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Chris Ware's greatest fans are philistines.

Chris Ware's comics are playful, well honed, much honoured, and have been highly influential over the last decade.  However, their appeal eludes me.  His drawings, design, and layouts are cold.  So, too, his bone dry humour.  Frankly, I find his work boring, in form and function.   Intellectually and as entertainment, it offers me nothing.

I feel (somewhat) similarly disconnected to the music of Charles Mingus. Still, when people tell me Charlie is a genius, a fantastic band leader, and quite possibly the greatest jazz bassist ever, said persons almost always know more about jazz than I do.  I believe, in this case case I may be missing something others key into.  I believe it because it is an oft held view among people who understand the medium and its history better than I do.

I don't think that's what's going on when someone tells me Chris Ware is a genius.  More often, it's like people who hardly know anything about art praising 'the Mona Lisa' (of which there are something like 14 largely comparable versions, mostly by Leonardo's students) simply because others have done so.  I call BS.  I don't doubt there are people who have exposed themselves to his material for better reasons than copying others, following indy trends, or the like; I don't doubt some of them have enjoyed his fare; but I do doubt anyone who calls the man or his work 'genius' knows what they are talking about.  That is, unless they're using irony, or selling something.

I do like the flowers he's drawn, though.


  1. The panels are so tiny and cluttered looking....


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