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NUMBERS 18, 19,
& 20


Sheer Ozu-y goodness. "Parent's house" appears twice, the only real flaw, other than maybe excessive (very small) text. Otherwise, Chris Ware's quest to correct for decades of action-heavy cartooning with wholly original, imaginative, purposefully quotidian assaults on readerly eyes and hearts continues. As always, amazing. Totally individuated art, with nods to Proust and Ozu and Perec's Life: A User's Manual here and there. 

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Self-sufficient sci-fi layercake. First comes a pulpy outerspace adventure, then it's all about how the young Rusty Brown became interested in science fiction, finished with a sci-fi textual short story by Rusty Brown. Not quite at the level of #18 or #20 but still wholly worth reading. Surprising: occasional tiny, sexually explicit/suggestive images. Can see how some get tired of Ware's loveable losers. The girl in #18, young Rusty in this one, and Jimmy Corrigan are all sort of cut from the same Charlie Brownian cloth, except the girl in #18, young Rusty, and Lint all turn to art in response to a sense that the world's rejected them. The graphic approach, more than the characters, is what does it for me. This one seemed a bit more traditionally framed than the wholly Warean whole-page cycling schematics of association in Lint and #18. 

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A self-contained ~80-page chapter from a "ridiculously long" work yet to be finished or collected but serialized lately in these gorgeous full-color hardcovers. This one presents representative days in the difficult life from birth to death of a not-so-sympathetic Nebraskan fella, organically/inventively structured and elaborated in Ware's particular visual language that allows for so much association, imagistic representation of thought, and ultimately a degree of empathy for the aforemention not-so-sympathetic fella. Amazing. Read in a two-hour sitting. Highly recommended and probably infinitely re-readable as is. The tightest, most sprawling, graphic novel ever? An ideal expansion of Thomas McGuire's "Here"?

Forever after here


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