Chris Ware, “Acme Novelty Library Vols. 16 and 17”

Chris Ware is the master. Part of his “Building Stories” series (which shows up in the back of Vol. 16) was in The New York Times Magazine’s Funny Pages from September 2005 to April 2006, and Ware edited the McSweeney’s all-comics 13th issue.
His schematic, cinematic style of drawing reveals so many details that you almost have to read each of his books twice or three times to really drink it all in. In these two volumes, the main focus is on Rusty Brown, an unloveable, awkward 8-year-old who dreams of his Supergirl action figure coming alive. His world changes one day (which is all the two volumes cover, exhaustively) by two newcomers arriving at his school. Alice White catches the eyes of teachers and stoners alike, while her little brother, Chalky, is even dorkier than Rusty and offers him the hope of not being the focus of the bullies’ attention all the time.

Published: 2006, 64 and 64 highly condensed pages
Obtained via: Curt
Date started: 1.4.07
Date finished: 1.6.07
What I liked: The simultaneous action in Vol. 16 and minute detail of these kids’ first day of school. You can feel the awkwardness, and the subplots with the teachers make you wonder what was really going on at your school.
What I didn’t like: How some of his funny notes are written in what looks like 2pt. type. Don’t make me get bifocals, man!
What I learned: School sucks for everybody.
Unresolved question: When do I get to read more Rusty Brown?

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