It's already hailed as one of the finest achievements in comic book literature, and now Chris Ware's amazing novel, JIMMY CORRIGAN, THE SMARTEST KID ON EARTH, has been nominated for the Guardian's First Book Award, an honor that could win its creator an estimated $15,000 dollars.
Ware's work is the first graphic novel ever included in the nominees for this aware, and pits it against so-called 'traditional' literature like biographies, poetry and novels.
Speaking about the CORRIGAN novel, the Guardian's literary editor, Claire Armistead, describes it as "closer in spirit to John Updike or Raymond Carver than Superman and Dan Dare... It's an outstanding work and seems to broaden the scope of graphic novels, taking them outside that ghetto. It's a beautiful book but also touches on something absolutely basic and profound; the need and yearning a child feels for parenting."
"He should win immediately," says last year's First Book Award winner, novelist Zadie Smith. "It's a work of genius."
Judges for this year's competition are novelists Jonathan Coe, Ahdaf Soueif and A.L. Kennedy, Roy Porter and Charlie Higson, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, and Matt Taylor, marketing manager of Border Books. Armistead will chair the panel. They will announce the shortlist in October.