Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware is a very unique read; it gives the reader an experience like none other. The book is set up in a comic book style and at many points in the novel it jumps back and forth in time periods without warning. The reader not only has to read word for word to get the full experience, but also examining the pictures is essential while reading Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth. Examining the pictures is very important because it shows the relationships and interactions between characters. Just from the pictures, the reader can understand the main character, Jimmy Corrigan’s personality. The pictures show that Jimmy is a shy guy and keeps to himself a lot. Jimmy gets himself into a lot of awkward situations and normally does not know how to handle himself. One can also conclude from the pictures that Jimmy does not have the best life and that he may not be the happiest or luckiest guy out there. Ware uses his illustrations just to show how awful Jimmy’s life really is.
One event in the novel that stands out is when Jimmy is at his desk and he looks out the window and sees Superman on top of an adjacent building. Watching Superman is one of the few times in the novel when Jimmy actually has a smile on his face, but that smile does not stay for long. Just as Jimmy waves to Superman, Superman jumps off the building leading to his unexpected death. The novel then continues to illustrate a small group of people gathering around the dead body only to be interrupted by pouring rain. The people disperse until there is no one around the body as it just lays lifeless in the rain. Eventually an ambulance does arrive to take the body away, but other than that no one helped or even seemed to care. It is evident form the illustrations that Jimmy is certainly devastated by these events as he watches from his office window. It does not help Jimmy’s life because from the opening pages in the book it can be seen that Superman is a true hero for Jimmy.
These images in the book are a very short summary of Jimmy’s short yet dim life. The sequence starts off with hope as Superman is on top of the building putting a smile on Jimmy’s face, but as the story goes on things take a turn for the worse and make Jimmy’s life even worse. As the novel begins, Jimmy actually gets to meet Superman and even gets Superman’s mask giving him hope and joy, but this hope and joy does not last very long. As Jimmy’s life goes on it keeps getting dimmer and dimmer just as the sequence with Superman does. The reader learns that Jimmy does not have luck with talking to girls, he has a very overbearing mother, and even that Jimmy has never met his father. The events in the sequence are not the only thing that connects to Jimmy’s life; the actual illustrations do as well. Ware uses many dim and dark colors, and even adds rain to show the emotions at the time. The events and illustrations lead to a miserable feeling, similar to Jimmy’s unsatisfying life. During his life, people rarely help Jimmy and even less actually care about Jimmy. At this seen, Jimmy’s childhood hero dies, and part of Jimmy dies as well.Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth is a very unique novel requiring the reader to constantly be reading and interpreting all of the illustrations in the novel. The novel shows Jimmy Corrigan as a shy, timid, and unlucky man that does not have a very good life. Ware shows this to the reader through a comic book style, making the otherwise sad and gloomy events appear comical and somewhat enjoyable. The reader realizes how terrible Jimmy’s life has been just through the events illustrated by Ware throughout the novel and cannot help but feel sorry for Jimmy Corrigan.