Chris Ware art show in Chicago and NYC


Peggy Burns of Drawn & Quarterly wrote about two concurrent art shows taking place in Chicago and New York in conjunction with the release of Chris Ware's graphic novel, Building Stories. I've been a great admirer of Ware's for many years (so has David -- he wrote about him for The Happy Mutant Handbook), and I'm looking forward to this title.

The exhibits are mirror images of each other, splitting the 126 pages of original artwork in half between them. Each will be complete with a 3-D built version of our Building Stories S&N portfolio, which will also be on sale at each gallery along with a double-sided poster of the above. I have to say that I am in complete awe of how Chris' mind works and almost fell off my chair while looking at Adam & Carl's websites for the exhibit information. And not just awe, but feeling completely fortunate to work with him, and very very lucky that I get to see the NYC show. These times, people, these times are AMAZING!
About Building Stories:
NewImageBuilding Stories imagines the inhabitants of a three-story Chicago apartment building: a 30-something woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple, possibly married, who wonder if they can bear each other's company another minute; and the building's landlady, an elderly woman who has lived alone for decades. Taking advantage of the absolute latest advances in wood pulp technology, Building Stories is a book with no deliberate beginning nor end, the scope, ambition, artistry and emotional prevarication beyond anything yet seen from this artist or in this medium, probably for good reason.

Building Stories, by Chris Ware


  1. Many years ago, before I moved to Oregon, I went to a comic-art exhibit at a museum in San Francisco.

    In a stairwell (as I recall) was a huge blow-up of a panel from Building Stories. It was the first I’d heard of the setting.

    It showed the life of the elderly landlady, from carefree child drawing the displeasure of the then-landlady to a suspicious crone snarling at the antics of her own young residents.

  2. What books should I get if I want to read Acme Novelty Library? Is it even possible to start from the beginning at this point?

    1. No need to read from the beginning. You can pick and choose.

       Some of the stories have been collected (e.g., Jimmy Corrigan). Other bits, I’m not sure if they’re worth persuing (the strips about the cat and the mouse head are dreary and weird, to my taste).

      I picked out two volumes you might look for, just to sample Ware’s insane genius.

      The Acme Novelty Library Great Big Book of Jokes, Issue VII (1996) is a wild mix of strips, including Big Tex, Rocket Sam, God, and some Jimmy Corrigan extras.

      Issue 16 has Rocket Sam, Quimby Mouse, Tales of Tomorrow, a Jimmy Corrigan Xmas special, and a number of Rusty Brown strips that essentially cover the poor sap’s life.

      You’ll need a good magnifying glass. Seriously. Even though the books in question are HUGE. Like restaurant menus.

      1. Some of the cat and mouse head strips (plus the potato man; collected in Acme #3) used to run in ‘The Daily Texan’ when Ware was at UT.  At the time, his strips were are large part of why I got up in the morning (it certainly wasn’t for the farty, crunchy eggs that the cafeteria dished out). However, I’ve heard that he doesn’t like his early material, himself.

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