The Acme Novelty Archive - An Unofficial Chris Ware Database

The Onion A.V. Club Interview

The Onion A.V. Club Interview


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By Keith Phipps.

May 2nd, 2001

"As both a weekly strip and a periodical, Chris Ware's ACME Novelty Library presents a world devoid of excessive optimism (to put it mildly) by combining iconic drawings, dizzyingly intricate layouts, and a pastiche of past styles carried off with the skill of a master forger. Ware first drew attention with a strip he created while attending college at the University Of Texas in Austin, Floyd Farland, which was nationally distributed in comic-book form during the black-and-white comics boom of the mid- and late '80s. Ware resurfaced again in the early '90s as a contributor to Art Spiegelman's influential comics anthology Raw, at around the same time he moved to Chicago to attend graduate school at the Chicago Art Institute. ACME Novelty Library was launched in 1993, and with it a cast of hapless characters including Quimby The Mouse and Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth, whose glorified moniker does little to mask his status as a worst-case-scenario everyman. The issues also featured detailed, retro-styled paper models and advertisements for items such as irony. ("Strange way of seeing the world which is completely alien to animals, insects, and all other forms of life.") Last year, Ware released Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth, a novel-length Corrigan story that helped cast his talent in new light. Gathered together, the multigenerational saga--inspired in part by Ware's own relationship with the father he first met in his late 20s--revealed a writer adept at handling grand themes of history, family, and thwarted hopes. Since then, Ware has moved on to, among other endeavors, the story of collector Rusty Brown. Via e-mail, his preferred interview method, Ware recently spoke to The Onion A.V. Club."

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