Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Formal Blog Jimmy Corrigan - Anti-hero - By Christopher Walker

Focus should be placed on two of specific images in Jimmy Corrigan - The "stand in car show" Super-Man in the beginning and the successfully suicidal hero the first time Jimmy Corrigan is at work. Both of these seem to represent the fall of the hero -- the fall of chivalry, the fall of the male (in turn the fall of the father figure), the fall of hope, the fall of security, and the fall of childhood. Super-Man is a well known comics and the character has some defining characteristics. Aside from Super Man having super powers, he upholds right and wrong. He symbolizes hope for children, for boys he symbolizes the capacity of manhood, hope for the weak, hope for victims, and he embodies right (in a sense of right and wrong).

In the beginning, Corrigan's mom takes home guy who plays Super-Man. Already, we have the concept of the fallen hero. In these scenes, we see a sleazy "Super-Man" successfully picking up Jimmy's mother. This guy uses the Jimmy as his pick up line and later sneaks out of the house after sleeping with the mother. He's deceived his mother and successfully deceived Jimmy. With how overbearing Jimmy's mother is, one can only imagine what kind of retaliation or projections of a deceitful "Super-Man" Jimmy had to endure, particularly when she finds Jimmy wearing the Super-Man mask. A gender conflict must take place at this point -- Jimmy's mother is raising her son, without contact with the father. Jimmy, through out the novel, is demasculinized by his mother. She treats him like a child -- it's impossible to be a man if you're being projected as a child at age 35.

Jimmy Corrigan's life is trite. In some ways this could be contributed to the rise of consumer societies. See the movie "Fight Club" a good example of what I'm taking about. Men no longer function as males... or their function has drastically changed within the past hundred years. Men are machines, now, in a corporate cog. Jimmy's mother raising him alone is a sign that it's no longer necessary to have a father figure to raise a child -- almost signifying the obsolescence of men. Which, I think ties into the prevalence of misogyny in the graphic novel. By men longer being the archetype male (ceasing to exist as males), which would includes treating women with respect, women are in turn treated with disrespect. A break down of gender roles (as unfair as they are to women), seems to be fragmenting men and women (at least in the context of this novel).

When "Super-Man" takes a leap, it's a symbol for the realization and a confirmation of Jimmy's failure to be a man -- it's the fall of childhood. The fall of the father figure: Through out the entire graphic novel, each male in Jimmy's lineage fails to raise their son; resulting in passive males (the fall of the capacity of manhood). With the leap of suicide of "Super-Man", begins the novel. However, Jimmy is a neutral figure -- far too passive to do anything, so he doesn't. The only interesting point in the novel is what's going to happen after the end, when he meets that girl.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

You'll probably be interested to know that I have, in the past, taught Jimmy Corrigan after Don Quixote, which is the definitive account of the end of heroism and chivalry, and the beginning of the modern novel. It performs on the superhero comic the same kind of complex, nostalgic evisceration that Don Quixote performs on the chivalric romance.

I'm very interested in your analysis of gender in the book; this is a good explanation of the role of misogyny throughout, although it's also worth noting that Jimmy's grandfather was raised without a _mother_. Hopefully we'll get a chance to connect this material to Jimmy's fantasy about building a cabin in the post-apocalyptic wilderness with Amy at his side.

It's interesting that, for someone who hates Haraway, you're focusing on the feminized workforce which fascinates her so much.

Ideally, I would have liked more of an analysis of the details of images here, as well as of plotline; take, for instance, the fact that the suicidal superman is both utterly dwarfed by the building, yet stands out in vivid contrast to it: romanticism in a nutshell.