Acme Novelty Library #16

This book recounts a day in the life of Rusty Brown, a young boy; it also depicts the accompanying stories of the same day from the perspective of his father, the new boy in his school, Chalky White, Chalky’s sister, Alison, and the school art teacher. The main narrative follows Rusty, who likes superheroes and has difficulty fitting in. The accompanying narratives about the other characters demonstrate that all people, no matter who they are, have problems in their lives.

Chris Ware’s art is truly wondrous to behold. There are one-panel pages in this book interspersed with pages divided into more than twenty panels (a typical comic has somewhere between six and nine panels per page). Though all his characters tend to be constructed along the similar lines (round face, perfectly round eyes, and a line for the mouth), Chris Ware conveys volumes of meaning through these very simple and beautiful drawings. Even though the main character is a kid, this title is definitely written for an older audience with discussions of sex and masturbation. This is not the book for librarians who mainly provide comic strip anthologies in their collection, but for older teens and adults it’s an engaging, well-written book targeted toward fiction readers and literary graphic novel readers alike.

Acme Novelty Library #16
by Chris Ware
ISBN: 1-56097-513-X
Self-published, 2005

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