Graphic Novel Review: Zach Morgan

Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth

Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid of Earth is a masterfully composed graphic novel that allows its readers to feel each emotion depicted in the story. Jimmy Corrigan is a thirty-six-year-old, socially awkward man, who suffers from chronic depression. In the novel, Jimmy meets his father for the first time over the Thanksgiving weekend, which is especially tough for Jimmy because he struggles to communicate with anyone other than his overbearing mother. Jimmy’s story is juxtaposed with a parallel storyline of Jimmy’s grandfather as a kid in 1893, who has a hard time connecting to his father. Ware uses mostly overweight characters, paired with a simple color palette and pops of color. This is shown in a scene in which Jimmy is at the hospital with his dad. Also shown on this same page is an example of how Ware is able to convey Jimmy’s emotions. After his dad asks if he has a girlfriend, in a subject-to-subject transition, the next panel shows how jolting that question was in Jimmy’s mind, and his frown is evidence that this also saddened him. This is just one instance of how Chris Ware is able to manipulate the comics medium to illicit emotion in his audience.

 

Scott McCloud’s web-comic The Right Numbers

One of my favorite web comics that I read was “The Right Numbers” by Scott McCloud. A large difference that I noticed between reading a web comic and reading a print comic is how the point of view changes for the reader. While reading Jimmy Corrigan, the reader is able to see many different panels at once because they are able to see the page in its entirety. Conversely, while reading “The Right Numbers,” the reader’s point of view is limited, as they can only view one panel at a time. Like this panel with the coffee mug, if you only see this panel, as the reader, you might not be able to tell what is going on. This still image makes it difficult to tell what is going on because there is no closure and no other panels to connect it to, so if it were a print page, the reader would be able to form their own conclusion of the panels.

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