Friday, December 22, 2006

Book-A-Day #157 (12/20): The ACME Novelty Library, Volume 17 by Chris Ware

This year's ACME installment brings us part two of the epic "Rusty Brown" graphic novel, along with a typically odd Chris Ware backup strip -- "Branford, the Best Bee in the World" -- all wrapped up in a fake-'70s yearbook package.

"Rusty Brown" is feeling more naturalistic, and less deliberately distanced, than Ware's previous work -- though the inclusion of a character (a depressed art teacher, no less) named Mr. Ware is a bit worrying. And Rusty Brown himself is exceptionally unconnected to actual reality -- though some of his behaviors are not too far away from my own older son, Thing 1, so it might just be a bit of artistic exaggeration -- for a character we're supposed to identify with.

Also, all adult men are bald in Ware's world. (I got my hair cut today, though, and most of the guys in there were at least partially balding -- I was the one major exception -- so maybe, again, it's my perceptions that are a bit off.)

This is mostly a bunch of middle, so it's not fair to criticize it for that. We'll see what "Rusty Brown" turns into when we can see more of the shape of the story -- and, at this rate, that will be about 2012.

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