Chris Ware // Building Stories / Bildungsroman

I think the reason I don’t read graphic novels is that some years ago I read Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth. It was so spectacular that I didn’t think any other graphic novel would be able to better it. Not that I had read many others to be able to compare it to, but I think it provided me with everything that I wanted from such a book: stunningly-detailed imagery, an engaging story and a satisfying aesthetic that was somehow maintained over hundreds of pages. Although Chris Ware clearly puts countless hours of work into his projects, he also makes the reader ‘work’ to get the most out of his stories – multiple meanings are only revealed if the pages are read in certain directions, in certain geographic locations and during certain phases of the moon.

But it appears that Mr Ware has outdone himself. This weekend in my local bookshop I spotted a large box which could have only been designed by Chris Ware. A little more investigation and I was told it was Ware’s new collection of work: a selection of different booklets, pamphlets and papers. I decided to look no longer at it, and to hope that without any further suggestion someone will gift it to me for Christmas[!].

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