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Jimmy Corrigan Conquers England

Chris Ware's melancholic star makes his way across the Atlantic

By Arnold T. Blumberg     July 02, 2001


JIMMY CORRIGAN: THE SMARTEST KID ON EARTH by Chris Ware
© Pantheon Books
Chris Ware's graphic novel, JIMMY CORRIGAN: THE SMARTEST KID ON EARTH, has made the successful transition from comic book phenomenon to bookstore superstar through the auspices of Pantheon Publishing, and now the book has been published by Cape in the UK. Predictably, this masterpiece of graphic literature is receiving rave reviews from such sources as the London TIMES and THE INDEPENDENT, who previously compared Ware's work with that of James Joyce and called JIMMY CORRIGAN "perceptive, poetic and sometimes profound, generously rewarding the absorption it requires." The DAILY TELEGRAPH of London also lauded the book, calling it called "Mature and gripping... perhaps the most eloquent book ever written about the hazards of communication."

Chris Ware's JIMMY CORRIGAN was published by Fantagraphics Books in its original, serialized form along with other comic strips by Ware in his landmark series, THE ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY. With his keen eye for architectural detail and complex page composition, Ware has infused Jimmy Corrigan with an intense melancholy and self-loathing that makes him one of the most vivid and unforgettable characters in comic book history.

The novel is a 380 page journey through time as we meet Jimmy and his family in several time periods, culminating in his tragic reunion with an estranged father and half-sister. The dust jacket is itself a work of art, folding out into a highly detailed comic strip. The original stories of Jimmy's life from ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY issues #1,5,6,8,9, and 11-14 are reprinted in the novel with some alterations and adjustments by Ware himself, resulting in a seamless narrative that will be analyzed by aficionados for years to come.

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