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December 15, 2010


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Ed Howard

It's really a shame that Ware has so little to say, because he has a tremendous arsenal of ways to say it. I'm continually blown away by his grasp of page layout and design, but too often I find myself wrestling with his complex layouts, following the circuitous paths he draws through his pages, only to find a miserable, predictable idea at the end of the line. I've actually grown to appreciate him more than I used to, and certain stories and pages of his - particularly the Building Stories and a certain series of Quimby the Mouse pages - I love without reservation, but with much of his work I'm faced with loving the art while hating the story.

That said, the last issue of Acme Novelty Library, #19 (the one before the new Lint issue, which I have but haven't read yet) is amazing. The translation of Ware's art and storytelling into a sci-fi milieu rejuvenates his work in some major ways, and the interplay between the sci-fi stories and the more expected sad-sack Ware-verse makes for some very rich emotions and insights. It's his best work, by far.

Von Schlosser

I refute your "fef"
acme 19 was probably my favorite thing CW has ever produced, although acme 20 doesn't quite reach the heights of the previous volume, it's still the work of a master at his peak. I have been seeing the latest acme getting alot of bad reviews and mostly it seems to stem from a general tiredness of chris ware rather than a critique of his work. acme 20 does have quite a bit more going on than the miserable story of a miserable man's life on a crule and miserable planet. personally I found all the stuff about the untrustworthiness of one's earliest childhood memories and the incredible and dangerous power they weild over our lives to be pretty incredible. something I've seen other memorists attempt and fall very flat. CW I feel found his voice in 1995 and has just been perfecting his craft since. I don't expect him to suddenly morph into the equally masterful but more cheery Jamie Hernandez. but I can understand the tiresomeness, he's been the darling of both the this american life world, and the design world for awhile. he's had such an impact that his work doesn't seem as fresh and wholy different as it did in the 90's. I'd be ok with him taking a semi long break from releasing new work. just as long as he doesn't pull a speigleman and get lost forever in small projects, never returing to major comics work.



It seems to me that part of the issue you're highlighting is the "Philip Glass Problem." Namely, when an artist reaches a point where everything they create can get published then eventually everything they create does get published. And things get over-saturated and the audience gets fatigued. You're right, I might like Ware better if he just took a break and then released a full length work a year from now, rather than spitting out little bits of serialized gloom all over the place.

Similarly, my beef with Tomine wouldn't be as extreme had I not read all of Optic Nerve over the course of a month.

Not every artist's work works best with that kind of binging. If I read a Tomine comic a year, I might end up liking it.

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