The Acme Novelty Library
  • The Acme Novelty Library
  • The Acme Novelty Library

The Acme Novelty Library

by Chris Ware
     
 

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Utterly eschewing the general bonhomie surrounding the newly-minted contemporary regard for the comic strip medium as a language of complicated personal expression and artistic sophistication, professional colorist and award-winning letterer F. C. Ware returns to the book trade with “The ACME Novelty Library,” a hardcover distillation of all his

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Overview

Utterly eschewing the general bonhomie surrounding the newly-minted contemporary regard for the comic strip medium as a language of complicated personal expression and artistic sophistication, professional colorist and award-winning letterer F. C. Ware returns to the book trade with “The ACME Novelty Library,” a hardcover distillation of all his surviving one-page cartoon jokes with which he tuckpointed the holes of his regular comic book periodical over the past decade.

Sometimes claimed to be his “best work” by those who really don’t know any better, this definitive congestion of stories of the future, the old west, and even of modern life nonetheless tries to stay interesting by including a luminescent map of the heavens, a chart of the general structure of the universe, assorted cut-out activitites, and a complete history of The ACME Novelty Company itself, decorated by rare photographs, early business ventures, not to mention the smallest example of a Comic Strip ever before offered to the general public. All in all, it will likely prove a rather mild disappointment, but at least it catches the light in a nice way and may force a smile here and there before being shelved for the next generation’s ultimate disregard and/or disposal.

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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:
9780375422959
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/20/2005
Series:
Acme Novelty Library
Pages:
108
Sales rank:
1,355,957
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 15.25(h) x 0.75(d)

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