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The Comics of Chris Ware$
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David M. Ball and Martha B. Kuhlman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604734423

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604734423.001.0001

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Masked Fathers: Jimmy Corrigan and the Superheroic Legacy

Masked Fathers: Jimmy Corrigan and the Superheroic Legacy

(p.14) Masked Fathers: Jimmy Corrigan and the Superheroic Legacy
The Comics of Chris Ware

Jacob Brogan

University Press of Mississippi

A constant concern in Chris Ware’s oeuvre is the role of the superhero in contemporary comics. Ware is troubled by the notion that superheroes are the forefathers of all new comics texts. In his graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, he establishes a parodic connection between the figure of the superhero and the eponymous protagonist’s long-absent father. A psychoanalytic investigation of the way fatherhood is represented throughout Jimmy Corrigan shows that superheroes sometimes seem to put oppressive pressure on the comics medium as a whole. This chapter argues that Jimmy Corrigan is an attempt to re-imagine the position of the superhero in American comics without granting it a central or otherwise foundational role. It examines Jimmy Corrigan’s struggle to come to terms with his father, as well as his alienation from his sexuality, as an allegory of the status of comics. The chapter also considers how Ware expresses his resistance to the superheroic legacy through genealogy, with reference to Jimmy Corrigan’s investigation of the real complexities of family history.

Keywords:   comics, Chris Ware, superhero, Jimmy Corrigan, father, sexuality, allegory, genealogy, family history

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