Author Topic: Chris Ware  (Read 15732 times)

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2019, 01:47:32 PM »
‘I envy writers who suffer from no self‑doubts’: inside the world of graphic novelist Chris Ware

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/28/i-envy-writers-who-suffer-from-no-self-doubts-inside-the-world-of-graphic-novelist-chris-ware

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2019, 04:52:22 PM »
Just got back from reading it in Waterstones... little disappointed if I'm honest, but that's probably due to having already read 3/4ths of its content in Acme Novelty Library #16, #17, #19 and #20.

Indeed, I still think #19 (on Rusty Brown's father) and #20 (on Jordan Lint) are the high watermark of Ware's work to date in terms of bracing formal experimentation used to explore middle American social malaise and what we'd probably now call toxic masculinity. It seems striking how easily Lint could be now read as a portrait of (an under-achieving) Brett Kavanaugh and a typification of masculinity under Trump (and I imagine a lot of reviews will be drawing that comparison) even while that section of Rusty Brown was originally penned and released during Bush Jr's administration.

(I did appreciate however that Ware included a few more pages towards the end of Lint's life, which he presumably hadn't finished off by #20's release back in 2010. I've often thought in my many times of reading that volume that Lint aged rather abruptly towards the end, considering each page is meant to represent a year in his life - the fact that a good half-a-decade was missing makes a lot of sense.)

While Ware is very much a modernist (and is open about his love of Joyce and Proust) and so tries to communicate the universal yet highly-specific vagaries of human experience through time... there are aspects of his work which now seem very wedded to the '90s indie comics scene and, as a consequence, dated. Ware's meticulous approach to his craft probably makes this inevitable, but I found it hard to ignore from a reader's perspective. One obvious example would be including a self-insertion character who's a self-pitying creep obsessed with teenage girls. Daniel Clowes pulled that queasy gag way back in Ghost World in 1997! It wouldn't have been out-of-place in a comic by Chester Brown or Joe Matt in that period either. Ultimately I think Ware is better at writing women than any of those other artists, but the section on Joanne Cole felt by far the most thinly-sketched to me. Ware (like Clowes, Brown, Matt, Seth, Crumb etc.) is a big fan of old blues and way too much of Cole's section was taken up with an exploration of the problematics of being a white fan of a traditionally black music genre. Likewise, while Cole's reminiscences about experiencing segregation and discriminating felt earnest and convincing... they bordered upon the schematic, I think (though that's always a risk with Ware's stuff!)

Anyway, I'll post more with spoilers when people have had the chance to read it!

Ultimately I'd still strongly recommend it for the middle 2/4ths alone!

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2019, 06:19:44 PM »
How's Rusty Brown compare to Building Stories? Building Stories was technically quite impressive and all but it felt like it had very little to say and lacked the pretty great aspect running through Jimmy Corrigan of getting to see his whole skillset and voice develop as the pieces went on.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2019, 07:23:09 PM »
I don't think it's as pretty or as touching as Building Stories was in parts, but it's more coherent, generally less sentimental and a bit more socially and politically engaged, I reckon. Overall I'd say it's stronger, though I still miss the mordant (sometimes puerile!) humour of Ware's early work... which was generally slightly less airless/ claustrophobic too. Still, I'm unfairly damning with fair praise. If you haven't read the stuff on Rusty Brown's sci-fi author father or the mini opus of Jordan Lint before, you have some jaw-dropping work to look forward to within imho!

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #34 on: October 01, 2019, 08:37:54 PM »
My copy of Rusty Brown arrived today and, as usual, it is a thing of beauty. Can't wait to finish the historical potboiler I'm reading at the moment to get started on it.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2019, 06:55:26 PM »
How much of Rusty Brown is new stuff? Or is it just the previous Acmes collected?

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2019, 07:57:41 PM »
How much of Rusty Brown is new stuff? Or is it just the previous Acmes collected?

1/4th is wholly new stuff (and there are also a few more pages added to the 'Lint' section)

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2019, 08:31:44 AM »
Started Rusty Brown this morning. I can see it is going to be beautiful and painful in equal measure.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2019, 01:27:04 PM »
Hold on though, which acme issues are featured in this new book? I thought lint was its own thing

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #39 on: October 29, 2019, 12:05:29 AM »
Hold on though, which acme issues are featured in this new book? I thought lint was its own thing

#16 and #17 in part and #19 and #20 in total, I thiiink. There are a few pretty great/vital pages added to Lint (#20). The last quarter, on Miss Cole, is wholly new.

For anyone who hasn't read those issues, it is a vital purchase - like, 'buy now or get your library to order in' vital. For those who have, it's a nice addition but not startling in terms of bringing much new to the table imho.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #40 on: October 29, 2019, 12:07:11 AM »
in part meaning?


I was gonna buy Lint before getting Rusty Brown, I guess I'll just get Rusty Brown!

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2019, 10:28:20 PM »
Jimmy Corrigan I got on ok with, it only made me mildly gloomy.

The big red Acme Novelty library book induced a big fucking depression in me so I didn't touch his work in years.

In January 2017 I saw the boxed version of Building Stories in a charity shop and thought, well I have to pick this up.

This last week picked up the nerve to start reading it. It is brilliant but he does depress the living the fuck out of me.

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2019, 10:32:23 PM »
Jimmy Corrigan I got on ok with, it only made me mildly gloomy.

The big red Acme Novelty library book induced a big fucking depression in me so I didn't touch his work in years.

In January 2017 I saw the boxed version of Building Stories in a charity shop and thought, well I have to pick this up.

This last week picked up the nerve to start reading it. It is brilliant but he does depress the living the fuck out of me.
Wait till you read Lint. Beautiful but ultra depressing.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2019, 10:37:12 PM »
At my current rate of one book every 15 years it might be a while till I get around to it.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2020, 08:34:39 PM »
Was reading the red book there last night... Christ, the amount of text in it! On the whole the tone seems pretty off too, veering way too much into just feeling mean? I guess that might be more down to how it has aged mostly.



Does anyone know if there's somewhere online that archives all the models he's put into his books?

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2020, 11:22:09 PM »
I actually rather miss Ware's younger mean streak. He's too sentimental in his old age darnit!

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2020, 08:24:23 AM »
Was reading the red book there last night... Christ, the amount of text in it! On the whole the tone seems pretty off too, veering way too much into just feeling mean? I guess that might be more down to how it has aged mostly.



Does anyone know if there's somewhere online that archives all the models he's put into his books?

This website has quite a lot of scans of things: http://www.acmenoveltyarchive.org/. Probably not good enough for printing out and making the models up though.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #47 on: January 08, 2020, 05:00:11 PM »
I actually rather miss Ware's younger mean streak. He's too sentimental in his old age darnit!
I dunno, I think it would've all fit fine in the context of the 90s but some of it is just a bit odd now.
The amount of fucking text in this thing is utterly insane though, did he type it all too or work with someone to fill out his ideas?


Have ordered Rusty Brown, kind of expecting to like it more than Building Stories, which was cool but upon reflection just seemed like someone without any major inspiration trying to force a cohesive idea for a series out. The whole was worth far less than the sum of its parts.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2020, 08:55:51 PM »
Really enjoying this one so far, the part about Rusty's dad was wonderful stuff and I'm about to start into the Lint section (the first few pages of which look fantastic).

It all seems kind of aimless (he basically admits as much?) but in a much freeing way than Building Stories (which felt like it was straining for some kind of significance). On a technical level he's really fucking going for it with some of the artwork here too, reminded me of how in Jimmy Corrigan you'd occasionally see bits and be like "whoa, he's very suddenly gotten way better at this shit, hasn't he?"
Can see these characters being ones he attaches some really great shit to in the future too, feels like laying out the groundwork for the thing he'll be chipping away at for the rest of time.

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #49 on: January 19, 2020, 06:53:48 PM »
That Lint thing is insane, so much of it felt like it was barely hanging together, just ridiculously bold. Best thing he's ever done maybe and really feels like he _should_ be looking to move to a different medium cos he's just battering at a wall at points of this thing.


One question was the memory of his mom and the aunt fake? The stepmom says it was actually with her a few pages later, right?

Re: Chris Ware
« Reply #50 on: July 05, 2020, 11:21:23 PM »
That Lint thing is insane, so much of it felt like it was barely hanging together, just ridiculously bold. Best thing he's ever done maybe and really feels like he _should_ be looking to move to a different medium cos he's just battering at a wall at points of this thing.


One question was the memory of his mom and the aunt fake? The stepmom says it was actually with her a few pages later, right?

Yes definitely - Ware was clearly interested in unreliable narrators around that point. I'm inclined to agree that 'Lint' is the best thing he's ever done, certainly in terms of ambition.

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