10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The most innovative and moving comic book I've ever read,
By A Customer
This review is from: Jimmy Corrigan - The Smartest Kid on Earth (Hardcover)
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth is the story of a lonely man living in Chicago who is contacted out of the blue by his long lost father. He visits his Father, but the whole encounter is fraught with anxiety and the kind of painful domestic awkwardness that comics rarely attempt to capture. What makes Chris Ware's semi-autobiographical tale unique is the way in which this apparently simple story is embroidered with Jimmy's daydreams and fantasies (many involving a paunchy 'Superman', and a disturbing, Kafka-esque dream where he becomes a tin robot) .
Ware also interrupts his tale to introduce episodes from the childhood of Jimmy's Grandfather. Anyone hoping for some light relief from the tragedy of Jimmy Corrigan's contemporary plight will be dissapointed; beloved Grandmothers die, youthful dreams are crushed, and a mishapen lead horse is lost in the snow.
There are also several diagrams showing the complex and fragile relationships that make up the Corrigan family tree. It's also manages to be very funny. In its serialised form, Jimmy Corrigan featured several parodies of the old 'Charles Atlas' type ads that used to pepper cheap American Comics. The beautifuly drawn and coloured illustrations knowingly suggest a more innocent era, and the reader is constantly reminded of the pathos of a brightly coloured comic that depicts such sad and loveless lives.
'Jimmy Corrigan' is a truly groundbreaking 'comic book' and demands the dusting off of such hackneyed phrases as 'masterpiece', even if its hero would blush at hearing it described as such.