Jimmy Corrigan

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  • Topic: Acme Novelty Library, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, Superhero
  • Pages : 7 (2717 words )
  • Download(s) : 153
  • Published : December 17, 2006
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Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth, by Chris Ware, is about a meek and lonely man in his mid-thirties who meets his father for the first time in a Michigan town over Thanksgiving weekend. Jimmy is an awkward and cheerless character with an overbearing mother and a very limited social life. Jimmy attempts to escape his unhappiness via an active imagination that sometimes gets him into awkward situations. The book deals with loneliness, familial dysfunction, inadequacy, bullying, generational conflict, masculinity, sexual frustration, social embarrassment and depression. Ware wrote and illustrated the book. He is best known for a series of comics called the Acme Novelty Library, and incidentally, this graphic novel. First and foremost, Jimmy Corrigan has a very unique style. The first thing you notice is the thick line weight, the very geometric design of the illustrations, and the thick, opaque colors used. The illustrations do not contain any fine detail. What Ware uses is subtle shifts in line weight. What Ware also does well is capturing the different shapes of the figures as they walk, talk, move their head, turn around, etc. This, along with adding slight blocks of color for shadows, really gives the illustrations depth and distance when there seemingly couldn't be. People, objects, buildings, the sky, the weather, etc. are all drawn in a very minimalist nature. Everything is given the simplest shape possible yet you know exactly what you are looking at, just by where certain lines bend and curve. The colors used for illustrations are relatively drab. Every color is a sort of soft, pastel like color, which gives the illustrations a very unobtrusive feel. This color palette fits the story nicely considering the story is rather drab and depressing. The colors do a good job of setting the mood and bringing you into Jimmy Corrigan's life as well as mind state. With that said, what I found rather interesting was how Ware used the color red. Unlike the other colors, red was bright and strong, and at times really jumped off the page. For the most part it was used for sound effects, which although sounds like a relatively simple idea, I thought was a really good representation of them. Red was also used for narration as well, such as words "And", "Thus", "But", and "Suddenly". They were used almost as a guide at times, to really keep the story going, Another technical aspect of the work is the integration of various kinds of text. You have your typical cartoon "bubbles" for the dialogue and thoughts of the characters. You also have your typical sound-effects text as well. There are a few unique uses of text: one is use of cursive lettering in parts of the story. These scenes aren't really Jimmy's daydreams nor are they his full fledge dreams. They are much more like whimsical, fantasy like thoughts. They are also used at times as narration as well as representing Jimmy's thoughts. Another unique use of text is his use of early-20th century lettering. Ware applies this to the poster/flyer like images entitled "Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Kid on Earth", which are sprinkled throughout the book. Another instance of this is when he is talking about the past, more specifically Jimmy's grandfather's childhood. The text is both technically and beautifully done. Although they are necessary to the style and the story, it is interesting to note that Ware is an ardent ragtime enthusiast who publishes a journal on ragtime music, collects ragtime paraphernalia, and has even designed album art and posters for ragtime performers (jackhanley.com). This is all pretty apparent and really comes out in Jimmy Corrigan. Several images reoccur throughout the book and tie together the plotlines: superheroes, birds, broken limbs, guns, peaches, redheads, the Fair, and Jimmy Corrigan. The images bind the story together and reiterate the similarities between the Jimmies of each generation (findarticles.com). For...
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