Comic Book Dreams

THROUGHOUT THE '80S, while mainstream comic books woke up to the fact that their audience was composed largely of geeky boys who would dish out two bucks for glossy drawings of blood spattered women in tight leather outfits, Chris Ware was pursuing a different course in his strip for Chicago's equivalent of the Tucson Weekly. Indeed, Mr. Ware seems to have missed the trends of the '80s, not to mention the '70s, '60s and much of the '50s, completely. His work, now reprinted in a series of nefariously oversized comics called the Acme Novelty Library, is reminiscent of the style of 1940s newspaper strip, Bringing Up Father. However, the stories tell the tales of the unseen moments that movies and comics always skip: things like Superman laughing as a church burns. Or a lone space explorer stopping on a distant asteroid to graffiti the word "fuck" on a boulder. Or doleful Jimmy Corrigan, a middle-aged mailroom worker who imagines himself the smartest kid on Earth, counting down the new year by himself in an empty apartment. It's hard to convey how simultaneously sad and funny his work is: The stories read like the dreams of an abused child, where great plans of hope and heroism always collide with humiliating reality. In between the drawings are strange ads and articles from a nightmare version of a mid-century magazine for the alienated middle class, with stories that read like the writings of Bob Dornaní private demons. This is one of the best things on your local comic book stores shelves. If only there were a little more competition. TW

Image Map - Alternate Text is at bottom of Page

Arizona Links
The Best of Tucson Online
Tucson Weekly's Review Forum

 Page Back  Page Forward

Home | Currents | City Week | Music | Review | Cinema | Back Page | Forums | Search

Weekly Wire    © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth