The Acme Novelty Library

The Acme Novelty Library

Number 18

Graphic Novel - 2007
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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.

Publisher: Chicago, IL : Acme Novelty Library; distributed in the U.S. by Drawn and Quarterly Books and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, c2007.
ISBN: 9781897299173
1897299176
Branch Call Number: GN WARE C
Characteristics: 1 volumes (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations; 27 cm.

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DavidB
Apr 13, 2009

Chris ware is one of-- if not THE-- most depressing artist alive. All the others must have killed themselves by now and it's still a wonder why Mr. Ware hasn't yet.

I've said it before, but it's still true that his drawing style is Deceptively simple. His line-work is smooth, fresh and crisp. And all hand drawn! The elegant simplicity only serve to emphasize the flow of the story and it's pathos. The colours too are simplified "four-color" variations but that just makes the stories and the emotions that much more vibrant and help illustrate the tragic beauty of the heroine's life.

All of Chris Ware's works have a depressing, self-laothing nature to them but, oddly enough, this volume is his most sympathetic, endearing. Ware's main characters are generally unatractive, creepy/pervy guys but here the focus is on the a tragic young woman. Her lif is treated with depth, insight, humanity, maturity and beauty.

Lastly, ware's sense of design and his command of the long-lost art of drafting and lettering are dazzling. He is an incredible illustrator (despite his self-depricating comic strips that criticize the profession).

I just wish that he'd get some intensive psychotherapy and anti-depressants before his next volume makes me kill myself.

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DavidB
Apr 13, 2009

THAT GIRL sure attracted a lot of attention... She was crying uncontrollably... her face pink, shining with tears... Seeing her reminded me how emotionally RAW I used to be, how the whole world seemed to ending whenever something bad happened to me... How no one else could possibly 'understand' how awful it all was for me... Everybody else was sneaking looks at her, too... One woman even leaned over to the boyfriend and said something to him... I couldn't hear her exactly, but it was something like "She's just so darling". It was wierd, but there WAS something almost CHARMING about the girl... Something reassuring about her naive misery... Was it insensitive to think so? Why, instead of trying to comfort her, to tell her everything would be okay, did we all just smile to yourselves? At the security gate, she looked back for one last blubbery farewell, and then was swallowed up forever... We were all so deeply envious of her.”

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