I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc. And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.
The Acme Novelty Library Vol. 17 & 18
Perhaps I should have started with vol. 15, which has the first mention of the character Rusty Brown, but I just picked these two up at random at the library, so here is where I begin.
Starting with volume 17 seemed fine to me. The narrative introduced me to the characters and their situation and I fell easily into the continuing action. Rusty Brown is a universally disliked 7 year old attending a tiny school somewhere in the northern midwest (could be Northern Minnesota?).
Two new students have moved to town and are now in the same school, a kid named Chalky who is in the same grade as Rusty and seems sympathetic. Chalky's sister, Alice, is in 10th grade and is devastated by the move and leaving her best friend behind in MI.
Typical school days follow, Chalky is warned away from Rusty, but is drawn to him instead. Alice stumbles among the groups of students, not knowing where she fits in, and not trying to fit in much either.
Following the rather depressing lives in this small town we are treated to the much brighter, almost mesmeric, story of Branford, the best bee in the world. However, much of Branford's life, though colorful, is similar to the bleak lives we'd been treated to previously.
Volume 18 concentrates on Nanna, starting out with her humdrum, lonely life. She sits around her apartment trying to summon up enough care to do the laundry, get out of bed or choose a shirt. Apathy seems to be winning.
The story follows her through flash backs examining her childhood, first and only relationship and the resulting solidtude and self-hatred she lives with at present. She observes the world around her, watching others enact their lives while she feels stranded. She wonders if anyone ever sees her in the background of their photos and wonders about her.
Again, a very depressing, muted graphic novel that ends on about the same note it began. However, despite the sad contents, an interesting story, with many points were readers will no doubt identify with Nanna's feelings of alienation and frustration at her inability to connect with others.
Will I pick up more Ware? Maybe next time I happen to see his books in the library, but I'm probably not going to look for more apathy, I have more than enough.