Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth
'Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth'.

Chris Ware is an innovative American comic book artist, best known for his 'Jimmy Corrigan' series and his 'Acme Novelty Library'. Franklin Christenson Ware was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and published his first strips (including 'Floyd Farland: Citizen of the Future' and 'Quimby the Mouse') in the comics section of The Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the University of Texas, in the late 1980s. He self-published comic books like 'Lonely Comics and Stories' and digests of his 'Quimby the Mouse' stories. Ware's work was eventually noted by Art Spiegelman, who invited him to contribute to his  Raw anthologies. Ware additionally published in the Chicago daily Newcity, as well as the Chicago Reader.

Quimby the Mouse, Chris Ware newspaper comic
'Quimby the Mouse', Chris Ware's newspaper comic.

Ware's collaboration with Fantagraphics Books led to his innovative series 'Acme Novelty Library', which featured reprints of Ware's older stuff for the Texan and Newcity and new work from the Chicago Reader. Older characters like 'Quimby the Mouse' reappeared, and new ones were introduced, such as 'Rusty Brown'. The artist's critically acclaimed graphic novel 'Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth' was also first serialized in this collection, before being published in a book by Fantagraphics in 2000.

Chris Ware poster for the 1996 Holland Animation Film Festival
Chris Ware poster for the 1996 Holland Animation Film Festival.

Ware's series 'Building Stories' has appeared in magazines like Nest Magazine, The New Yorker, Kramer's Ergot and the Sunday New York Times Magazine. Ware has also been involved in the Drawn & Quarterly and Fantagraphics reprints of classic series like 'Walt and Skeezix' ('Gasoline Alley') and 'Krazy Kat'.

Detail of comic book Chris Ware created for/about Lambiek
Detail of the give/away comic book Chris Ware created for/about Lambiek.

Ware draws his inspiration from HergéJoost Swarte, Mark SmeetsGuido Crepax  and other European "clear line" artists as well as the classical American newspaper comics by Winsor McCayGeorge Herriman, Charles M. Schulz and Frank King. But Ware also has a lot of his own ideas. He is particularily famous for his 'Miniature Workings', do-it-yourself kits integrated in his comics, like his 'The Acme Novelty Library', in which the reader has to assemble a bookshelf and the books to put in it. Many fans are now addicted to these stylish kits, which he self-publishes in cooperation with Fantagraphics since the 16th issue. Chris Ware is a master of composition and color and held to be one of the bright hopes of the American comic.

Ad for the Acme Library's spring box
Ad for the Acme Library's spring box.

Chris Ware and his work have won countless awards over the years. His 'Acme Novelty Library' has won 1999 National Cartoonists Society's Award for Best Comic Book and the 1996 and 2000 Eisner Awards for Best Continuing Series, as well as the 2000 Eisner for Best New Graphic Album. His work has also been exhibited on numerous occasions, among others in our own Gallery Lambiek in 1996. Ware is also noted for his lettering, which earned him four Harvey Awards. Besides comics, he has also designed posters for ragtime artists (he also contributes to the Ragtime Ephemeralist) and made a mural for the San Francisco literacy project 826 Valencia.

In the United States, Chris Ware has been cited as an influence by Aaron AugenblickSophie CrumbMatt Groening and Sammy Harkham.  Veteran cartoonist Jules Feiffer also expressed admiration for Ware. In Europe, he has followers in Austria (Ulli Lust), Azerbaijan (Roman Muradov), Belgium (Serge Buyse, Pieter De PoortereBen GijsemansJeroen Janssen), France (Riad Sattouf), The Netherlands (Guido van DrielMaaike HartjesErik Kriek, Herman Roozen), Switzerland (Cosey) and The United Kingdom (Tom Gauld). In Brazil, Wagner Willian named Ware as an inspiration. 

Frank King tribute by Chris Ware
Frank King tribute by Chris Ware.

Series and books by Chris Ware you can order today:


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