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The Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – W

by  in Comic News Comment
The Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – W

We continue our tour through the alphabet, with a different cool comic book item each day, from A to Z!
Here‘s an archive of A-T.

Today we look at one of the very greatest comic book creators working today.

Chris Ware is one of the most inventive and breathtaking comic book creators still producing regular comics today.

I find it an absolute delight to know that every year I can count on a new edition of Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library to come out to absolutely thrill me, whether it is with a continuing narrative or if it is with some one-off projects (like Building Stories).

Last year, I named the latest edition of Acme Novelty Library my Top Comic of 2008, and 2008 had a lot of good comics in it.

What Ware does with his work is, while having a clear and definitive influence from the works from such early 20th Century legends like Winsor McKay and Frank King, create an almost unique way of delivering comic book content, with a sprawling style that presents you with interconnected panels of intricately depicted figures delivering the story almost all at once to you.

It’s really a marvelous approach.

Here is a perfect example of his style, in this simply stunning “life of” piece he did fairly recently about a young man’s older brother during the 1930s and 40s (obviously, click to enlarge – you need full-sized pages to appreciate Ware, so all of these pages can be clicked on to enlarge)….


Isn’t that just magnificent?

And Ware keeps that level of quality in almost all of his work.

A drawback I hear people say often of Ware’s work is that it is often quite depressing. And that’s roughly true – most of Ware’s characters live fairly depressing lives, but if the work is done well (and Ware certainly is), then I don’t really find that much of a drawback.

Here’s some Ware pages from Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth (which was originally done in Acme Novelty Library)…



Here’s a Building Stories page…


Here’s an awesome Thanksgiving cover he did for New Yorker (he did three others that combine to form one massive page)…


And here, luckily enough, is a short story he just did for New Yorker just a couple of weeks ago!


That last one is a great look at his general tone.

Oh! He also did the poster for the film The Savages. If you’ve seen the film, you’d know that the tone of that film matches Ware PERFECTLY, which makes the decision to have him do the film’s poster a brilliant move.


Ware is a treasure, and I’m delighted that we get to get new work from him yearly (more often than that, all said and done, of course, but at least a guaranteed yearly piece of work).