Quimby the Mouse - Chris Ware

Chris Ware's comics are intricately drawn, sometimes with nearly incomprehensible page layouts. Pages are filled with miniscule text, ranging from ads for fake products (or real, such as the one promoting "Misery") to personal anecdotes. This particular volume is a collection of Quimby the Mouse comic strips he did for a student newspaper in Texas, as well as a couple volumes of his Acme Novelty Library.

It's very hard to explain his comics: they're somewhat amusing but also imbued with a sense of overwhelming tragedy. From the autobiographical bits he inserts in the comics, you find that Mr. Ware is (or was at the time) a sad self-pitying figure. He explains that these comics were drawn around the time that his grandmother died and then shortly afterward. His other book, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth revolves around divorce and a dad he never really knew. Fun topics for comics, to be sure.

After reading his books, you come away with a sense of awe at the precision of his artwork (not to mention the sheer volume of it), but also a sort of depression, the sort you feel after waking up from a bad dream you don't remember. It's not particularly pleasant yet extremely fascinating.

Fed to jonathan's brain | April 14, 2004