Blab! #7

Publisher: Kitchen Sink Press
Published: Winter 1992
Format: B&W, 148 pages, 14x21 cm, squarebound
ISBN: 0-87816-194-5

Still in print

Other artists featured includes Richard Sala, Mary Fleener, Terry Laban, and Frank Stack

Cover copyright © Daniel Clowes

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid On Earth

The inside front and back covers feature a color (well, black and white and blue) «Jimmy Corrigan» strip. Jimmy (in his old age) buys some medicine and chocolate and feeds his cat.

Not until the fourth reading of the strip did I understand what the last panel of the strip meant. It's a chilling experience having the meaning of a piece change after several readings.

Quimby the Mouse in «Mouse Trap»

As the introduction to the main story (and as a story element in that story) there's an amusing one page Quimby story. It's filled with teensy panels (around 100 of them), so it's not all that short. The story is pretty nonsensical -- about stealing cheese, killing, and blowing people up (literally).

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid On Earth

The main treat is a story about the young Jimmy Corrigan. Jimmy's mother has a new boyfriend (Nelson Smellpants), and they go out to sea together. They shipwreck, but Jimmy is saved by Superman. Superman leaves him on a deserted island and stops anybody from attempting to rescue Jimmy. Jimmy is left there for several months until his mother and Nelson drops by, but they leave him there, too. Perhaps they'll return, perhaps they won't.

While the themes of abandonment and betrayal are pretty clear, the work is rather odd structurally. The story starts off with Superman watching over Jimmy and acting as a kind of Greek choir, commenting and making dire predictions. This stops after a couple of pages. Later, after leaving Jimmy on the deserted island, we get to see Superman genuinely helping other people for a couple of pages. The resolution comes rather surprisingly, leaving me with a rather unsatisfied feeling, as if things weren't resolved or planned out properly, but instead just stops.

Not that these are serious objections -- this is an interesting, engaging work, but to me it seems somewhat flawed.

The Acme Novelty Warehouse.