Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth is, well, odd. But not in the same way that Percy Gloom was odd, though the protagonists have similar appearances:
Jimmy has a mashed-potatoes countenance and personality. He’s bullied by his mother and co-workers, and awkwardly responds “Ha ha,” or “Uh…I guess,” to most questions. Jimmy has never known his father, until now. Jimmy flies to Michigan to visit his father for the first time. Before Jimmy has even met him, he begins imagining a slew of strange and nightmarish scenarios—his father is abusive, Jimmy himself is a robot, his father is stabbing him, etc. It turns out that his father, another Jimmy Corrigan, is quite normal, though Jimmy, our protagonist, continues to have anxious day dreams. In the mean time, Mr. E.C. Ware, as he is so called on the spine, gives us another narrative of Jimmy’s grandfather, Jimmy. Yes, another one. Grandpa Jimmy’s childhood was a nightmare. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father was extremely strict and physically abusive. In the present, Jimmy (grandson) meets Jimmy (father) and Jimmy (grandpa) and the two lines of narrative intersect in a frankly beautiful way.
Besides the story, the cell layouts, the lettering, the bubbles, everything is so small and concise. The book itself is smaller than a TV dinner, yet thick and meaty. The lettering at times is so tiny that I have to hold the book up to my face. And the progression of cells can sometimes take two different paths, yet still make sense. All of this, plus the strange day-dreaming, nightmaring sequences of Jimmy-going-to-meet-his-father-Jimmy add up to this being a very post-modern approach to a graphic novel. I sincerely enjoyed it.