregular contributor to The New Yorker.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is gorgeously illustrated, as all of Ware's books are. But the central story-telling device: each page represents a day in each year of Jordan Lint's life, really works quite well. The efficiency with which Ware has to convey the story over a small amount of pages really ends up propelling the story quite nicely.
I understand that this book ties in to the Rusty Brown series, which I have read parts of, but really: this book stands on its own very well. It feels much like most other Ware books. Bittersweet, thoughtful, full of regret, mistakes, memories (happy or sad), and struggling with the past.
This book could fall apart if it were much larger and denser, but as a short story, it is really a lovely one-off. As a supporting book to Rusty Brown, it's still quite good. The production of this book is in keeping with everything Ware. A handsome cloth-bound volume with really nice heavy paper (cardstock weight). There's a nice hour or so in reading this book, and the art slows you down enough to take it in.
Chris Ware is a storyteller. He is an artist in both his graphic preentation and in his storytelling. The use of the multi-color process as part of this american tragedy is effective.
I was not as emotionally attached to Lint as I have been with Jimmy Corrigan, but it is an excellent graphic novel on its own.
Mr. Ware ties the story artfully into his Acme world and gives the reader a veritable continent in the Lint character to experience. The beginning is ingenious, the ending gut wrenchingly apt and the rest like watching the best movie you have ever seen but played in the confines of your own personal all too small mental sphere-too small because you feel that there is so much in the world of Lint and your own feelings add in on top of that to make for a reaction that is at times claustrophobic and at others cathartic.
Yet it is pathetic and icky. Too dirty and real. These things should be left behind closed doors and not flaunted in the pages of a finely bound book......or should they?
Thus....it is art. It was made and I experience, like some cross dimensional traveler, decades in a few hours (I like to take breaks and slowly meander through the pictures). When I was done reading and turned the cover over - closed- and read in the smallest font size the last two words all I could think of is - what was the character's name in The Matrix, Ah- Cipher...when he said to the character Neo, "Jeezuz...what a mind job". I feel awfully cheap in quoting from some pop movie to compliment a work like this...but
What a mind job....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jimbo would very much like it, if it would be possible, to please to return his hands if you would be so kind.