Wednesday, 4 March 2009


This is the first page from the graphic novel "Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth," by Chris Ware, which tells the story of Jimmy's estranged relationship with his father in the context of the Corrigans' wider family history. I have started to really enjoy comic books and graphic novels and I finished reading "Jimmy Corrigan" most recently. The imagery really stood out to me as having a brilliant sense of pace and storytelling due to it's unusual composition and attention to detail; we can see on this page that while we focus in onto the bird in the tree time passes, the seasons change, and the house deteriorates. I feel that this is an interesting use of narrative which borrows alot from film, and for me it is really exciting to see this kind of cinematic storytelling in the context of a comic book. (in the sense tha tthis is definately not an action or scifi comic!) If you choose to read the whole novel, you will notice large descriptive illustrations to describe a setting, coupled with very small, quick sequences of drawings to describe a fast movement, or a hurried moment. Furthermore there is a constant movement in and out of the main storyline, we move to look at Jimmy's dreams, and zoom in and out of the details of his life. Intriguingly, Jimmy even has a "cartoon version" of himself inside his own, cartoon, mind. (Who looks strangely like Stewie from family guy!) While I realise this kind of narrative in drawing is not considered "high art" I would implore anyone who has their doubts about the intelligence or effectiveness of the medium of the graphic novel to read Jimmy Corrigan, it gave me a whole new perspective on the format. (Maus by Art Spiegelman is also great but I love the muted colours in Jimmy Corrigan; for example in the images I have included below; and I guess you can only choose one book at a time!!)

1 comment:

delineator said...

hey! Thanks, Lauren. I also really like this work, and I think its partly to do with the colour and the line also, that kind of lucid distancing gives a massive amount of melancholy to these images. The balance and clarity also force you to look for a long time and small changes between images (lik ein the second pair you posted) only come over with time, so part of the melancholy maybe comes from the time and measured looking rhythm. I don't know if you agree, though. Frances