Throughout this work of art, Jimmy Corrigan is shown to be a depressing and awkward character. With a greedy, overbearing mother and an absent father, Jimmy tries to escape his sorrows through his imagination. Often times, different characters repeatedly show themselves in Jimmy’s daydreams and usually get him into trouble. One of the aspects of these characters I would like to discuss is their size. I believe Chris Ware uses exaggerated sized characters to express the feelings of Jimmy without writing any words.
In this comic, Jimmy is depicted at many different ages and of many different sizes. When he is at his grandmother’s funeral, he retreats to his room where he imagines himself as a giant above the neighborhood again. I believe this is Ware trying to show the rejection Jimmy feels in his own home. He was just in a fight with a girl and was called a bastard and then he walks into his grandmother’s funeral and everyone there does not even notice him. He has no one there to comfort him and is alone in his own house. Although no one notices him, he feels like he sticks out like a virgin in a strip club (relating to Ware’s somewhat dirty humor) or a giant among miniature houses as portrayed. All of Ware’s life he felt alone because his father was not present in his life. In almost every scene Jimmy is portrayed as insignificant or some sort of freak.
Ware uses this comic/novel as an autobiographic tool. He uses the sizes of characters to demonstrate feelings and he also compares characters to people in his life. This ‘superman’ character constantly shows himself throughout the novel acting in many different forms. Very early in the story, Jimmy is sitting in a room when a miniature superman lands on his windowsill while he is talking to his son. Superman then grows into a giant and turns the house upside down leaving Jimmy’s son in pieces. Jimmy then kills his son by smashing a block on his head. This could have been related to when Ware met his father for the first time. This figure is represented as having a small role and excites Jimmy. Then this peaceful figurine transforms into a giant and destroys all of Jimmy’s life.
Ware said that after a certain age, we really do not “see” anymore. We spend our time naming and categorizing and identifying and figuring how everything all fits together. By changing the sizes of the characters and exaggerating drawings, he makes it much easier for us to identify his thoughts by his representation. The old saying, “a picture says a thousand words” is obviously relevant in comics, but Ware takes it to heart. Every detail of every drawing has a meaning in his comic. Whether it is to describe his life or relate to ours, Ware uses the sizes of characters to express their feelings without writing a word.