Acme 20 gets a starred review in Booklist

The Acme Novelty Library, v.20

Booklist    |    Gordon Flagg    |    January 1, 2011

The latest entry in Ware’s roughly annual Acme Novelty Library is devoted to a heretofore peripheral figure in his ongoing “Rusty Bown” saga, Jordan Lint, who appeared briefly in earlier installments as a school bully. Here Ware chronicles nothing less than Lint’s entire life in a series of single-page vignettes, from a newborn who sees the world in the form of benday dots to his troubled childhood, stormy adolescence, and failures as husband, father, and businessman, right up to his eventual death. Ware uses a wide palette of graphic device —isolated words, symbolic objects, and near-subliminal flashbacks—to convey Lint’s inner thoughts and hidden turmoil. The assertive Lint seems a departure from Ware’s typically hapless and passive protagonists, but he shares many of their traits, from a damaging early trauma to a near-spiritual attachment to a childhood home. And Ware’s formal mastery of the medium continues to astonish. While he uses his characteristic techniques—meticulous drawing; tiny, repetitive panels ingeniously juxtaposed; creative typography—to brilliant effect, here he adds to his arsenal with a powerful sequence depicting a harrowing experience that happened to Lint’s son, rendered in a primitive scrawl that’s all the more powerful for its radical break with Ware’s usual detached approach.

— Gordon Flagg

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