Utterly eschewing the general bonhomie surrounding the newly-minted contemporary regard for the comic strip medium as a language of complicated personal expression and artistic sophistication, professional colorist and award-winning letterer F. C. Ware returns to the book trade with “The ACME Novelty Library,” a hardcover distillation of all his surviving one-page cartoon jokes with which he tuckpointed the holes of his regular comic book periodical over the past decade.
Sometimes claimed to be his “best work” by those who really don’t know any better, this definitive congestion of stories of the future, the old west, and even of modern life nonetheless tries to stay interesting by including a luminescent map of the heavens, a chart of the general structure of the universe, assorted cut-out activitites, and a complete history of The ACME Novelty Company itself, decorated by rare photographs, early business ventures, not to mention the smallest example of a Comic Strip ever before offered to the general public. All in all, it will likely prove a rather mild disappointment, but at least it catches the light in a nice way and may force a smile here and there before being shelved for the next generation’s ultimate disregard and/or disposal.
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. He most recently edited the 13th issue of “McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern,” and continues work on two upcoming genuinely serious graphic novels. The 16th issue of his regular periodical, not uncoincidentally titled “The ACME Novelty Library,” will be released this fall.