Monday, December 8, 2008

The Smartest Kid on Earth?

Dear fellow readers,

Throughout Jimmy Corrigan, we were told that he was the smartest kid on Earth. However, we are never really introduced to an event, discussion, or even the slightest hint as to why one would consider him to be epically brilliant. I had a couple ideas as to why Ware would make this statement, but I wanted to know what you guys thought as well.

At first, since this book was written as a stream of consciousness, I assumed that Ware was planning to straight up tell us why Jimmy is the smartest, but was simply taking his sweet time to do so. Then I started thinking that Ware was referring not to the painfully awkward Jimmy that we were coming to know and love, but to his grandfather, the poor boy who just wanted that red haired girl to love him a lil'. After a couple hundred pages, I started thinking that Ware was just trying to make us think a little. You know, make us "active readers", or something. It worked, right? Because right from the beginning (at least in our class), we were all wondering what exactly made Jimmy Corrigan so smart. Now, I think that Ware himself may be a sad man who perhaps used this book as a way to come to terms with his social awkwardness. And perhaps he, too, met a slightly strange woman in his workplace who he felt could save him (that's how I interpreted the ending) and felt that the fact that he had ovecome his strange obsession/fear of woman was something that made his character eligible to be the smartest kid in the world.

One more thing, did anyone else appreciate Ware's style of illustration? It seemed like, although his characters were 20,000 leagues under the sea in depth, he had reduced them to simple icons. There was no shading or three-dimensional attempts to his characters; they all looked exactly as they needed to, with no extra details.

Let me know what you guys think.


Eddie Song said...

I feel like I should mention it, and I can't confirm it, but didn't superman call Jimmy the smartest kid on Earth within the first few pages of the novel? That guy called Jimmy the smartest kid on Earth. Granted, he was in position to be awarding that title, but isn't it important to note that that may be why Jimmy is considered to be the smartest kid on Earth. When considering the whole novel, Jimmy really does not seem particularly bright, and I have no idea why Ware would make an event as insignificant as the calling of his the smartest kid on Earth (I really can't think of a way to vary that phrase) important enough to put in his title. I would say that it is an attention grabber, because who would want to read "Jimmy Corrigan: A Middle-Aged loser with No Social Skills." Maybe it was just marketing, who knows?

And yes,I appreciate the simplistic drawing style of Ware. However, the placement of panels and the order in which they were supposed to be read kind of annoyed me. I thought it was overly complicated.

Anisha Vyas said...

Jimmy Corrigan-The Smartest Kid on Earth. That’s the title of the book.

No matter how many times I read the book, look at the panels and read the reviews I still do not understand the title. Jimmy Corrigan-The Smartest Kid on Earth implies that Jimmy Corrigan is the smartest kid on earth. However, he most definitely is not. So why would the author chose to write a whole novel with this title? I do not know. I do know that Jimmy Corrigan is a man that is relatively boring and has many family troubles. He tries to reach out to his father and that ends sadly. In addition, he attempts to be social but that fails miserably when he cannot actually hold a conversation with anyone. Jimmy Corrigan is most definitely not the smartest kid on earth. He isn’t the dumbest either because he has many interesting thoughts and if forced can express some sort of emotion.
For these reasons I do not understand the title.