I get to meet another one of my heroes! (Chris Ware, author of Jimmy Corrigan)


Please excuse me– iTouch photos aren’t the best.

This is turning out to be the best year.

I mean, this spring, I actually met another one of my cartoonist heroes, Art Spiegelman. And I actually talked to him about how much I loved Chris Ware, another cartoonist. To prove this, let me cut-and-paste a bit out of that blog post (written way back in March) to here:

I’ve loved Chris Ware’s stuff for years now. In fact, one of the very first blog posts I’ve ever written was actually about his work. His comics are extraordinary. Lonely. Beautiful. Tormenting. When I first read one of his graphic novels, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, it haunted me for weeks.

How, then, did I get to meet this amazing cartoonist? I credit this one to my roommate.

I had to go. I HAD TO GO. THERE WAS NO NOT GOING TO THIS EVENT. So, last Saturday, I biked recklessly to the venue, an old church in Copley Square.

There was a long line, and the church filled up fast. Graphic novels are trendy, after all! There were four authors presenting this panel: Gabrielle Bell, Chip Kidd, Charles Burns, and, of course, Chris Ware. They all talked about their inspirations, most recent publications, and experiences in the world of “serious” comics. (Well, except for Gabrielle Bell, who instead read us two short stories she illustrated herself.)

Her story went a little like this.

Chris Ware went last. By the time we got around to him, he didn’t have much time to speak about much. However, he did give us a good 15 minutes of powerpoint slides and witticisms

I ended up purchasing his monstrously large new book, Building Storiesto get it signed. Let’s just say: I have never dropped that much money on comics, ever. But it was so worth it

Because I got his autograph. And a photo. And I got to talk to him!

If you did read my post about Art Spiegelman, you can see that I get starstruck pretty easily. It’s just a symptom of meeting the people I admire more than anyone else in the world. As a result, I got a little bit, uh, nervous. So I had a nervously awesome conversation:

Am I a cartoonist? I wasn’t sure how to answer that. I mean, I draw cartoons. I blog comics. But I’ve never really thought of myself as a cartoonist. Cartoonists are the ones who go publish books and cool webcomics and make money and go to art school and are famous. I am a biology student who is a nobody and is struggling in her basic drawing class.

I should just do it, huh? But, isn’t that easy for Chris Ware to say, successful cartoonist as he is? And I’m not a particularly talented person, bursting with creativity and ideas every minute.

And that’s how I met the amazingly brilliant and humble Chris Ware.

7 thoughts on “I get to meet another one of my heroes! (Chris Ware, author of Jimmy Corrigan)

  1. Due to fact that I have very recently gotten into comics, I know no one. While I had read Maus and Maus II, so I know Spiegelman, but not Ware. However, seeing how great everything you have suggested is so far, I now have Jimmy Corrigan being sent to my library. Of course, I’ll have to read other things by him as well.
    Okay, I was just thinking of something to say when I saw something weird in one of your pictures.

    Alright, let’s try that again. In your second picture, there is a strange box-like structure that is almost entirely cut-off and is a little above center to the right. Being an nerd, myself, that immediately made me think of the TARDIS from Doctor Who. The box-thing also appears to be slightly transparent, which is what the TARDIS looks like when it is teleporting. (the word ‘teleporting’ and ‘TARDIS’ are both being underlined for not being real words; I mean, ‘TARDIS,’ OK, but ‘teleporting,’ really?) So, yeah, CRAZY Doctor Who thing going on there. Do you watch Doctor Who? Don’t answer that. I know you do. What nerd (except those that hate the Brits) doesn’t watch Doctor Who?! But, really, you watch it?

    Oh, yeah. I’M FIRST BABY!! HAHAHAHA!!!!

      Okay, so this is going to sound really bad. But I admit: I haven’t watched Doctor Who. Which is silly because I am a nerd and all my nerdy friends love it and it looks just like the kind of show I would really like. I am aware of what the Tardis is, though, and the general premise of the show! But… yeah I am a terrible nerd.
      Oh, and the smiley face! I believe that shows up at the bottom of all WordPress-hosted blogs. Don’t quote me on that, though!

  2. alight sis….you have convinced me. i know you’ve told me a million times to read this comic and i don’t think i ever took a grand interest. but now i shall. good advertising fool. I shall read and we can nerd out together

  3. aw, I love his little self-portrait at the end! And I liked his advice. He’s probably right — after all, in writing, it’s usually the storytellers and not the writers that get famous — and it sounds also pretty characteristic of his style. You said his work was haunting and emotional, right? Well, that’s probably why he’s a successful cartoonist, as you say.

    In writing, there’s something called invisible writing, which is important. What that means is that you focus on the scene and not the wording when you read it. Whether you’re a storyteller and someone who is more interested in the language itself (like me!), I think that’s the important thing to do when writing.

    It sounds like a similar principle exists in drawing a story…

    Besides which, simplistic advice like this seems the way to go. There’s an actor called Max Adler, who was given advice to just go to Hollywood and start getting work, and it paid off for him (he played Dave Karofsky in the show Glee). So maybe that’s for the best, in considering advice…

    • Hmmm, I see! I hadn’t heard of that before! But I agree with you. The best stories (and comics) in my opinion are able to capture a certain essence, an emotion, a “scene,” I guess. Couple that with a good story and you’ve got some powerful stuff! Of course, for all my talk, this is something I have yet to achieve!

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