Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Our pal Seth Hahne, of GoodOKBad fame, came up with this 31 Days of Comics challenge, one of those things where each day of the month you’re given a different category that you then make a choice of a comic to fill that category. I figured it would be a fun bit to do, so here we are! Click here to see each of the categories so far!
We continue with Day 25, which is A Comic From a Favorite Creator
Read on for my pick and then you can share yours!
Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy on Earth is an extremely layered tale of a depressed man (Corrigan) meeting his father late in his life. This story is intermixed with the story of Corrigan’s grandfather (also Jimmy Corrigan) as a boy and HIS relationship with HIS father. All throughout, we also have the fantastical story of Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy on Earth – showing Corrigan as a child. However, we also see Corrigan as a depressed child dealing with his parents divorce, and so we know that the “Smartest Boy” vignettes are just dreams of a sad man who has great trouble dealing with the world as it is.
We see that attitude of Corrigan’s in his everyday life, as well, as Ware shows Corrigan’s Walter Mitty-esque fantasies while in the midst of something as mundane as his father (who he has just met at this point) taking him to a fast food restaurant for dinner…
Notice how the events of his life directly inspire Corrigan’s fantasies, while also revealing his attitudes about life.
The most brilliant aspect of Ware’s book, as is usually the case with Ware’s work, is his amazing design sense – the story of Jimmy Corrigan is really a marvel of design, there are many pages that do not even have text, because Ware designs the pages so well that you don’t NEED text – he’s so detailed and thorough that you feel like you’re inundated with details about these characters without reading a single word.
Is the story depressing?
Yes, in the sense that the actual plot of the book is depressing, but it is done so beautifully that I can’t help but be happy when I read it, no matter how dreary the plot is.
It’s a tour de force performance by one of comics’ greatest creators.
This story won numerous awards and accolades when it was collected into book form, including the Guardian First Book Award, the first comic book to ever be so honored. It’s a well deserved honor.
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