Building Stories is a sprawling, obtuse, non-linear mess of a book, if it can even be called a book or any sort of unified narrative. It centers mostlBuilding Stories is a sprawling, obtuse, non-linear mess of a book, if it can even be called a book or any sort of unified narrative. It centers mostly around the life of a perfectly average woman who, like most of Ware's characters, spends most of her life being miserable. If you haven't heard of it or seen it, it's a set of 14 "distinctively discrete books, booklets, magazines, newspapers and pamphlets" that hails from the author of Jimmy Corrigan (probably the best comic book I've ever read), who happens to be on the forefront of an emerging genre of literary graphic novels. It's pretty big and ambitious and attempts to encompass the lives of people trying to live in a sometimes very miserable world. It's very depressing at times, which is in keeping with Ware's earlier works, but it seems to me it also has a more fully developed emotional maturity than anything he's written (drawn?) before. We see the characters in every aspect of their lives, the good and the bad is all in here. It's an understated and all-encompassing look at the human spirit and representative of just how powerful comics can be.
This is not to say that this is without flaws. It's expensive and bulky and some of the pieces are physically hard to read (the newspaper for example). I think that certain pieces (Branford the Bee bits) don't entirely fit with the tone of the rest of the work and seem like they were just included to bulk up the rest of the set. This wont really fit on your bookshelf and I feel Ware asks a lot of the reader. It's not unusual to see 30 very small meticulously detailed panels on a single pages, and it does take a bit to learn how to read Ware's comics. Its certainly something worth learning how to do, it just doesn't do his potential readership any favors, and it's a shame that this book will probably remain far too obscure and unwieldy to ever gain a wide readership (how would you even put something like this into circulation in a library?). It certainly deserves it.
If some day in the future Ware is remembered as one of the great graphic artists this will probably be considered his magnum opus. It's life-affirming and medium-affirming (this is also a big fuck-you from Ware to the people who say print is dead) and it's also very moving. If I had to decide I would probably say I prefer Jimmy Corrigan, but this is undoubtedly a better, more mature work. You should probably read it. ...more
I read this as a celebration of sorts for Guy Fawkes Day.
Alan Moore is an excellent writer (though I've only read this and Watchmen). V for Vendetta iI read this as a celebration of sorts for Guy Fawkes Day.
Alan Moore is an excellent writer (though I've only read this and Watchmen). V for Vendetta is intelligent and consistently well written, probably more so than most books I've read. There are some really powerful scenes here. David Lloyd's art is also remarkably well done and expressive.