Printers Row Live! Gets Illustrated With Chris Ware

By Maggie Hellwig in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 28, 2012 6:00PM

As part of the Printers Row Live! Series, Chris Ware will talk with the Chicago Tribune's Mark Caro this Saturday about Ware's latest graphic novel: Building Stories. To be frank, a "novel" is not exactly what we would venture to call Building Stories; try out the phrases, "pieces of art," or, "readable installations," and then you might have a more apt mental image of the work.

The book comes in the form of a box filled with 14 different stories: some in the shape of books, others in the form of a pamphlet, magazine, or newspaper. There is even one installment of Building Stories that unfolds like a board game. Ware's graphic pieces tell the intertwining the tales of coexisting apartment tenants. Parts of the graphic novel, some of which have been previously published over the years, are on display at the Carl Hammer Gallery until the end of October. The panels speak to the progression of the novel's concept, but the finished product is something to behold.

Tribune's Christopher Borrelli spent time with the cartoonist in his Oak Park home very recently. Borrelli's insightful article informs us that although the reader might be a tad intimidated by the look of Building Stories, the bare bones of Ware's Peanuts-esque melancholy and self-consciousness are still very present. The same concept of the "empathetic doodle" that fans saw in Jimmy Corrigan, Quimby the Mouse, or Acme Novelty Library remains, and yet the craft has evolved into something more unique than the reticent artist would ever care to admit. This is a graphic novel that will penetrate the overriding fa├žade of confidence that adults dress up in daily, reminding them of their frail insides and isolated thoughts.

The tickets won't be on sale for much longer, and they are only $15, so we suggest that you get a move-on. Hearing the Chris Ware's words on Building Stories might be one of the most insightful and interesting things that you will do this weekend.

Saturday, September 29, 3 p.m., Tribune Tower: 435 N. Michigan Ave., tickets: $15 for purchase here.