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VINE VOICEon June 15, 2006
Jimmy Corrigan is a brilliant piece of work.

I am not (and never have been) much of an active connoisseur of graphic novels. Only in rare instances have I ever purchased and fully enjoyed such an item. I received "Smartest Kid" as a gift from a friend of mine, which she described as 'a decadent film experience'

Indeed this book (which really could pass as a novel) is quite a decadent, nostalgic stroll on a downward spiral into a bottomless pit. The story takes place in Chicago, and Jimmy (our poor protagonist with no self confidence) is chucked into a situation where he is to 'reunite' with his estranged father. Jimmy daydreams, he has flashbacks, and is awkward in every possible situation... and we do too right along with him. Ware's unusual and somewhat confusing style of paneling lends itself to the current journey at hand, which makes for an intense and throught provoking read. This book is a real page turner. How will it end? WHEN will it end? Is there hope for Jimmy, or is he a lost soul?

This is not reccomended for the younger crowd. There's a small amount of profanity and sexual subject matter. Many of the situations cater toward the understanding of an adult, and there is definitely a lot to read. But all that said, this is an intellegent book with a lot to offer. It might make a good item to buy for father's day. As my dad told me when I got it for him, "thanks for a thoughtful and rewarding gift."
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on January 30, 2018
This is a beautiful comic or graphic novel. It's in Chris Ware's unique style and his art will have you pouring over every page. The story is mostly straightforward, but is beautifully downbeat and deeply affecting. It really gets under your skin. I've read just about everything Ware has produced since reading this, but this still remains my favorite.
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on November 27, 2012
Chris Ware may not be for everybody because his writing is so bleak and full of despair, but this is a great work in the graphic novel medium. Ware is a master of balancing panels ranging from tiny to full-page, balancing humor and pathos, and creating a deep atmosphere for the characters.

The story shifts between two time periods, and also has brief glimpses into fantasies and intermediate periods in the characters' lives. Mainly it's about a middle aged man who has never known his father going to see him for the Thanksgiving weekend (about 2/3 of the book), and his grandfather's experience as a young boy living with his father during the 1893 Columbian World's Fair (the other 1/3).

I'm not sure if the printing Amazon is selling is the same as the one I read from the library, but in the one I read, even the front and back covers and title pages had text and comics full of dark humor and self-deprecation. Reading the book can get a bit overwhelming, but every time I was getting confused or felt it was going too far, something stunning popped up to push me forward.

I don't want to give too much away, but for anyone who is not prejudiced against graphic novels or character-driven books, this is a must-read.
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on August 21, 2013
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth is a book unlike any you have ever read, graphic or otherwise. Chris Ware weaves a narrative that requires a lot of dedication from the reader; you may find yourself flipping the book around all angles to follow the story, but believe me, the journey is worth it. When you begin to understand Jimmy Corrigan's unique literary language, the reward is great, and it becomes very difficult to not suggest the book to everybody you know.
That being said, don't make the mistake of getting the paperback edition; hardcover is the way to go for this one. Half way through reading my paperback copy, it started falling apart. Just shell out a few extra bucks if you can-- it'll last longer.

'Jimmy Corrigan' features rich, vulnerable characters, a wonderful color palette, and an overbearing feeling of melancholy that I haven't experienced in almost any other form of storytelling, ever. Give this little gem a try, its about as good as it gets.
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on June 4, 2011
If you're one of those readers--I know I definitely am-- that loves books that induce a mild state of dysthymic depression, this was made for you. A story told in grays and beiges and emotional stuntedness, Jimmy Corrigan is an outstanding document of modern mediocrity. A man receives a phone call from his father, an unknown, and goes to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. "Oh," you're thinking, "that's not so bad, is it?" Wrong. Alternately you will want to laugh hysterically at how sad the two Corrigans are, or cry yourself into a state of catatonia at how laughably pathetic they are. Jimmy Corrigan is a masterpiece collage of awkward pain and hurt. Do not expect any shining, heart-warming moments like Craig Thompson's Blankets. This is a growing-up story of people who don't experience anything, whose emotions are so boring that they bore themselves. I loved the truthfulness and preciseness of the images. That said, it is dense and at times, impossible to read without becoming cross-eyed, as Chris Wares decided he wanted to put the panels together differently on every single page. It's not for everyone, but for some people, it's perfect.
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on August 7, 2002
This is a labor of love. Chris Ware has taken time and his considerable talent and crafted a tale that should be pondered and studied. It is not easy reading, parts are heavy, edgy, sometimes crass, but all of this speaks to and supports the narrative and is not included for shock value, but rather to make the reader THINK.
Few people can boil down life, the injustices and the hurts and the monotonous solitude that all of us find ourselves victim to now and again to this polished effect. Chris Ware succeeds brilliantly. You will relate. Jimmy Corrigan is presented and treated in a way that never insults your intelligence, is never trite and is oft surprising.
As if that weren't enough, Ware's delightful sense of design, his colors and line and sense of place, are all reproduced exquisitely. High-quality paper and highly-saturated inks.
No, I do not know the guy. I don't work for the publisher. I am some random shmo. Rarely is something worth this level of praise. But when it is, credit is due. This is a piece of work that will be discussed many many years hence, on many many levels....
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on December 3, 2017
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on March 8, 2013
Powerful, amazing storytelling from a premiere graphic designer. Ware's artwork is clean almost to the point of being sterile. Crisp. His graphic sense draws heavily on popular ad and magazine styles at the turn of the 19th/20th Century. Like all of the Acme Novelty Company books, the volume is packed. PACKED!! You need a magnifying glass to read the small print, which ranges from sarcastic to simply funny to painfully acurate satire.

Grandpa Jimmy's story of being abandoned at the Chicago World Exhibition was painful, his brief connection to a sister he never knew was powerful and Jimmy's doubt is always a source for searching the reader's own soul.

Good work from a Master.
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This is the best bang you can ever get for your comic book buck. It has a full 380 pages, the art is very detailed, and after reading this, you get the feeling that Chris Ware has put way more effort into this book than the benefit you could ever hope to receive from it.
Warning: start this book from the beginning. I usually browse through the middle of comic books before I start, and I picked this book up multiple times before I really got into it. It also has one of the best beginnings to a comic book ever. Read the first 8 pages, and you'll be hooked. Also, read the apology at the end. It gives a lot of insight into why he wrote the book
This was one of the hardest graphic novels to me read, but it was definitely worth my time. And, it also has the best writing of any graphic novel that I have read.
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on May 21, 2013
With relentless precision and sober determination, Ware reveals the nightmarish days and lonely nights of harmless Jimmy Corrigan. Although his graphic style is consistently neat to the point of monotony, with fine even lines and flat colours, the very monotony of the drawings is more effective than a dramatic style in registering the dreadful atmosphere of helplessness and disappointment which saturates the book.

The introductory text is very clever but painfully small print reduces the pleasure of reading it. This reader wonders how Chris Ware survived the experience of drawing Jimmy's life...
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