“I feel that a book influences, and has as much of a contributing effect, on the story as the drawings, ink, colors and paper,” Chris Ware observes. “To me, a book is a fairly obvious metaphor for a human body: aside from the fact that it has a spine, it’s also bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, and it can harbor secrets. One can either be put off or invited into it depending on how it’s structured and what’s offered as the point of entry. It can affect how the whole story is felt. I like books. They’re my life.”
Chris is sitting in the study of his house, a Victorian holding a Wonderland of old pop culture memorabilia and art. A clock ticks in the background as he sits straight up in his leather armchair, surrounded by shelves housing record albums and books. The soft-spoken Ware’s ACME Novelty Library not only defies the standard comic book conventions, with panel layouts designed to force the reader to physically turn the book, panels drawn at a smaller than conventional size—a less capable cartoonist would fail miserably and produce something unreadable; somehow, Ware makes it work.