Monday, January 09, 2006

Acme Novelty Library #16

Rusty Brown was one of my favorite strips from the Acme Novelty Library hardcover that came out last year, so I was very pleased with Acme Novelty Library #16, since the main story revolves around Rusty Brown's childhood. Rusty Brown was such a screwed-up adult that it's really neat to get a glimpse of him in his youth, especially at this point in his life since it's a highlight for him - meeting Chalky White, his best friend, for the first time. In fact, a strip that runs along the bottom of the Rusty Brown strip is a strip featuring Chalky, as well as his sister whom I think was my favorite character of the entire book. It was really cool to have this strip run beneath Rusty's because the events took place at the same time and characters from the Rusty strip would weave into the Chalky strip at times, from another perspective. Rusty's father is also prevalent through the Rusty Brown strip and not surprisingly, is a very screwed-up man himself, and is very reminiscent of the Rusty Brown we see in future versions of the character. Throughout our brief encounter with Rusty, we get to see his weird infatuation with Supergirl blossom, and Chalky's reaction to sharing Rusty's secret passion (without officially meeting Rusty either, which was a really neat way to play it out). One back-up story is of an apartment building and the tenants that live there, one woman having a prosthetic leg, a man having fantasies about this woman, etc. It's really a story told in a complicated structure that Chris Ware fans are probably all but used to by now. But it's really fun to work your way through it, just as it's fun to admire the book's structure generally. I really enjoyed the realistic portrayal of the inside cover of the book, an homage to used library books and a great way to begin your reading experience.

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