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#469410 - 06/26/01 10:15 AM CHRIS WARE
Dan Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/00
Posts: 138
Loc: NYC
What do you guys think of Chris Wares storytelling? I think that he's a great designer but is weak at telling a story. I've read comics for about 20 years on and off and I can't even follow some of his pages. Some of his pages even have arrows in them to guide the reader around. Whenever I see that I always think that the artist took the easy way out on a page that was difficult for them to create.

I think it's odd that a cartoonist who is weak at storytelling is getting alot of acclaim in and out of comics. I wonder how many people who buy his "JIMMY CORRIGAN" collection are actually reading it?

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#469411 - 06/26/01 10:31 AM Re: CHRIS WARE
jasonb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Brooklyn, NY USA
I had read a bunch of the Acme Novelty Library issues, and thought that while the art was spectacular, the storytelling was completely convoluted. Still, I had high hopes for the Jimmy Corrigan book, since I figured the standard format would make things a little easier to follow.

Unfortunately that's not the case. Ware is a terrific artist, and yes, he's an amazing designer. But Jimmy Corrigan is far, far, far, too long, and it's very clear that when he started it he had absolutely no idea where it was going (he admits this in the book's afterward).

I really haven't seen anything by Ware that lives up to his skills as an artist. The mouse strips in Acme Novelty Library were interesting, but hardly worth re-reading.

Ware needs an editor, and badly. He also needs to work on his overall storytelling abilities. Unfortunately, since he's almost universally praised, I wonder if he has any inclination to improve in any way.

-jason

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#469412 - 06/26/01 12:52 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
fish Offline
Member

Registered: 03/09/01
Posts: 119
Without wanting to heap glowing praise on Chris Ware, I completely disagree.

As a storyteller, Ware has made me genuinely care about a character, something I don't do a whole lot of. the emotional charge of the interactions between Jimmy and his sister (amy?) was amazing. I'm being totally serious here, Ware uses the length of the work to develop a character through subtle nuance rather than obvious narrative.

The first few times I read Acme... I felt it was a little dry. Ware's storytelling speed is definitely slow, but ultimately compelling, and holds up to re-reading.

I also disagree about him being a great designer. I think people confuse thinking about design with being good at it. His color usage is impeccable, linework is wonderful. His design work seems to me like it can't make up it's mind whether to be a static piece of art of a page of a story.

Ben

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#469413 - 06/26/01 01:01 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
jasonb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Brooklyn, NY USA
I certainly agree with you that the interaction between Jimmy and his sister worked, but did you really care about the character? I didn't see much here beyond cut and dry melancholy, and while that's certainly all fine and good, I didn't feel there was any real depth to the character. But I do see where you're coming from.

What about the enormous flashback sections? Did they ever really add up to anything? The eldest Corrigan only appeared in a handful of panels, and yet hundreds of pages were devoted to his back story.

-jason

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#469414 - 06/26/01 02:35 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
Kim Thompson Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 0
Chris Ware's stories, and his narrative sequences, make perfect sense if you're paying attention. But you do have to pay attention. You can't read a page like it's a Sunday GARFIELD. And if a page confuses you, go back and read it again. No one says it has to be limpid the first time through.

If you don't understand the importance of the flashbacks to JIMMY CORRIGAN you've missed the point of the story, which (although I hate to put it so baldly) is that neglect, dysfunction, and alienation are cycles with deep roots in the past, both personal and historical. The cautious flickers of optimism set against this epic background of hopelessness are what makes the book not a downer (for a real downer, see the upcoming HEY, WAIT... by Jason) but, in its own weird way, something of a paean to hope. At least that's the way I see it.

And it's easy to read too much into Chris's demurrals and self-flagellations. I'm pretty sure he had JIMMY CORRIGAN mapped out more or less from the beginning -- he just didn't realize to what degree a slow pace would impose itself. (This I know because it was initially planned at half its length.) The symbolic imagery and characters are all in placed, or set up, from the first chapters.

I'm confident that JIMMY CORRIGAN has taken its place in the comics pantheon as one of the five best American graphic novels ever created, and I think its embrace by such luminaries as Dave Eggers and Art Spiegelman (to say nothing of its unparalleled domination of comics industry awards over the years during its ACME serialization) more or less prove that.

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#469415 - 06/26/01 03:40 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
wocky Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/01
Posts: 1
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
I recently bought the Jimmy Corrigan collection, and though I did it mostly for the art (I find Ware's use of color to be breathtaking) I immensely enjoyed the story... and found it very much in the vein of two other favorites of mine: Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve) and Dan Clowes (Ghost World, Eightball).

Not only I was completely entraped by the story, I loved his storytelling... specially in some pages where he disects a story, and lays it out like a puzzle, for the reader to solve (timelines, panels and iconic graphic elements are connected by arrows). His 'stream of conciousness' (sorry for my misspelling) type of narrative was right on the spot, as was the way he connected the story of Jimmy with that of his grandfather (though at first I got somewhat bored by the flashbacks, I got to a point where I didn't want the 'World Fair' sequence to end).

Conclusion: I loved Jimmy Corrigan. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, as the narration is very much non-standard, yet I found it similar to other comics, movies and books. Just wanted to let you know someone else DID enjoy the story a lot.

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#469416 - 06/26/01 03:43 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
Dan Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/00
Posts: 138
Loc: NYC
Do you also think that Chris Ware intended to put arrows on certain pages to point the reader in the right direction from panel to panel?

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#469417 - 06/26/01 03:52 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
JohnEWIlliams Offline
Member

Registered: 08/04/99
Posts: 1337
Loc: Virginia, USA
I managed to read JIMMY CORRIGAN in one sitting recently, and found that doing so deepened my involvement with and increased my understanding of the story. Not once do I get the feeling Ware is dicking around or wandering aimlessly; to the contrary, I think he knows precisely what he's doing and sometimes it takes a little catching up on the part of the reader. It's the the kind of art you walk around thinking about for days, which I love. Plus, it's just so goddamn pretty to look at.

I recommend to anyone who said "I don't get it" when finishing JIMMY CORRIGAN to give it another shot. You don't know what you're missing.

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#469418 - 06/26/01 03:54 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
Dan Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/00
Posts: 138
Loc: NYC
I guess the above post kind of answers my question(the post wasn't there when I was typing my question). But I still feel like arrows are a storytelling copout.

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#469419 - 06/26/01 04:20 PM Re: CHRIS WARE
jasonb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Brooklyn, NY USA
Quote:
Chris Ware's stories, and his narrative sequences, make perfect sense if you're paying attention. But you do have to pay attention. You can't read a page like it's a Sunday GARFIELD. And if a page confuses you, go back and read it again. No one says it has to be limpid the first time through


Well nobody's saying this has to be a flat six panel grid, but a true master of the medium knows how to steer a reader without resorting to diagrams, even well-designed ones as Ware does.

Will Eisner has done extremely complicated panel arrangements (or lack thereof, since he doesn't ne

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