Sunday, October 26, 2008
Little Jimmy in the pursuit of superdad
Ever since the story opened I could not shake the suspicion that Jimmy Corrigan was in fact a child. First of all, the title was fairly misleading. After hearing the title “Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth” you would think it was about a child who makes mischief with his superior intelligence, but the real story could not be farther from the truth. However, it still seems to me like jimmy is still a child (at least on the inside). His mannerisms are very innocent and childlike. In fact, when confronted with a question, he often hesitates, looks around (as if for approval) and gives some vague mumble of an answer. Most adults, even the excessively strange and socially awkward ones, are more adult-like than jimmy. Also, he is in constant contact with his mother and still submits to her every whim as a child. Both his mother and father treat him like a child. Jimmy seems to require their every guidance and reassurance. They lead him around like a dog and he fears to upset them in much the same way a small child does. He sometimes sweats, mumbles, and becomes frantic when either his mother or father confront him on simple issues. He even daydreams like kids would do. The most striking instances of this are when jimmy becomes hurt or scared. Like a child, he always needs some parental figure to “come to his rescue.” In the opening chapter when jimmy was a child, the superman figure came to his rescue and saved him from his mother's wrath, gave him and his mom a free dinner, and even gave him a superhero mask. It would seem like this was the first fatherly figure jimmy had ever encountered. Every time jimmy is in a position where he would expect a fatherly figure to act or intervene, he sees (or imagines) a superman. For instance, when jimmy is laying hurt after his brush with the mail truck, it is superman who comes to his rescue... or so he sees. Also, in the hospital when he is recovering from being pale, he sees superman again, this time it is the doctor who is concerned about him. It seems like he associates every helping male figure with the original superman in the beginning of the story. The connection with superman and jimmy's paternal ideal is completed when he wears his real fathers superman shirt. It is only towards the end, when he finally seems to start warming up to his dad that gets the shirt and, like the original superman in his life, is soon left with a superman memento as his only reminder of him. Both men, both father figures, came and went in his life leaving only superman memorabilia behind.