Chris Ware

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Chris Ware at the Angoulême Comic Festival 2009

Franklin Christenson Ware (born December 28, 1967 in Omaha , Nebraska ) is an American comic artist .

Best known are his comic book series Acme Novelty Library and the comic book story Jimmy Corrigan - The Smartest Boy in the World . He was born in Omaha, Nebraska and lives today (2006) in Oak Park , Illinois .

Drawing style and influences

Ware cites the art of drawing, realism and the masterful use of the perspective of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo as stylistic influences ; the way in which Frank O. King operates in Gasoline Alley as a chronicler of American everyday life; George Herriman's Krazy Kat and Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster .

Ware follows Hergés ligne claire with its clear lines . The fact that he (like Hergé) provides his characters with a clear black border and carefully composes the colors of his pictures makes (according to Ware) his comics similar to memory, with the help of which you categorize things and “find out how everything fits together.” The pictures This also gives them a slightly undercooled and aloof quality, which goods claim to regret but cannot completely change.

Before reaching the style of Jimmy Corrigan , Ware experimented with different drawing styles, ranging from traditional comic panels to advertisements and cut-out toys . His precise, geometric drawings are reminiscent of pictures drawn on a computer , but actually Ware mostly works with pencil , ruler and eraser and only colored the pictures on the computer; He also uses photocopies and transparencies as an aid .

Professional background

Ware's earliest comic strips appeared in the late 1980s on the comics page of The Daily Texan , the University of Texas at Austin student newspaper . In addition to numerous daily strips that Ware published under various titles, he also had a weekly satirical science fiction series in that newspaper called Floyd Farland: Citizen of the Future . This series was published in 1988 in a collector's edition by Eclipse Publishing . During his sophomore year at Austin University, Ware caught the eye of cartoonist, publisher and designer Art Spiegelman , who invited him to publish comics in his influential RAW magazine . This led to further notoriety and recognition, and ultimately to Ware's association with Fantagraphics Books . His Acme Novelty Library series at Fantagraphics defied publishing conventions with each issue . The series contained a combination of new material with reprints of work that Ware had done for the Texan (e.g. Quimby the Mouse ) and the Chicago weekly New City . He'd later moved his strips to the Chicago Reader . Since the 16th edition of his Acme Novelty Library , Ware has been self-publishing his works , maintaining a collaboration with Fantagraphics for warehousing and distribution .

In recent years, Ware has also worked on the editing and design of various books and book series, e.g. B. with the reissue of Gasoline Alley by Drawn and Quarterly ; Walt and Skeezix ; the reprint of Krazy Kat by Fantagraphics ; and the thirteenth edition of Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern , dedicated to comics. In addition, Ware has drawn a total of 25 cover images (as of April 2019) for the renowned magazine The New Yorker since 1999 .

Recurring characters and stories

Quimby the Mouse

Quimby the Mouse is one of Ware's early characters, a comic book character in the style of cartoon characters like Felix the Cat . The lively Quimby has an alternately problematic and affectionate relationship with an immovable cat's head named Sparky , who is helplessly at the mercy of whatever the mouse does to him. In other episodes, Quimby appears in the form of Siamese twins ( Quimbies the Mouse ) and as an outsider to a group of identical-looking mice ( Quimby the Mice ). Often Ware Quimby drew in very small panels resembling a zoetrope , and indeed Ware designed a cut-out zoetrope that the reader, following his instructions , can use to watch a Quimby silent film . At the same time, Ware developed his characteristic diagram style in Quimby Comics, in which the magazine page does not represent a linear sequence of panels , but is made up of numerous, multi-layered, interrelated picture elements.

Rusty Brown

The title character of Rusty Brown is a boy from Nebraska who (unlike his friends) not by his obsession for action figures , lunch boxes with stickers and other elements separates his childhood.

Building stories

Wares Series Building Stories (about stories of a building ), the first as-monthly strip in Nest Magazine was published is, since then appeared in a number of other journals, including the New Yorker , Kramers Ergot and the New York Times Magazine 18 (September 2005 to April 2006). Building Stories tells the story of the residents of three apartments in a Chicago skyscraper in 24 parts: a 30-year-old woman who has not (yet) found a partner, a couple in a relationship crisis and the owner, an elderly woman.

The super man

The Super-Man is an anti-hero , the one costume similar to that of Superman wears, but by his receding hairline and his drove controlled beings dismantled is.

Beyond the comics

Goods collected Ragtime - paraphernalia and is a published annually music magazine out that The Ragtime Ephemeralist is. He plays the banjo and the piano . Ware has created posters and album covers for various musicians . He has also designed animated cartoons and book covers .

Prizes and awards

Chris Ware has won several Eisner Awards and Harvey Awards , including a. as best letterer , colorist ; the Acme Novelty Library was multiple best series.

Ware's comic book Jimmy Corrigan - The World's Smartest Boy received the 2001 Guardian First Book Award ; this was the first time a comic book story won one of the major book awards in Great Britain . In 2003, Ware won the Prix ​​du meilleur album with Jimmy Corrigan at the Angoulême International Comics Festival . At the same festival in 1998 he won the Prix ​​de l'École supérieure de l'image .

Ware is the first comic book artist to be invited to the Whitney Biennale in New York (2002). In May 2006 he had an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Along with Will Eisner , Jack Kirby , Harvey Kurtzman , Robert Crumb and Gary Panter was a commodity of comic artists from 16 September 2006 to 28 January 2007 in the exhibition Masters of American Comics in Jewish Museum in New York City honored were.


  1. Chip Kidd: Please Don't Hate Him. Randome House, archived from the original on February 15, 2008 ; accessed on March 2, 2014 (English).
  2. Chris Ware in an interview with Rebecca Bengal for POV
  3. ^ Contributors: Chris Ware., accessed February 4, 2018 .
  4. Cf. Ware in its introduction in the Independent on Sunday  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  

Sources and web links