Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth

by Chris Ware


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This first book from Chicago author Chris Ware is a pleasantly-decorated view at a lonely and emotionally-impaired "everyman" (Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth), who is provided, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time. An improvisatory romance which gingerly deports itself between 1890's Chicago and 1980's small town Michigan, the reader is helped along by thousands of colored illustrations and diagrams, which, when read rapidly in sequence, provide a convincing illusion of life and movement. The bulk of the work is supported by fold-out instructions, an index, paper cut-outs, and a brief apology, all of which concrete to form a rich portrait of a man stunted by a paralyzing fear of being disliked.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375714542
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/29/2003
Series: Pantheon Graphic Novels Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 380
Sales rank: 199,195
Product dimensions: 8.03(w) x 6.48(h) x 1.34(d)

About the Author

CHRIS WARE is widely acknowledged as the most gifted and beloved cartoonist of his generation by both his mother and seven-year-old daughter. Building Stories, released in 2012, received 4 Eisner Awards, including Best Graphic Album, in 2013. His Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth won the Guardian First Book Award and was listed as one of the "100 Best Books of the Decade" by The Times (London) in 2009. An irregular contributor to This American Life and The New Yorker (where some of the pages of this book first appeared) his original drawings have been exhibited in the Whitney Biennial, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and in piles behind his work table in Oak Park, Illinois.

What People are Saying About This

Dave Eggers

Ware's use of words is sparing, and at time maudlin. But the real joy is his art. It's stunning. In terms of attention to detail, graceful use of color, and overall design. Ware has no peer. And while each panel is relentlessly polished-never an errant line or lazily rendered image-his drawings, somehow, remain delicate and achingly lyrical.

Mother Jones

Ware's work is among the very best graphic, comic, illustrative, and fine artwork being produced in the world right now.

Art Spiegelman

It's uncanny that someone so young would have such an apparent recollection of the history of comics, and the talent to expand upon it.

Customer Reviews

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Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
dmcolon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disturbing. I can think of no word to describe this book that are more apt than disturbing. It's a book about alienation, death, loneliness, and estrangement. The book is hard to describe adequately -- at least for me. Jimmy's alienation from his father; his discovery that he had siblings he didn't now about till adulthood; his inability to connect with other humans; are all powerfully expressed through a powerful text and starkly beautiful illustrations.Perhaps some of the themes hit too close to home or perhaps Ware's text is too unrelentingly bleak, but I cannot speak of this book in any meaningful way. He captures awkward moments between father and son brilliantly. He understands the relationship between overprotective mothers and their sons intuitively. The pain of meeting an unrecognized sibling -- all of these themes are treated better than just about anything I've read.Having finished the book, though, I have a real need to read something else to take my mind off Jimmy Corrigan.
wilsonknut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you believe that graphic novels should be more than just a story with pictures, you will love this book. It takes what graphic novels can do as a medium to a level few have matched. It is carefully crafted and complex in both story and structure. As a student of literature, I have to say that this book is a serious work of art.
sproutchild on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Never liked comic books and haven't read Sunday comics in years. Discovered this in the NYTimes magazine section and throught I'd see what the fuss was about. Was blown away by the depth of emotion, Ware's ability to tell a compelling story using a medium I had previously been turned off by. Add the Chicago Fair connection and it's one of my all-time-favorite books.
rores28 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An expertly written and illustrated work. Ware is an adept writer, but is equally skilled at letting a few frames fill up with oceans of philosophical and psychological depth. The story flows so seamlessly between the mundane and surreal that it becomes difficult at times to discern which are veridical events. Some themes are explored overtly while others are so subtle that they are easy to miss, and the format allows for subtly depicted revelations that might otherwise feel heavy handed if they were put to words.Make sure to read the final insert by Ware, where he talks about the influences of the book and the entire works becomes even more eerie and surreal.
stephmo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the surface, Jimmy Corrigan can easily be dismissed as a simple story. Then the details and the sheer cleverness of it all begins to emerge. Jimmy Corrigan does his best to be someone we don't want to care about - clumsy, unable to stick-up for himself and on crutches due to a minor spill, he's heard from his father at 36 and is flying out to meet him for no other reason than to have a stranger not hate him. He is hoping to hide this from his overbearing mother who calls him constantly, he allows a fellow passenger to berate his roll choice finds himself alone and waiting in a strange airport for a man that cannot be bothered to show up on time.This does not bode well.And yet, you find that there's much in this story. Chris Ware has a generational aspect to the story as it flips back to Jimmy's grandfather's story of growing up with the construction of the World's Fair where he has an absent mother and an overbearing father in another story that is detailed in the book. Ware does a fine job of detailing the human side of this without turning it into a Hallmark card. The drawings are lush and the layouts are done to match the stories - some are open and breezy while others are crammed and frantic. Some frames offer direction while others can be read in several different ways and still make sense, leaving their order ultimately up to the reader. Very readable and ultimately a showcase for Ware's talent.
JohnMunsch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up a new paperback edition that I believe is quite new. I like it a lot. It's all about what mean, lonely, emotional cripples people can be and how they can turn out children who are just like themselves.Idiots who think comics are a genre rather than a medium should read stuff like this.P.S. After finishing this, you should really read the author's afterword. It's very interesting and has a lot to do with the content of the book.
staram on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me state for the record that I adore Chris Ware and his meticulous, precisely rendered artwork. And then there's Jimmy Corrigan. I truly wanted to like this book, but just couldn't.The artwork is typical Chris Ware, of course. That is always pleasing. The storyline is well thought-out: the awkwardness of the decidedly less than stellar adulthood of the title character. There are awkward moments aplenty, all presented to the reader with subtlety and skill.If you like the graphic novel of sadness and depression -- with the main character facing constant disappointment and rejection at every page, the disappointments of growing up and viewing it naively through the eyes of a child -- then this is for you. Who knows why this seems to be a current trend in graphic novels.
williecostello on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an exquisite book. Ware has developed a comics idiom that is all his own and really makes you feel like you're reading a whole new type of book. I like to think of what Ware does here as bringing stream-of-consciousness writing to the visual medium, but that doesn't really capture the depth and weight of all he does with his imagery. I guess I'd just say that you really have to read it to understand it. And of course, Ware's art itself is also fantastic, in every aspect: illustration, coloring, blocking, and so on---he executes it all to a T.However, be forewarned that this is a difficult book, in more ways than one. Because of its unconventional storytelling style, I found it a bit hard to get into at first and figure out everything that was going on. In addition, I found the actual story of the book to be very depressing, filled with scene after scene of heart-wrenching awkwardness, and while this does create for some moments of real poignancy and empathy with the characters, it also made it hard for me to want to keep reading the book, although the sheer artistry of the work was definitely enough to stop me from putting it down.
abirdman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A big, fat, wonderful, and affecting graphic novel. The simple pictures and framing provide a surprisingly good way to convey the simple, biographical action.
Arctic-Stranger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok, I know this is supposed to be a really good book, but most of it left me cold. I was moved by Jimmy's relationship with his father though.
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I admit, I wanted some text to go along with the pictures. Page numbers would have been nice also, though I think I see why they were left off. In general, it's worth looking over if you're a comic or graphic novel fan, but even with what I imagine Ware was going for, I feel it grew a bit long, and a bit confused at points as well.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel is considered by many to be the best ever written, and for good reason. However, it is anything but an easy read. I myself could barely make heads or tails of the first thirty pages or so--but once you learn Ware's writing style, the pages basically turn themselves. The intertwined plots of the two Jimmy Corrigans are at once touching, melancholy, and infinitely relatable. Ware's art varies from minimalistically simple to extravagantly detailed, and always beautiful. If you're willing to read a book that actually forces you to think about what's going on, this book will give you deeper shades of meaning each time you read it. Absolutely astounding.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't think enough good things can be said about this 'novel'. It's as brilliant as it is sad. But there are times when you'll crack a smile. If you've ever been lonely, Jimmy is instantly relatable. Ware can not-only weave an intricate and incredible storyline, but is also an amazing artist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fascinating and absorbing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What can one say,whether your a comics fan,graphic designer,or a recent recovering Radial Keratotomy patient,380 pages of pure goodness.Truly a masterpiece!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't believe what Chris Ware might say about himself -- he is a gifted writer. This is to say nothing about his stunning talents as an artist and storyteller. This seven-years-in-the-making compilation of Jimmy Corrigan's story is both depressing and profound. It shouldn't be missed.

Chris Ware transports the reader not only to another era, but into the middle of a man's web of pain, solitude and confusion. But he does so in such a delicate, meticulous manner; it's the perfect use of the comic book medium.

Beautiful, poignant, sublime. I am a more complete person having read these comics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not my taste of books but I had to read it for a project. It was very confusing. I did not understand what was happening until the end. The author was telling the story of Jimmy Corrigan then it went to his father and when he grew up. The book did not flow well at all. Jimmy and his father looked exactly the same so you never new who was talking.