Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth (review)
Without a doubt, this is the single most depressing thing I have read so far in my entire life.
Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth is a graphic novel by [Chris Ware] about, well, Jimmy Corrigan. The original series was published in Ware's monthly comic book [Acme Novelty Library], and then gathered into a single graphic novel in 2005. It is still in print as of this writeup, and can be purchased directly from [Random House] for $19.95, plus shipping.
The art is marvelous, and is heavily inspired by early 20th century comic books, such as [Gasoline Alley]. Ware combines a very simple, sparse, subtle style of [line art] with a more tightly-packed [panel layout]. The end result is more, smaller panels on a page, but each of them is just as effective at conveying a meaning as any other [conventional] comic.
There are two stories responsible for the tone of the book: one of them is Jimmy, circa age 6, meeting a childhood hero named "The [Superman]" for the first time, and The Superman's resulting date with his [single mother] and his escape from Jimmy's house in the wee morning hours the next day. The second is Jimmy, circa age 35, finding a [suicide note] on a coworker's desk, and then watching the same coworker (wearing a familiar [superhero costume]) jump to his death from a building across the street.
Both of these are in the first ten pages.
The note? The note says:
I sat across from you for [six months] and you never once noticed me!