intraspace: the review lounge

Friday, January 13, 2006

the acme novelty library

the acme novelty library, by chris ware

if you check out my profile you'll see that i have ware's 'jimmy corrigan' on my list of favourite books. i really like ware's drawing style and his use of bold outlines.

jimmy corrigan blew me away as being a thoroughly excellent post-modern novel quite apart from its being a graphic novel to boot. it deserved all the accolades it got.

so i was tremendously excited when i found that the local library had anticipated my request and already got 'the acme novelty library' in. hurrah!

the novelty library is a kind of annual, featuring a range of cartoons and all the usual ware graphical trappings that make his books so fascinating, and mean that his cartoons always take a lot longer to read than you thought they would. the novelty library is a brilliant example of graphical work.

if jimmy corrigan constantly verges on the tragic, then this book could be accused of wallowing in it. i must admit that i got a little depressed by the end of it. the main story that weaves through all of ware's cartoons (regardless of the characters) is about a little boy who got picked on at school then grew up to be disenchanted lonely adult.

maybe there is a high degree of authenticity in ware's work, but i can't help wishing that he would balance out the sadness a bit more. for me the balancing is in his beautiful drawing style, but at times i think that is overcome by the sheer weight of the tragedy.

i still think ware is a genius, but hope that his genius will be revealed more when he goes on to exhibit an ability to portray the hopeful, more beautiful aspects of life with the same accuracy as tragedy in future works.

on the stereo: 'hi-fi trumpet' by stephane pompougnac, from the album 'hotel costes vol 3'. here

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home