Acme Novelty Library #20: Lint
Written & Illustrated by Chris Ware
Published by Drawn & Quarterly
The latest Acme Novelty Library offering from Chris Ware tells a lifetime portrait of Jordan Lint, from birth to death. As with previous ANL books, Lint stands out on shelves as a beautiful book, a strikingly designed hardcover whose subtlety nearly screams out in comparison to the hyperventilating action-oriented covers of most comics.
Due to its narrative breadth, Lint sketches the outlines of its protagonist’s life, offering fleeting glimpses, snapshots of time just before or after momentous life changes. As such, certain sequences feel too fleeting, unfulfilling, but taken in sum, the complete reading experience rounds out a life as complete, complex and full as any found in the comics form.
Ware’s graphic sense remains impeccable, minimalist and striking, weaving small images together to give readers the fullest possible picture of Lint’s world. Similarly, his use of lettering – fonts, sizes, placement – aids the artwork in establishing the emotional tone of each sequence.
Like all of Ware’s work, darkness marks Lint, though this book doesn’t match the depressing melancholy of earlier Ware books. Which is, I think, a welcome change. Ware’s a technical master of the medium, and capable of devastating emotional stories; showing a wider emotional range will only make his work even stronger and more essential. If you’re not reading Acme Novelty Library, you’re missing the most technically accomplished and boundary-pushing comics available today.