cover image Acme Novelty Library #20: Lint

Acme Novelty Library #20: Lint

Chris Ware, Drawn and Quarterly, $23.95 (72p) ISBN 978-1-77046-020-1

In previous books Ware has diagrammed intergenerational relationships and dissected the events of a single day. This stunningly realized issue of Ware's Acme Novelty Library—both the latest chapter of his in-progress Rusty Brown graphic novel, and a self-contained narrative—chronicles the entire life of Jordan Wellington Lint, who ages one year for nearly each of this book's 72 pages. Ware's project is not to objectively chart the course of a life, but to investigate the development of subjective consciousness. Lint, a secondary character in earlier chapters of Rusty Brown, takes center stage, from his origins as a blastocyte until the moment of his death. Just as cells conglomerate to form an organism, Lint's early perceptions cluster to form associations that echo throughout. Similarly, Lint has constructed a self-narrative that allows him to remain the hero of his own story until he is periodically undermined by the invasions of reality. In the book's extraordinary climax, Lint himself is confronted by the subjective experiences of another who regards Lint as the monster in a different story. As the book's final moment clarifies, our struggle for self-definition is the converse of our need to connect with others. (Nov.)