ACME Novelty Library

Overview

In keeping with his athletic goal of issuing a volume of his occasionally lauded ACME series once every new autumn, volume 18 finds cartoonist Chris Ware abandoning the engaging serialization of his “Rusty Brown” and instead focusing upon his ongoing and more experimentally grim narrative “Building Stories.”
Collecting pages unseen except in obscure alternative weekly periodicals and sophisticated expensive coffee-table magazines, ACME Novelty Library #18 reintroduces the ...
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Overview

In keeping with his athletic goal of issuing a volume of his occasionally lauded ACME series once every new autumn, volume 18 finds cartoonist Chris Ware abandoning the engaging serialization of his “Rusty Brown” and instead focusing upon his ongoing and more experimentally grim narrative “Building Stories.”
Collecting pages unseen except in obscure alternative weekly periodicals and sophisticated expensive coffee-table magazines, ACME Novelty Library #18 reintroduces the characters that New York Times readers found “dry” and “deeply depressing” when one chapter of the work (not included here) was presented in its pages during 2005 and 2006. Set in a Chicago apartment building more or less in the year 2000, the stories move from the straightforward to the mnemonically complex, invading characters’ memories and personal ambitions with a text point size likely unreadable to human beings over the age of forty-five. Reformatted to accommodate this different material, readers will be pleased by the volume’s vertical shape and tasteful design, which, unlike Ware’s earlier volumes, should discreetly blend into any stack or shelf of real books.
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Editorial Reviews

Art Spiegelman
It's uncanny that someone so young would have such an apparent recollection of the history of comics,and the talent to expand upon it.
Dave Eggers
Ware is the most versatile and innovative artist the medium has known.
The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
With all his literary accolades and awards, it's easy to forget Ware (Jimmy Corrigan) is one of the warmest, funniest cartoonists in America. The Acme Novelty Library collects a few issues of Ware's comic book series by the same name and adds plenty of new pages and visual delights. It is, like all of his work, an utterly immersive experience. You're not just reading his comics, you're inhabiting his world: from fake ads to diagrams for paper models to a lengthy and very funny fictional history of the Acme Novelty Company. These strips combine complex and beautiful visuals with the humor of hapless, often sad characters in ridiculous predicaments. "Rusty Brown", a series of strips based around an obsessive collector who will be the subject of Ware's next graphic novel, is particularly strong. These comics showcase Ware's unusual sensitivity towards his characters, building an incisive, multi-dimensional portrait of Brown and his friend Chalky White. On top of all of these riches there is Ware's own personal "history of art" in cartoon form, and a multi-page story about a naked superhero. Combining surreal humor, cutting satire, stunning visuals, and empathic characters, Ware's latest is a wondrous journey into the universe of a master cartoonist in peak form. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Welcome back, Jimmy Corrigan. We're glad to find the long-unavailable issues seven through 15 of The Acme Novelty Library in one place. With a four-city tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Like the cartoon equivalent of Willy Wonka-a graphic visionary opens the door to his creative factory with a wide-ranging anthology that conjures a world (if not a universe) unto itself. Before he helped spur the graphic novel to greater cultural legitimacy and mainstream popularity with Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (2000), Chicago artist Ware had established a devoted following among comic connoisseurs with his work under the periodical ACME Novelty Library banner. This tabloid-sized collection of short strips suggests a manifest destiny of the imagination, as Ware moves all over the artistic landscape, from the retro homage of Quimby the Mouse to the sci-fi futurism of Rocket Sam and Tales of Tomorrow to the new frontier of Big Tex. (Inevitably, Jimmy Corrigan pops in as well.) Many of these strips are a single page or less, and some of them are not accompanied by text. Ware elsewhere employs plenty of small-type language to subversive advantage through a series of comic-book advertisements that suggest the cultural imperialism of America-the-theme-park, and the quick-fix, self-help capitalism that puts a price on everything from creativity to sexual/spiritual fulfillment to reason to live. Cutting closest to the subculture that shaped Ware's sensibility are the ongoing adventures of Rusty Brown, in his move from geeky kid to obsessive collector. For those willing to dismantle the book as a disposable artifact, there are cut-and-fold projects for assembly and a constellation chart of the cosmos suitable for wall-hanging. Ultimately, the artist argues that the essence of cartooning isn't drawing; that this is a complex language of pictures and works, meant to be read ratherthan merely viewed. The innocence of childhood comics, the formal precision of design (almost art deco in some places) and the darker realities of modern life find an edgy balance in Ware's work. Another winner from Ware, up there with Jimmy Corrigan.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560972976
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Pages: 80

Meet 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 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. Ware was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1967 and currently lives in the Chicago area with his wife, Marnie, and their daughter, Clara.
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