I was very, very excited for this. Chris Ware is a fantastic cartoonist and graphic novelist. His Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth was a total masterpiece that won The Guardian First Book Award.
His last major graphic novel, Building Stories, was a boxful of surprises – containing books, posters, tiny chapbooks and more, all of which can be read in any order. It was the story of a building and its residents, both current and historical.
Rusty Brown – 22 years in the making – is the story of a single day and a bunch of interrelated characters. Like all of Ware’s work, it is impeccably drawn and designed and cut through with a deep sadness which Ware captures so well.
The one thing I didn’t realise when reading – until the very end, with it’s intertitle Intermission – that it’s the first of two books. That was a little offputting, but the stories here are very strong, however it’s hard to judge the book as a whole, since it’s only the first half.
That said, the bravura Jordan Lint section chronicled Lint’s entire life in around 80 pages and moved me to tears and is worth the price of the book in and of itself.