Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Acme Novelty Library #16 by Chris Ware

Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library #16 marks the first appearance of Rusty Brown, who is depicted as both a lonely adult with a lifelong obsession with collecting action figures, and as an awkward young boy fascinated by superheroes for their ability to protect the weak and vulnerable. At this point there have been several more stories featuring Rusty--I'm sure we'll one day see a full length book a la Jimmy Corrigan.

I love how the inside cover looks like an old textbook. So familiar-looking.

Ware's drawing style and layouts are instantly recognizable--really unique within the scope of contemporary comic artists. It's kind of amazing to me that others haven't tried to imitate his work. Or maybe they have, but unsuccessfully.

He really excels at conveying emotion in his illustrations, even in the simplest of objects. I don't know why but there's something so sad about that single mitten hanging up to dry.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair by George Plimpton

At some point I became a little obsessed with The Paris Review, partly from literary nostalgia, and partly for their great interviews with writers, and began collecting back issues of the magazine.

The Paris Review is what led me to buy this collection of articles by the founding editor of the magazine, George Plimpton, who is also often credited as a pioneer of participatory journalism. This collection was published about a year after Plimpton died, and I get the impression that his earlier work is a bit more dramatic. It's not a bad collection, but the only one that really stuck in my memory is the title essay, about a man who strapped 42 helium balloons to a lawn chair and went for a ride.