Ever since 1993, American Cartoonist Chris Ware has been dishing out a number of comics and graphic novels entitled Acme Novelty Library (ANL). With each new installment, his work seems to delve more and more into the dark side, so why is Acme Novelty Library #20 in particular worth your money?
The 20th installment in the well-received series focuses on Jordon “Jason” Lint, a man who grew up around domestic abuse, sexual insecurities, and Oreo cookies. At first glance, you just might be a bit overwhelmed by how much content is on each page. Inside the cover is a family tree that provides information on relatives of Jordon. Little details like these make Acme Novelty Library take on a life of its own and make the book feel like it belongs in a world outside of our own. The art style itself is simplistic, but with so much going on, gives ANL a distinct mood that I have yet to see in other comics.
Acme Novelty Library #20 definitely likes to tug on the reader’s heart strings as it convincingly conveys a myriad of emotions not typically seen in today’s comic books. Themes of lust, adultery, violence, and resentment fill this book to the brim and you’ll leave with a feeling of emptiness. It is not because the book is incomplete, but because it knows how to pull you in and decides when it’s time for you to stop. Granted, the very end does get a little confusing, but that doesn’t stop you from sighing as you turn the last page and set it down.
If you are the type of person who likes to go on emotional benders, Acme Novelty Library is definitely worth picking up, or at least reading from cover to cover and putting back on the shelf. For everyone else, I hear Deadpool is getting pretty good.