Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Prompts for Jimmy Corrigan, week 1

Prompt 1: The Instructions

Pick some part of the “general instructions” on the inside cover of Jimmy Corrigan, and use those instructions (which are simultaneously serious and funny, very complicated and silly - this isn’t easy material) to explain how we ought to read some section of the book (as short as an image, or as long as a few pages). Note that the instructions appear in images as well as in words; it is critical that you pay attention to the visual as well as written instructions.

Prompt 2: Ware’s America/Modernity/Masculine Identity/Western World

What argument is Chris Ware trying to make about America (or, if you prefer, “modernity,” or “masculine identity” or “the Western World”), and how do you respond to that argument?

For context: Remember the account of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims in Vertigo? One can argue that Ware, too, is political, and is concerned with the destiny, history, and meaning of these United States. If you are prepared to make that argument, do so - but do so through reading Ware’s words and images closely, and do not simply note that Ware seems to have particular views about America (or one of the other concepts listed above), but respond to that argument as well.

Prompt 3:  Predecessors

Ware, like all artists, has predecessors. Two I will name are George Herriman (creator of Krazy Kat) and Charles Schultz (creator of The Peanuts). Go read some Herriman or Schultz, then do the following: first, explain the debt (likely in terms of visual vocabulary) that Ware owes to one of his predecessors, and argue/explain how we can understand Ware differently through that debt. I recommend finding early Peanuts comics (from the 50s or 60s) if you want to examine the Schultz-Ware connection.

Note: Superman comics are another clear line of influence. That’s a tougher topic - to do it well I think it might be best to argue that Ware is influenced by or responding to a particular period in Superman’s history, and then focus on one or more comics from that period.

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