Title: Acme Novelty Library 20, Lint
Writer/artist: Chris Ware
Normally I don’t include interior art from comics in my reviews for fear of copyright issues, but Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library #20 came with a disclaimer allowing small excerpts to be shown for “positive review.” I’m not sure if that’s sincere or if it’s another example of ironic touches in indie books, but thankfully, I have nothing but positive things to say about Acme Novelty Library #20 anyways.
If you haven’t been exposed to the work of Chris Ware before, you should take some time out to do so, especially if you’re looking for something to read besides superhero books or thrillers. It’s drawn entirely in a minimalist style that resembles what you might see inside of airplane pamphlets explaining how to attach the oxygen mask in case of a loss of cabin pressure. The theme of the book too is similar to the airplane pamphlet: how to survive a crisis.
Acme Novelty Company #20 takes the reader into the sad world of Jordan Lint. He’s not the usual character you would expect to see in an indie comic. He’s not a witty hipster like you might find in the work of Daniel Clowes, nor is he an outspoken liberal in search of freedom and equality, as you find in so many other indie books. What makes Jordan unique is that he’s average. He grows up doing many of the things most Americans are expected to like: watching football, listening to Led Zeppelin, and aspires for a high paying corporate career.
Those of us who live on the fringes of American culture, i.e. comic book fans, hipsters, intellectuals etc., are naturally predisposed to be wary of the average American, and that’s what makes Acme Novelty Library #20 so indispensable. It shows that the average life is itself incredibly difficult, and it’s impossible not to feel bad for Jordan Lint even as he errs egregiously.
If this sounds interesting to you, I’d also highly recommend you check out Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Boy on Earth by Chris Ware. That’s one of my top ten favorite graphic novels. Acme Novelty Library #20 isn’t recommended for minors, as there is adult subject matter.
–If you’re looking for a regular novel to read, please consider reading my most recent book A Rapturous Occasion. It’s a comedy of errors about a wealthy middle-aged couple who believe the end of the world is nigh. To find out more, check out the product page for A Rapturous Occasion on Amazon.