Rusty Brown
‘The week after I finished the last page of Jimmy Corrigan I immediately started a new long story based on characters who had originated as parodies, but whom now I wanted to humanize... amidst a setting of memories of my Omaha childhood and Nebraska upbringing.’ (Chris Ware, Monograph)Now, twenty years later, Ware is publishing Rusty Brown in book form. It is, he says, ‘a fully interactive, full-colour articulation of the time-space interrelationships of six complete consciousnesses on a single Midwestern American day and the tiny piece of human grit about which they involuntarily orbit.’ The six characters are Rusty Brown himself, a shy schoolkid obsessed with superheroes, his father ‘Woody’ Brown, an eccentric teacher at Rusty’s school, Chalky White, another schoolboy, Alison White, Chalky’s sister, Jason Lint, an older boy who bullies Rusty and Chalky and fancies Alison, and the boys’ teacher, Joanne Cole. Ware tells each of their stories in minute detail (or as he puts it, ‘From childhood to old age, no frozen plotline is left unthawed’), producing another masterwork of the comics form that is at once achingly beautiful, heartbreakingly sad and painfully funny.

Rusty Brown Details

TitleRusty Brown
Author
ReleaseSep 26th, 2019
PublisherJonathan Cape
ISBN-139780224078139
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Comics, Graphic Novels, Fiction, Graphic Novels Comics

Rusty Brown Review

  • Peter Hollo
    January 1, 1970
    Technically astounding as always, at times truly beautiful and with streaks of genius, but unrelentingly depressing. The best of it, Lint, was published as a self-contained story as ACME Novelty Library 20, although Joanne Cole's sequence is lovely and has a real emotional hit at its denouement.When Ware turns his pen to depicting sympathetic characters who we can really care about (generally female), the misery is tempered by loveliness and even some kind of peace - that's why Building Stories Technically astounding as always, at times truly beautiful and with streaks of genius, but unrelentingly depressing. The best of it, Lint, was published as a self-contained story as ACME Novelty Library 20, although Joanne Cole's sequence is lovely and has a real emotional hit at its denouement.When Ware turns his pen to depicting sympathetic characters who we can really care about (generally female), the misery is tempered by loveliness and even some kind of peace - that's why Building Stories is so brilliant. But the Rusty Brown stories have always been the most painfully misanthropic, and so it is with most of this big compilation - only half of the entire work, what's more!The fact that Joanne Cole's story is the most recent (and mostly unpublished) work does bode well for what comes next - although those of us who've read all the ACME Novelty Libraries know that Rusty himself only becomes a more pathetic figure as he gets older.
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  • Zack Quaintance
    January 1, 1970
    There are not one but several achingly-beautiful stories told in this book. The intersection may be billed as a single day at school, but it soon emerges that the real commonality in these pages is the complicated nature of the human condition. Just a gorgeous work.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    In the past year, we've gotten Lutes's Berlin, Seth's Clyde Fans, and we're now blessed with Ware's Rusty Brown. What other epic years-long projects are still ongoing at this point?
  • Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    This certainly wasn’t what I expected. My first experience with Rusty Brown was in Acme Library, and I expected more of the same: sometimes depressing, but often petty and hilarious musings of an aging collector. I expected the painfully awkward situational humor.This volume featured very little of what I mention above.But I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I read Building Stories several years ago and loved it. If I compared this new volume to anything, it would be Building Stories. This is bitters This certainly wasn’t what I expected. My first experience with Rusty Brown was in Acme Library, and I expected more of the same: sometimes depressing, but often petty and hilarious musings of an aging collector. I expected the painfully awkward situational humor.This volume featured very little of what I mention above.But I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I read Building Stories several years ago and loved it. If I compared this new volume to anything, it would be Building Stories. This is bittersweet, painfully bleak at times, and just beautiful. Every story in here is pretty dark, reinforcing the underbelly of humanity without arcing down a nihilistic spiral. In the end, there’s always a thread of hope in Ware’s work that is deeply touching.The more I think about it, the more I think Ware may be my favorite author. His work makes me feel just about everything, and the way he illustrates his work just makes it all the more wonderful. For example, at one point in this book a character recalls watching a friend shoot a small mammal. He vomits. The illustrations are very small and simplified, which strips the moment of its poignancy to some degree. Instead it is almost humorous, like the character knows he shouldn’t be so rattled by it, and yet it is this important moment from his past. I think we all have memories like this, like the time my wife lost my jump drive and I thought I was going to die. In retrospect it seems foolish, but I still remember that initial onset of panic, the severity of the situation as I was in it, even if I grew out of it later. Ware shows us the distance of time and experience through his illustrations. That’s really all I have time for though. I need to go grocery shopping and my kid is throwing a fit.
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  • Jeffrey
    January 1, 1970
    Great to read this collected, a book I actually found hopeful in the end, and full of human moments both sad and funny. I also probably relate to Rusty and Chalky as kids far more than is normal...
  • Chris Browning
    January 1, 1970
    great art, great deconstruction of the comic form, but geez if the plot (as it were) isn’t an unending (perhaps occasionally relenting i.e. the last page) stream of misery and depression and (3 out of 4 sections) damaged male horniness. often the pages look beautiful with Ware’s geometries and solid lines, but it’s just so fucking hard (emotionally) to read and for what? what does this share about the human condition beyond that life’s fucking miserable? even authors like DFW, who worked in a si great art, great deconstruction of the comic form, but geez if the plot (as it were) isn’t an unending (perhaps occasionally relenting i.e. the last page) stream of misery and depression and (3 out of 4 sections) damaged male horniness. often the pages look beautiful with Ware’s geometries and solid lines, but it’s just so fucking hard (emotionally) to read and for what? what does this share about the human condition beyond that life’s fucking miserable? even authors like DFW, who worked in a similar sphere, allowed sustained moments of catharsis. i wouldn’t say that this isn’t worth reading because it has its qualities (as an art object, few graphic novels come close), but be warned: it’ll put you in a dark mood.
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  • Dianah
    January 1, 1970
    Chris Ware has a way of depicting the somber lives most of us live with an aching beauty. Like Building Stories, Rusty Brown is a realistic slice of life, with characters and stories that look like our every day, day in and day out. Ever the master of the subtle expression, Ware's story is an illuminated map of human emotion, and how he manages to do that with cartoons is anyone's guess, but do it, he does.
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  • Kyle Vernier
    January 1, 1970
    I read a fair amount of comics. More than I record on Goodreads. Most are fun stories but few have the depth that Rusty Brown has. I read my first Chris Ware comic 20 years ago, right around when he started working on this book and all of it has made an impact on me. Rusty Brown is mostly about time and loss and memory. It isn’t light reading. And, I suspect that only those well steeped in comics reading would even be able to crack the surface.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars for the hopeless male characters we’ve seen before, but 5+ stars for the amazing art.
  • Adrian Curcher
    January 1, 1970
    I spent a good portion of 2011 engulfed in the world of Rusty Brown as I wrote a large chunk of my dissertation about it. Now nearly 10 years later, it's finally complete (well the first volume) and it still feels as fresh and revolutionary. In those 10 years I've got married, completely changed careers, and recently had a baby. Time trickles by. Different things hit me in the gut on this reading than did back then. I know I've read a few reviews mentioning how depressing this book is, and it is I spent a good portion of 2011 engulfed in the world of Rusty Brown as I wrote a large chunk of my dissertation about it. Now nearly 10 years later, it's finally complete (well the first volume) and it still feels as fresh and revolutionary. In those 10 years I've got married, completely changed careers, and recently had a baby. Time trickles by. Different things hit me in the gut on this reading than did back then. I know I've read a few reviews mentioning how depressing this book is, and it is, but, it's also feels so kind and open hearted. Yes human beings can be horrible, but no one irredeemable, no one is purely bad. Empathy is everything, even for people who you would normally think don't deserve it. But everyone does.I cannot wait to read volume 2 in another 10 years, I wonder where I'll be then? But I know there will always be one constant, and that is my unrivaled love for everything Chris Ware touches.
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  • Brian Hendricks
    January 1, 1970
    It has been years since I first read Jimmy Corrigan and fell in love with Chris Ware’s work, but I can’t say I’ve kept up. I bought Building Stories and it sat unread on my shelf for a few years before I traded it back in. Recently I got divorced and figured I was in the right brain space to read more Ware. Indeed, no one captures the suffering of being alive quite like Ware does. Rusty Brown is a masterclass in comic artistry, storytelling, and the breadth of human emotion.Time to go reread Jim It has been years since I first read Jimmy Corrigan and fell in love with Chris Ware’s work, but I can’t say I’ve kept up. I bought Building Stories and it sat unread on my shelf for a few years before I traded it back in. Recently I got divorced and figured I was in the right brain space to read more Ware. Indeed, no one captures the suffering of being alive quite like Ware does. Rusty Brown is a masterclass in comic artistry, storytelling, and the breadth of human emotion.Time to go reread Jimmy Corrigan and track Building Stories back down. This one left me wanting more, yet ends with the word “INTERMISSION” as a splash page. Thankfully, it functions as a self-contained read since it should be another decade or so before we get the next volume. I’ll be patiently suffering through life as I look forward to it.
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  • Salomão Diniz
    January 1, 1970
    Poucas obras exploram com tamanha maestria a psique dos seus personagens e aqui, o formato e gênero quadrinho extrapolaram qualquer coisa já feita antes. Qualquer palavra dita aqui não faz jus a grandiosidade da obra. Genial!
  • Brian Lavery
    January 1, 1970
    18 years in the making, another masterpiece by Chris Ware. This story follows several characters through the decades set around a parochial school in Omaha Nebraska. His attention to detail remains astounding.
  • Brianna Sowinski
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning, beautiful, achingly heartbreaking. Looking forward to rereading.
  • Nick Moran
    January 1, 1970
    Best book of 2019. It's not close.
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