Monday, September 26, 2005

Better late...

Yes, I finally read the intimidating Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware. I wasn't sure I'd like it, flipping through the pages, but it's really a lot easier to read than you'd think by looking at it. There is some tedious prose to get through that's meant to be kind of tongue-in-cheek that I didn't appreciate as much as most people probably would, but it's just not to my humor. And there are some diagrams that you have to work through, but they're actually kind of fun. The production altogether is beautiful, as Chris Ware is always receiving praise for, but the rest is comics. And that's what I was mostly interested in. About a sixth of the way into the book, I could tell that it was a really honest portrayal of this character, full of very human moments that aren't really emphasized enough. But I loathed the protagonist. I absolutely could not stand this sniveling loser of a character. But as I read on, he became more tolerable and the comic shifted to Jimmy's great grandfather's life, then back again several times and...I don't know, he kind of grew on me. I felt sorry for him, and the situations became more interesting, dealing with racism and that territory that no one talks about that exists between some children and parents - that rage and contempt. But the uncomfortable dialogue between Jimmy and his father whom he finally meets, and the guilt that his great grandfather shows when he loses a tooth - they're just very real and very touching and by the end of the book, I was moved. I also felt a little depressed at the despair that the end made me feel, but there was a glimmer of hope in there too. I wouldn't exactly call Jimmy Corrigan one of my favorite comics ever, but it is very important for its unabashed honesty and story, and the love that went into the production. It really flowed - I read the thing in two days. Any given year, it would have been in my top three of the year, but overall, I doubt it would hit my top ten. But, God, being around the tenth best comic I ever read is damn great - check it out and don't be intimidated!

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