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Top Five Jim Corrigans

For some reason I’ve yet to fathom, the world of comics has been treated to a number of fellas named Jim Corrigan. Time for them all to throw down and see who comes out on top!

5. Jim Corrigan (Gotham Central)

Corrigan 5

This Jim Corrigan was a dirty cop and a walking red herring for the identity of the new Spectre. Still, he had a pretty big impact in the world of Gotham Central; everything came crashing down on our favorite GCPDers thanks to him. He was the one who shot Crispus Allen, after all.

4. Jimmy Corrigan II (?)

Corrigan 4

The absentee father with the nervous laugh who tries to connect to his grown son and fails in every conceivable way? That’s Chris Ware for you.

3. Jimmy Corrigan, 1893

Corrigan 3

The eldest of the Jimmy Corrigans, this young feller got into some scrapes at the World’s Fair and led a lonely, depressed, occasionally angry life until he eventually became a crazy old man. Good times!

2. Jimmy Corrigan, present day

Corrigan 2

The most awkward and depressing Jimmy Corrigan in a book filled with awkward and depressing Jimmy Corrigans, the present-day version serves as our protagonist in Chris Ware’s most lauded work– the poor schlub who dreams of a better world but is trapped in his sad life. We really feel for him throughout. We are all Jimmy Corrigan, underneath.

1. Jim Corrigan (Spectre)

You don’t mess with the original. The first Jim Corrigan, after all, was the human host to the Spectre, the instrument of God’s vengeance. And you don’t go around telling the instrument of God’s vengeance that he’s anything but #1. Besides, he’s the only one on our list drawn by both Jim Aparo and Tom Mandrake, which makes him, by far, the coolest-looking.

Thoughts?

28 Comments

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 18, 2009 at 8:23 am

How could you forget Jim Corrigan, the African-American Metropolis patrolman and red herring for the E-1 Spectre’s host from those 1970s Jimmy Olsen issues?

Or did I answer my own question?

I’ve never read that Ware book, so all of the Corrigans got a good laugh from me.
Mr. Reed, you just made a sale.

Was there something planned but never executed with that Gotham Central Corrigan? Seemed like waaaaay too much buildup for a red herring.

Am I wrong in wanting Chris Ware to do a Spectre one-shot?

If you’re expecting, a, er, laugh, from Jimmy Corrigan, you’ve probably got the wrong idea of the book. Don’t let me put you off tho, it’s definately worth the effort.

Apart from the first two pages. They’re hilarious.

I don’t think the GC Jim Corrigan was a red herring, just a misdirection. Instead of becoming the Spectre himself he ended up killing the guy that became the Spectre.

I agree with Omar. The Africian-American Jim Corrigan from Metropolis needs some recognition! Are he & I the only ones here with back issues of Black Lightning?

If you read Chris Ware a certain way (for instance, if you have a mean streak), he can be pretty funny. Sort of like how Kafka would bust up laughing while reading The Metamorphosis to his friends.

Diggity: Misdirection is the purpose of the red herring.

“Red herring (idiom), a deliberate attempt to divert attention”

Chris Ware is unfunny in the same way that Margaret Atwood is unfunny; that is to say, not at all.

I’m not the present day Jimmy Corrigan underneath. And after a very short time reading his sad self-centered non-story, I stopped feeling sorry for him. The eldest Jimmy Corrigan is the best of all, though I feel as though Ware wasn’t honest with his present day depiction of him. A character capable of that much empathy and emotional growth at…how old was he again?…doesn’t jibe with the old man we see later.

The scene where he throws the molded horse into the snow and then runs after it in tears is the most effective scene in the story.

@Adam:
I think that was the whole point. Set up the fact that the Spectre needs a new host, bring a new detective Jim Corrigan out, and then make Crispus Allen the new Spectre.

I remember when the storyline was coming out, and NOBODY BUT NOBODY saw what was coming. Message boards here and elsewhere were alight with posters saying how obvious it was what Rucka was doing… it was like Rucka and company said, “Oh, so you think you know what I’m doing, huh? Then take THIS!”

It was like the ultimate F-U to Internet fanboys, and it worked beautifally. I don’t really like what they’ve done with the Spectre since then, but that story was awesome.

Mr Wesley–

Interesting. Did Rucka ever confirm that the writing was a response to early guesses?

I’m curious mainly because I loved the Ostrander Spectre series and the sendoff he gave Corrigan at the very end. It’s the only comic I’ve ever read where I felt you got a complete story out of the series, and it closed, THE END. I also loved how a few years later, Corrigan got a brief cameo in the “Day of Judgment” event, and it completely respected Ostrander’s ending. Again, Corrigan’s story was finished.

So I got mighty P.O.’d when it looked like Rucka was bringing him back. I understand that death and rebirth are cyclical in comics, but I’d hoped that the Corrigan-Spectre would be a wonderful exception to the rule. I’m appreciative that Rucka’s Corrigan was apparently not some twisted reincarnation of the original guy, but the number of similarities between them still left me wondering what the heck he was supposed to be.

@layne

At least Margaret Atwood’s writing is interesting.

This is a terrible list. How could you leave out Jim Corrigan? Not to mention Jim Corrigan.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

It really is an inexplicable coincidence, this business of the multiple Jim Corrigans emerging from the far and unrelated corners of the comic book universe. But what is even odder is the realization that it likely would be the most futile effort of scouring and studying the whole of comic book creation to try and come up up with characters more opposite in nature than that of the rival Jim Corrigans we have before us… the DC’s Jim Corrigan being, well, pretty much god, and the Chris Ware character of the bizarrely identical name being, well, pretty much, absolutely not god. Yes, our comic world works in mysterious ways.

@anonymous: No one’s ever really been interested in Chris Ware’s writing. His style and art, though, are a marvel.

I’m not much of a fan of the Crispus Spectre, though I like him better than the Hal Jordan Spectre. I simply think the character needed a longer retirement after the Ostrander series.

And part of what continues to bother me about Crispus Allen is the unexplained Jim Corrigan in the background. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, it never does, and I get annoyed that I’m just supposed to accept as pure coincidence that an identically-named character with so many similarities ot the original just happened to be instrumental in the creation of a new Spectre.

Cool. Now do a list of all of the guys in Bob Haney comics named Cathcart.

XyphaP… I find your statement, presented as exposition of some sort sort of universal pole resulting in 100% unanimous results, that “no is ever interested in Chris Ware’s writing”, to be puzzling to the point of bizarre. Ware’s writing is as phenomenal as his art. Yes, if it needs to be said, that is just my opinion, but I’d bet the farm it’s shared by many, many other fans of Chris Ware. The man is the definition of an auteur.

And part of what continues to bother me about Crispus Allen is the unexplained Jim Corrigan in the background. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, it never does, and I get annoyed that I’m just supposed to accept as pure coincidence that an identically-named character with so many similarities ot the original just happened to be instrumental in the creation of a new Spectre

I agree. If it was all done just to be a giant red herring/piece of misdirection, that would be really annoying.

@benday-dot: I was maybe a little flippant.

I’d agree that the man is an auteur, able to construct whatever stories he assembles into magnificent, inimitable constructions, but the man favors the poignant moment of loss and sentimentality to be too much of an author admired for the pacing of his stories, his complexity of characters, or his grasp of human conversation.

It definitely works for his oeuvre, shaving or embellishing similar characters and themes throughout his many works, but in every work besides Jimmy Corrigan, his stories are almost always straight points chronologically with the predictable moment of loss/seclusion/heartbreak resounding from the final panel.

I don’t mean to come off implying that style isn’t substance, because the opposite is very much true, especially in a visual medium, but his work, much more often than not, succeeds because of his scrupulous page design and beautiful minimalist draftmanship.

All of this is not because he plans events or tells stories in a narratively interesting manner, like, for a couple obvious examples, Mozzle when he paces a story well or Moore when he pays less attention to a work’s scrupulous formalities. Not a definite knock, but his work’s strengths are in how he presents his stories.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 19, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Reading Jimmy Corrigan at the moment, and I’d argue that the eldest Jimmy Corrigan should be first – the modern day stuff just leaves me cold, where as the bits of 1864 Jimmy Corrigan are really, really moving.

It was like the ultimate F-U to Internet fanboys, and it worked beautifally. I don’t really like what they’ve done with the Spectre since then, but that story was awesome.

I’m glad it worked there, because reading it in trade, removed from all that – message boards and also there needing to be a spectre -, it read like a piece of shit.
It just confused the hell out of me as to why Jim Corrigan was back and this time he was a corrupt cop.
Throw in that I thought I was reading a crime book, and I found that whole storyline to be a mess, and really helped ruin the book for me.

It just confused the hell out of me as to why Jim Corrigan was back and this time he was a corrupt cop.
Throw in that I thought I was reading a crime book, and I found that whole storyline to be a mess, and really helped ruin the book for me.

Well, I always considered Rucka to be the guy more in tune with Didio’s vision of the DCU, meaning I always automatically assumed him to be a worse writer on Gotham Central than Brubaker even before reading a single issue. Most of what I read of Rucka was during Infinite Crisis and it was dreck. So my expectations were low for him. Brubaker however I’ve always been a major fan of. So when I read Gotham Central in trade, I mentally partitioned it like I was reading two different series. One good series by Brubaker, and an inferior series by a guy who worked on Infinite Crisis under Dan Didio. Looking at it that way, that horrendous Jim Corrigan storyline didn’t ruin the Brubaker Gotham Central series for me. Brubaker’s Gotham Central ended as strongly as it started. And it didn’t ruin Rucka’s “The Renee Montoya Show” Gotham Central for me either since that series was never any good to begin with.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 19, 2009 at 8:17 pm

So when I read Gotham Central in trade, I mentally partitioned it like I was reading two different series.

Having no notions of Rucka on DC books, knowing him only from his excellent Oni work, I found I didn’t need mental partitions to do that – the work split itself into two different series!

One was a good superhero based crime book looking at a group of detective, the other, as you say, was ‘The Renee Montoya Show’, a character I found more interesting the less we know about her.
Not being from America, and seeing the reality, tough Latino chick who is also a lesbian isn’t that much of an interesting character, and more of a cliché.
In fact, for all the hype I’ve read about how good he writes that character, she seems like a straight cut out from ‘The Big Book Of Cop Clichés’.

But yeah, just to reiterate, reading it in trade, I had no idea that the fake Jim Corrigan was meant to be pointing towards a new Spectre coming, I figured it was either a) a writer refusing to change a characters name or b) Jim Corrigan had been removed from The Spectre but this was how he really was (cause everyone’s corrupt post-Watchmen).

Having no notions of Rucka on DC books, knowing him only from his excellent Oni work,

I haven’t read his Oni work, so i didn’t know he did great stuff there.

Not being from America, and seeing the reality, tough Latino chick who is also a lesbian isn’t that much of an interesting character, and more of a cliché.

I totally agree. I found tough lesbian latina Montoya much more stereotypical than what she was before. Even as an American. But at least she didn’t (to my memory at least) break into Spanglish at the drop of a dime. That was the only saving grace.

In fact, for all the hype I’ve read about how good he writes that character, she seems like a straight cut out from ‘The Big Book Of Cop Clichés’.

Again, agreed.

But yeah, just to reiterate, reading it in trade, I had no idea that the fake Jim Corrigan was meant to be pointing towards a new Spectre coming, I figured it was either a) a writer refusing to change a characters name or b) Jim Corrigan had been removed from The Spectre but this was how he really was (cause everyone’s corrupt post-Watchmen).

I read it in trade too, and I agree, the Jim Corrigan thing was just a really annoying distraction for all the reasons you say. I also had no idea that Jim Corrigan was meant to point to a new Spectre coming, but the fact that his sole purpose for existing was to throw off fans by using a highly improbable and illogical coincidence (his name being the same as the Spectre’s first host, his appearance being exactly the same as the Spectre’s first host down to a white streak of hair, plus his actions leading to the creation of a new Spectre) then being told to ignore all those similarities, they mean nothing. Such dirty pool.

But it didn’t ruin Gotham Central to me because to me the “real” Gotham Central was Brubaker’s stuff, much like the “real” Seinfeld to me are the Larry David seasons. I just consider Rucka’s stuff the backdoor pilot for The Renee Montoya show.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm

I haven’t read his Oni work, so i didn’t know he did great stuff there.

You should check it out!
Start with White Out (first mini only, second one is lesser), and then start on Queen And Country – it’s really, really good stuff.
(And it makes me feel old that it’s almost ten years since that began!)

Brian could probably do 365 cool Queen And Country moments if he wanted to!

That said, it does end abruptly, as Rucak decided to start doing some stories in novels.
And I’ve never been able to find those novels, because although he’s a big name in comics, he’s not a big name in novels – and I reckon even Gaiman might struggle if he started something in one medium and crossed it into another.
(That said, if Rucka went all Moorecock and did a story as Hawkwind album, I’d be all for it!)

But it didn’t ruin Gotham Central to me because to me the “real” Gotham Central was Brubaker’s stuff, much like the “real” Seinfeld to me are the Larry David seasons. I just consider Rucka’s stuff the backdoor pilot for The Renee Montoya show.

My problem always was that I’d enjoy the start of the Rucka stories, because he’d have all the cops at the start, but then it always came down to being a buddy story with Allen and Montoya.
I’d keep thinking it wouldn’t, get into it, and then it was back to tough black cop with a solid Christian family and tough Latina Lesbian chick save the day. Again.

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