A collection of interwoven graphic stories meant to be shuffled and read in random order, Ware's Building Stories has gotten a lot of attention in 2013 as comic writing continues to sidle awkwardly past puberty like a wimpy kid hoping to get past a group of dicks with their hats backwards before they notice him and take his lunch money. Metaphors, bitch!
It's reasonably effective. The lead story here, about a young woman who's convinced her life is awful and then later is convinced it's awful in a different way, is nicely done. Made me want to go kiss my girlfriend, which to be fair so does reading other books and so does not reading books, but still.
Chris Ware - you know what makes me feel hesitant is saying "Ware writes women well," because what do I know? You tell me, lady. But I feel like Ware writes women well. I bet chicks would dig this book!, says a dude enthusiastically.
He's a tremendous observer;
the book's full of tiny observations like a dead bird you see out of the corner of your eye that just bums you right out all of a sudden. And he uses art well to convey that stuff. His layouts are clever.
I guess my one hesitation - no wait, I have two hesitations. The first is that it's teetering on maudlin a few times. Lonely old ladies, y'know? Dead cats.
The second is that I understood, from what I've heard* and also from the title, which is plural, that this would be interwoven stories. And there's really only one story, and then some vignettes. I was actually really interested in that asshole who married that other asshole and then they didn't like each other. I kinda thought there'd be some more of them. And on the other hand the story about the bee was cute, but if you're gonna go that far for that morbid punchline, I think there should be more of everything else too.* among other places, I heard that in the first sentence of this very review, where I specifically wrote "interwoven" - see? It's right there!
I liked this. I might even bump it to five stars, because the storytelling is really very inventive indeed; Ware's achieved what he set out to here. It's fun to read, it's engaging. There's real feeling and insight here. I wish there was more, and that can't be a bad thing.**** yes it can
Update: Chris convinced me (under his review
) that this actually is
the right amount of story, so I'm bumping this to five stars. It's a really good book. Thanks Chris!