REVIEW :: BUILDING STORIES

September 28, 2012 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Reviews

We all have certain creators whose work we habitually return to that remind us why we love comics so much.  For me, Mike Mignola, Dave Stevens, Eddie Campbell and Jacques Tardi all fall into that category.  There is another name I need to add to that list – Chris Ware.  This one might surprise some of you, if for no other reason than the notoriously tedious nature of his storytelling.  It’s no secret that Ware’s books require some dedication from readers.  Still, it’s hard to deny the level of skill that Ware employs in his cartooning, and the equally astronomical level of respect he has for the craft and history of comics.  One of my personal highlights of attending last week’s Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland was not only meet Ware and buy an advanced copy of his latest book, Building Stories, but to also attend a panel where he discussed his latest magnum opus at length.  Here are some initial thoughts following my first reading of Building Stories.

Walking through the halls of SPX with my new copy of Building Stories in tow, I felt not unlike I do whenever my wife wants to go to Ikea.  I usually end up carrying a box the size of a small table of something or other under my arm, and I know it’ll take some time to construct the piece, but it’ll end up being some form of functional furniture.  It’s really not until you crack Building Stories open that you really start to grasp the breadth of this project.  It’s a box full of various sized comics in numerous forms.  There are a few small folded strips, a larger hardcover (which reprints the original Building Stories found in Acme Novelty Library #18, a full newspaper full of comics, a folded game board complete with full diagrams of the building of the title, several large folded comics, and something that looks like a Golden Book that tells the building’s story in the building’s voice.  It’s even worth pointing out the beautiful design work on the box front and back.   I’m sure I left some items out, but needless to say it’s a lot of comics.  When we unpacked the box Sunday night, it took up the entirety of our king size bed.

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