Monday, October 27, 2014

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth

The inside cover of the book has a very depressing theme.  The amount of detail that goes into the explanation is amusing.  According to the general instructions, the role of the book has a large portion aimed towards “ugly” people.  For these people, the purpose of the book is to distract or give solace.  The author’s goal is to make these readers feel as bad as he does and the feeling turns to empathy.  It is interesting that he only briefly mentions that the majority of the people buying the book are not ugly and they will only put the book on display.  The quick addition of the remark creates a low self-esteem for the author.  The quantity that these two roles are described in the instructions is similar to how much they are covered in the book.  The explanation of the book’s role lets the reader question what kind of amusement they intend to take from the book.  Creating this predicament sets a tone for how to read the rest of the book.
Reading the book with the role in mind makes flat facial expressions and hardships more noticeable.  There seems to be a strained relationship between Jimmy and his father.  A part which stands out as being troubling is when he cuts his father with the mug.  The dialog associated with the scene doesn’t match the actions associated with it.  This makes it seem like Jimmy’s imagination is creating the scene.  There could be an internal struggle with how he wants to respond to his father.  One aspect which is surreal is that Ward changes the color of Jimmy’s mug.  The mug starts off brown and blends into Jimmy’s pants.  It is hard to guess the object just by looking at this panel.  Transitioning the color to grey, similar to his father’s mug, lets the reader conclude the purpose of the shape.  Ward makes the mug white to have it stand out in the image.  The focal point changes to the action of the mug breaking and the reader sees the importance.  The gruesome scene gives some empathy to how Jimmy is feeling.
If I were to view the book as the majority, there are parts in the book which are visually appealing.  The front cover or an individual page would be used as display.  Ward puts large title pictures throughout the book which aren’t connected to the context of the surrounding panels.  They seem more like a filler to the space.  The simple color scheme is similar to an advertisement as if to prove that this is the book.  The mere presentation of owning the book is proof that the owner is fashionable.  Someone glancing at the other non-title pages would not be able to recognize the work.  A title image that stands out is the large blue image about 10 pages into the book. The style of the picture makes the image look like a circus poster.  Curtains are placed on the sides to make it look like a show.  It is odd that Ward draws what looks like a murder scene.  Jimmy is cutting a man’s throat with scissors.  In reality the child wouldn’t be strong enough to kill the man, but could show his hateful thoughts of what he would do to the man.  This circles back to the theme of Jimmy’s empathetic hardships.  The writing in poster even follows the depressing mood of the general instructions.  It says that the book probably isn’t worth reading.
The cover of the book is more artistic than the images in the book.  The cover can be rotated and viewed from any side.  Not only do the words wraps around border, but the middle seems to wrap around the cover.  Jimmy is positioned standing on the spine of the book.  This makes the viewer want to rotate the book to make it a portrait style viewing angle.  Also, the cover doesn’t look odd when turned to the opposite side.  There is symmetry in his stance which makes his body create shapes.  I am not sure of the significance, but the combination of his arms and the lines make it look like a clock.  It is interesting that the author’s name is basically left out of the cover.  It is very tiny and positioned on the spine of the book.  Everything included in the cover page continues the theme associated with the book.


  1. I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish here. That's a shame, because you make quite a range of interesting observations, especially Ware's use of color (the role of advertisements, for instance, is something that you pick up on, without quite running away with it). Your observations about the inside cover are similarly interesting.

    But a set of observations, even when collected around a theme, don't make for an essay. On top of that, you're crippled by the fact that you don't deal with the ways in which the introduction is obviously humorously. It's might be ugly, vicious, and self-deprecating humor, but it's not *simply* depressing. It's depressing in an absurd, comic way (which isn't to say it's supposed to make you laugh out loud, exactly).

    Could you have constructed an argument about the depressing character of the instructions, even while ignoring the comic character of those instructions? I think so. But an error or limitation in your reading stands out far more when you don't have a clear argument.

  2. I am getting confused when talking about the cover and Jimmy and his fathers strained relationship. It is all confusing. I think to clean this up, you need to look at one specific aspect of the the inside cover, and one specifc moment with Jimmy and his father to really annotate and describe the relationship between the two, to make a concrete argument.