January 12, 2006

Formally Brilliant

The NYPress says of Chris Ware:

Ware’s maniacally detailed parodies of the detritus of commercial culture are the rough equivalent of the showy passages in which David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen write in the language of pharmaceutical or advertising bureaucracies, but they and their imitators fail to distinguish between deadening language and the way it deadens the people who use it, mistaking meaning for purpose.
I've got the Acme Library of Novelty and have spent a couple hours getting monumentally depressed by it. It's the pinnacle of the graphic novel as sad, shameful and isolating.

What's funny is that I feel completely the opposite about the above-referenced Wallace and Franzen pieces. Well the Wallace story in Oblivion ("Mr. Squishy) is kind of a drag to read. But the chapter on depression in The Corrections is a hoot. I was not deadened at all.

Still this NYPress article is a good read. At least, I now know why other folks love Chris Ware (beyond the technical reason that he's a graphical madman).

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