The First Amendment Project is organizing an auction where you can pay to see your name in print in forthcoming books by prominent authors including Chris Ware.
Here’s your chance to be immortalized in literary history! Bid on a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a character in an upcoming comic strip by Chris Ware. In his own words, here is what he is offering:
"The appearance in name and approximate drawn likeness, either as a 'supporting character' or more forthright personna, of the auction's 'winner' in an upcoming comic strip by the author/cartoonist, to appear sometime before the end of 2008 in serial (probably newspaper) form, and later to be reprinted in collected form at an unspecified, and probably quite alarmingly later, date."
"I'll be happy to send a signed copy of the strip in which the person appears (which will likely be in the local weekly newspaper) but only on the proviso that the person in question doesn't get mad or otherwise grow to despise me if their likeness is construed as satirical, incorrect, unflattering or in any way unliterary. I'll do my best, however, to maintain veracity and allegiance to the general rules of propriety (unless, of course, the winner offends me, in which case he/she may appear as any variety of disagreeable and distasteful ruffian.) The winner should also realize that if his or her character ends up contributing significantly to the development of said story that the author/cartoonist cannot be held liable for any confusion, affront or life complication said appearance might subsequently engender."
Update: The winner was Brian K. Vaughan, and he appeared in the Acme Novelty Library #18 (as 'Mr. Vaughan'). Here is his write-up on the experience:
"Chris Ware is my favorite living cartoonist, so I was beyond thrilled to make a "guest appearance" playing myself (?) in ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY 18, which also happens to be one of the best comics of the last several years (in spite of my ugly mug showing up, not because of it)."
"How the hell did I make this happen? Not by using my awkward charm to befriend the otherworldly talented Mr. Ware, nor by impressing him with my vastly inferior writing. No, I did it the old-fashioned way... by shelling out large sums of cash."
"A few months ago, I read about an online auction to support the extremely worthy FIRST AMENDMENT PROJECT, where various authors and cartoonists had donated the opportunity for winners' names to appear in the creators' various works of fiction. And while I hope the comic books I'm fortunate enough to be a part of will be read and enjoyed for a few more years, Chris Ware's, er, wares will absolutely be studied by our grandchildren's grandchildren hundreds of years from now. So in a shameless stab at unearned immortality, I bid on the chance to have my likeness show up in a Chris Ware comic, and was equal parts ecstatic and mortified to win."
"Mortified because I didn't want Mr. Ware to waste any of his talent having to sully one of his masterpieces with my pathetic, attention-starved self, but he couldn't have been more kind and generous about the crap assignment I selfishly stuck him with. It's a testament to Chris' considerable skills that when I pop up, it doesn't feel like he had to shoehorn in an annoying contest winner. I didn't even notice myself the first time I read my copy, not because I wasn't paying psychotically close attention to every panel (I always do), but because I was so engrossed in the story, I honestly didn't realize that the bald, Chuck Taylor-clad, clearly-me "Mr. Vaughan" might be anything other that one of the many fully realized characters that belong in the Acme universe."
"Thankfully, it's a small moment, but an unbelievably huge honor for this fanboy. I won't tell you how and when I show up--not that you should be purchasing this modern classic to play Where's Waldo? with my slaphead--but I will say that, even though I've never had the pleasure of meeting the author, the line of dialogue he gave me perfectly captures the way I haplessly fumble to articulate my feelings about true art, which is exactly how I feel whenever I try to describe my love for Acme Novelty Library."
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