Chris Ware


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Daniel Raeburn

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A close-up look at the gifted graphic novelist the New York Times Book Review called "the most versatile and innovative artist the medium has ever known."

As one of today’s most renowned cartoonists, Chris Ware is widely considered an artist of genius. Combining innovative comic book art, hand lettering, and graphic design, Ware’s uniquely appealing work is characterized by ceaseless experimentation with narrative and graphic forms. The publication of his novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth in2000 inspired a near avalanche of praise from critics and general readers alike. This book is the first to explore the life and work of Chris Ware.

Daniel Raeburn looks closely at Ware’s career, work methods, and artistic innovations. Born in Omaha in 1967, Ware introduced the character Jimmy Corrigan in a full-page strip he began writing for the Chicago tabloid New City. Combining six years’ worth of the strips, Ware created the best-selling novel named after Jimmy that spans an Irish-American family’s life in Chicago from the Civil War to the present. For its experiments in graphic form—including pull-out, three-dimensional inserts—and its non-chronological narrative, the novel earned numerous honors, among them the Guardian First Book Award, presented for the first time to a comic book.

For this volume Raeburn interviewed Chris Ware for many hours to make fascinating connections between Jimmy Corrigan’s fictional life and the life of his creator. Raeburn discusses the scope of Ware’s career, including his drawings for New City, the New Yorker, and his own comic book, The Acme Novelty Library. AsRaeburn shows, Ware’s unique art form extends beyond the world of graphic novels into the broader worlds of literature, graphic art, and popular culture, and challenges traditional definitions of all three.

Daniel Raeburn self-publishes The Imp, an irregular series of booklets about comics. His writings have appeared in The Baffler and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. Rick Poyner is series editor of Monographics. He founded Eye, the international review of graphic design and was its editor from 1990 to 1997. His books include Typography Now: The Next Wave (1991), Typographica (2001), and No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism (Yale University Press, 2003).

Monogrphics Series Editor, Rick Poynor

"Yale University Press is giving Ware his due, as well as a nice helping of academic street cred. . . . A deep and insightful examination of the artist and his work. . . . At the end of this book, thanks to Raeburn and the evidence of our own eyes, what we’re left with is a fresh respect for Ware’s art—and his work ethic."—Miriam Wolf, CMYK Magazine

“A gorgeous monograph, crammed with reproductions of Ware’s comics, paintings, and kinetic sculptures alongside examples of his influences and even evidence of his creative swipes from sources ranging from mid-1920s Sunday funnies and ragtime sheet music to African-American beauty-product labels.”—Joshua Glenn, Boston Globe

“Raeburn eloquently captures the essence of this important artist.”—Publishers Weekly

“Raeburn’s comments—his scholarly, stage-setting introduction and the helpful insights and pointers that follow on each page—allow for a doubled appreciation of the panels and covers and various mechanical apparati displayed. . . . With other artists, such critical assistance might be little more than lagniappe; with the intricacy and density of Ware’s work, it’s a provision of tools with which to better devour the sequential feast.”—Wayne Alan Brenner, Austin Chronicle

“This book is a must-have for fans of Chris Ware or anyone interested in contemporary graphic art. If you are not already a fan of Chris Ware, I’d be surprised if Daniel Raeburn’s book did not make you one.”—Patrick Markfort, Comic Book Galaxy

“An elegant essay. . . . Raeburn’s comments situate Ware’s work in a larger, multidisciplinary context; more importantly, Raeburn culls details from numerous interviews with Ware, helping us see into the artist’s creative process.”—Holly Willis, res magazine

“A worthwhile introduction to an important career. Recommended.”—Choice

ISBN: 9780300102918
Publication Date: October 11, 2004
112 pages, 7 1/2 x 9
100 color illus.