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Acme Novelty Library: No. 17 [Hardcover]

Chris Ware
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2006 Acme Novelty Library (Book 17)
Undaunted by lukewarm Internet and blogospheric opinion ("flat," "slow," and "always dreary") of his meretricious return last year to the tradition of the American comic book with the sixteenth issue of his "ACME Novelty Library," cartoonist and professional sentimentalist Chris Ware returns with the seventeenth issue of this same title, and it is almost certain not to change general public opinion. Continuing with the second half of the introduction to his shamelessly meandering graphic novel "Rusty Brown "(which began last issue at a private school in the 1970s Midwest), the six-sided crystal suggested by the exegesis of the first installment is slowly turned and examined in midmorning winter sunlight sometime between the bell of first period and the conclusion of lunch for the first through the fourth grades. Also included are more thorough examinations of many of the main characters' cloudy motivations, personal habits, and favorite restaurants, to say nothing of the small dust mote around which they have coalesced and the complications in its life due to the acquisition of superpowers sometime the night before. Like the irritating distant family member you only have to see once a year, the "ACME Novelty Library "#17 will, as was its predecessor, be published by the author in a single, limited edition only, never to be reprinted until the entire library is collected as a single volume, though it may be promptly remaindered and/or discarded.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (1 Dec 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897299028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299029
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 18.3 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,148,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

CHRIS WARE is the author of "Jimmy Corrigan-the Smartest Kid on Earth," which received the Guardian First Book Award and was featured in the Whitney Biennial. A regular contributor to "The New Yorker "and the first cartoonist to be serialized weekly in the "The New York Times Magazine," he is the editor of the thirteenth issue of "McSweeney's Quarterly Concern "and the "Gasoline Alley "archival series "Walt & Skeezix." His work will be the focus of an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in late spring 2006 and is presently part of the "Masters of American Comics "exhibit at the Los Angeles MoCA and Hammer Museums.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Abstract 21 May 2008
this is one of the best comic's ive read. great story line with an abstract approach to it. highest quality graphic detail and high quality colour. just amazingly set out too. i havent found one fault with this book
10 out of 10.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed long-time fan! 25 Feb 2007
By Sandi Tan - Published on
Chris Ware says this in the small print himself -- this volume is not as good as previous volumes. And I realize now he wasn't being his usual, excessively self-deprecating self on this point. It is TRUE. This volume is thin on plot -- and even sort of tinny in tone. Mr Ware must have been stretching himself thin at the time of its creation -- he was doing live engagements and all those decidedly unfunny panels for the Sunday New York Times magazine's "Funny Pages."

I should have considered myself warned by his fine print. But I thought he was being funny.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to be Depressed 30 July 2007
By E. David Swan - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chris Ware's works have been described as `unbearably obtuse', `psychologically abusive', `bleak' and `depressing'. And these are just the descriptions offered by Mr. Ware himself. Wikipedia says, "The defining characteristics of Ware's work include a pervasive sadness and nihilism, tales of disappointment, thwarted affection, and the dehumanization of the individual in a modern and mechanized world."

So get ready for a good ole' time....

Maybe not.

Chris Ware is a very interesting artist. His visuals have an extraordinarily clean/meticulous look with extensive use of primary shapes particularly circles, simple flat colors without shading and thick black bordering. They look like they came straight from a graphics design class. The light, whimsical visual contrast dramatically with Mr. Ware crushingly depressive writing. His stories tend to focus on pathologically introverted figures and main characters who tend to be chunky misfits and loners with little to no friends. The art teacher obsesses on the appearances of his young students and spends class time trying to sneak peeks at the girl's panties. After school he smokes pot in the back of his student's car. And the teachers name? Mr. Ware.

As strange as it may sound my biggest issue with Chris Ware is his tendency to print his books in odd physical dimensions. When I purchased `Quimby the Mouse' I was surprised to find that it was an unwieldy 14 by 11 which made it difficult to store. This may seem trivial but I now check the dimensions of anything I purchase by Mr. Ware. The book I'm reviewing is a much more compact 9 by 7. Another issue I have is his tendency to use absurdly small fonts. I have very good vision and I've never worn glasses or contacts but sometimes I flat out can't read the text. You really have to see it (or not see it?) to know what I'm talking about. My last beef is that his work often goes beyond bleak into the realm of sterile. His art is SO meticulous and precise that it can sometimes lose its humanity as if it were drawn by a robot. The characters tend to resemble each other in manner and appearance with Rusty Brown and Chalky White being practically interchangeable.

This particular edition focuses on Rusty Brown, a young boy in primary school who imagines himself with super powers rescuing the Supergirl doll he carries around. The only semi friend he has is Chalky White who is equally unaccepted by his peers. Since the events are part of an ongoing series there is no beginning or end to the story and nothing triumphant or uplifting occurs. Regardless of the quality of his works it's unlikely that Chris Ware will ever have mass appeal because he is so unconventional. I enjoyed the book but I'm generally one of those people who enjoys comics and movies that are out of the mainstream. On the other hand I love a good Superman story too. I recommend the Acme collection but I can understand where Mr. Ware's critics are coming from.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars #17 31 Mar 2007
By Michael Golan - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I much admire C.W. work. The book is flawlessly designed. The amount of details is amazing (don't forget to check the barcode sticker with the "warning" on the back cover...
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good, not great 8 Jun 2007
By holly moors - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ware's Jimmy Corrigan was great, and some Acme editions are great as well, but this one is just a bit too predictable. Drawings still great, color too, but more crazy little details is what i miss in this one.
1 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars drafting for drafting's sake. 27 Jun 2007
By Sean P. Aaberg - Published on
Chris Ware is a fantastic draftsman. He does not create good comics however. His comics are depressing & lifeless. This might be his point, but if this is what "grown up" comics are about, we'd be better off keeping comics for kids, full of optimism & dynamism.
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