Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Ruin Your Life: Draw Cartoons! And Doom Yourself to Decades of Isolation, Solipsism, and Utter Social Disregard

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I don’t usually do a “Book of This Arbitrary Length of Time”-style pick, but Chris Ware’s new book (The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Rainy Day Saturday Afternoon Fun Book) absolutely is the Book of This Arbitrary Length of Time. It’s gorgeous and beautiful and deep and subtle and timely and evocative and true and funny and very sad and all those things. Every page* is perfect. It’s the single best thing (in any medium) that I’ve looked at in recent memory.

I’m really in love with the book, and possibly also with Chris Ware, and despite the Library’s rather pricey nature (the one drawback), if you’ve bothered to read the post this far I’m certain you will be too. Salon’s review last month is much more eloquent than I can manage this morning, so I’ll just say it’s really, really, really good and leave it at that.

(And the aforementioned, unrepentant excellence of The Acme Novelty Library goes to show just how jumping-the-gun wrong that silly New Yorker article I linked to the other day was, already proclaiming the Essential Mediocrity of Contemporary Comics and The Inevitable Death of the Medium and such. I’m not convinced. Call The Acme Novelty Library Defense Exhibit A.)

Here is the image from the book referenced in the post title, which incidentally you can no longer buy prints of from Buenaventura Press but can still occasionally from eBay. More spellbinding images from The Acme Novelty Library can be peeped at the Chris Ware exhibition at the Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago. The image at left, a self-portrait, was shamelessly stolen from this Austin Chronicle profile of Ware. I really have no way to work in this previously-linked French Documentary on Chris Ware, but it’s also very good. Wikipedia continues to exist.

Speaking obliquely of Jimmy Corrigan, I’m teaching it for the first time in my Intro to Lit class in a few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes. I suspect it will go well. I’m excited.


* Some of the text-ad pages are frankly too texty for my tastes, and I couldn’t get the much-lauded glow-in-the-dark map of the constellations to work with my eyes last night. I couldn’t make any shapes out. (Maybe if I had given my eyes more time to adjust to the darkness. Or maybe I’m suffering from glow-in-the-dark-blindness. Or just run-of-the-mill blindness.) But these are minor, infinitesimal criticisms, applying to about five pages in the whole book, if that. Please ignore this footnote**.
** Seriously, get the book.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 15, 2005 at 2:50 pm

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