The ACME Novelty Library #16 (Vol 16)

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9781560975137: The ACME Novelty Library #16 (Vol 16)

After four years of almost exclusively repackaging his sophomoric early work for the book trade, the children's entertainer and award-winning calligrapher F. C. Ware returns to his groundbreaking 1990s cartoon series "The ACME Novelty Library," a nearly decade-long publishing experiment which more or less single-handedly demonstrated the redemptive power a fancy paper stock or a little gold foil might exert over an otherwise dull, dry visual narrative.

This semi-annual periodical originally serialized his surprisingly undismissed "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth," and now, with the 16th issue, Ware rejoins the proud, vital esthetic forum of the American comic book with his ongoing serial "Rusty Brown," a love story concerning the ambitions and mistakes of seven consciousnesses at a private school in Omaha, Nebraska, all revolving around a universally reviled child-and absolutely certain to be a favorite with readers of all tastes and biases. As told through the eyes of someone absentmindedly watching a television sitcom circa 1975, this first installment begins one January morning of that same year and describes everything of importance right up to and including the ring of the first period bell before eventually spiraling off into 1955, 2004, and toward the planet Mars, amongst other interesting and exotic time periods and locales. Riveting, fast-paced, and irresponsible, "Rusty Brown" distills the confusing and indulgent storytelling technique that led Mr. Ware's work to be referred to as "nearly impossible to read" by the Los Angeles Times Book Review. (In addition, Mr. Ware promises parallel serialization of his other work-in-progress, "Building Stories," which is actually a much better and more interesting project.)

Though originally released by alternative comics vanguard Fantagraphics Books, this new sixteenth issue is the first to be entirely produced, printed and published by Mr. Ware alone; limited to a single press run, once it is sold out, pulped, and/or burned, neither of these narratives will be available again until "Rusty Brown" and "Building Stories" are eventually edited, collected and remaindered as hardcover books. Thus, be the first in your mercantile district to own this first chapter of what years from now is sure to be a tart, possibly insincere reminder of the fragile economy and mental disposition of the early 21st century. 64 pages, full color, 9" x 7"

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About the Author:

Chris Ware lives in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife, Marnie. He is the author of Jimmy Corrigan-the Smartest Kid on Earth, which received the Guardian First Book Award in 2001 and was also included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial of American Art. Yet another collection of his early, sophomoric ephemera, The ACME Novelty Library, will be released this summer, and he most recently edited the 13th issue of "McSweeney's Quarterly Concern." He contributes quite semi-irregularly to The New Yorker.

From Booklist:

Alternative-comics artist Ware's new book is the latest volume of his long-running Acme Novelty Library, an elaborately produced hardcover that is a far cry from most (paperback) comics magazines. The strips in it depict the early years of nerdy, comic-book-obsessed Rusty Brown, an outcast at his elementary school who is well on the way to an ostracized adulthood. Rusty is hard to take a shine to, so it's fortunate that the supporting characters, including Rusty's schoolteacher father, sole friend Chalky White, and Chalky's alienated--adolescent sister Alison, whose stories unfold alongside Rusty's, are all more sympathetic and multidimensional. These strips aren't as formally daunting as much of Ware's other work, yet their parallel storytelling, precise compositions, and meticulous draftsmanship definitely demonstrate his mastery. Ware's occasional alternative-newspaper strip has forged on into Rusty's even more pathetic adulthood, and eventually, all the Rusty strips will be collected in a volume that may dwarf his acclaimed and plethoric Jimmy Corrigan (2000). Meanwhile, there are the elegant Acmevolumes, each a delight by itself. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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