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Chris Ware (Monographics Series) Paperback – October 11, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
What is there is quite good, but it is also very short. Only the first 30 or so pages have text that discusses Ware. The rest of the book features images of Ware's work; the great majority of it has already been published in his semi-regular comic, and is familiar to anyone who buys that regularly.
Many of the images try to fit a full huge Ware piece of art, often 11 x 17 inches or so onto the size of this book's page, much smaller, so you can't even read the words or make out the details. Also, the book uses huge white margins, so the images could have easily been made larger and more legible.
There are some unusual images of Ware's work, including a remarkable wedding invitation he designed for friends of his. But again, it's rather small, and details are lost.
Ware's own hardcover datebook does a better job at looking behind the scenes of Ware's published work.
This is by no means a bad book, and it has worth, but I wish it had been longer and designed with a little more care.
The bad is the first part with the opening text. It's the worst kind of academic mastrubation: inefficient, unengaging and sidelines the subject in order to display the author's authority. Instead of Ware, the author focuses on comics' historical relationship to fine art. In many places, it succumbs to the "so good it's not really comics" cliche in tone, if not explicitly. The effort to contextualize Ware within arts history by dismissing mid-20th century comics and cartoons is offensive. It makes me suspect the author is shamed by his interest in comics, and desperate to highbrow validate because of it. I agree with an earlier reviewer that highbrow vs lowbrow is no longer a relevant debate, not in the way it's being used here.
Ware's work is brilliant, something truly special, worthy of examination. It deserves a good book. This isn't it. I was lucky and checked this out from the library, which I recommend. Skip all writing. Or skip the book entirely and save your money for the Building Stories collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had hoped this book would have more about Chris Ware, but most of it is the author's boring observations about comic art and his theories about what Ware is drawing. Read morePublished on June 2, 2008 by A Reader