Chris Ware’s Building Stories is truly commanding. It has exceeded all expectations of not only his own work (which is itself an incredible achievement) but also the entire graphic novel medium. It is a beautifully constructed piece of work, and one that should not be passed by. Ware winning the Eisner Award should be a given.
There are so many good reviews of this already that we’re going to share some snippets with you. Look below at ALL OF THESE PEOPLE THAT LOVE IT.
In Chris Ware’s own words, ‘Building Stories follows the inhabitants of a three-flat Chicago apartment house: a thirty-year-old woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple who wonder if they can bear each other’s company for another minute; and finally an elderly woman who never married and is the building’s landlady…’ The scope, the ambition, the artistry and emotional heft of this project are beyond anything even Chris Ware has achieved before.
“Ware provides one of the year’s best arguments for the survival of print…the spectacular, breathtaking visual splendor make this one of the year’s standout graphic novels.”
–Publisher Weekly, starred review
“Chris Ware’s Building Stories is the rarest kind of brilliance; it is simultaneously heartbreaking, hilarious, shockingly intimate and deeply insightful. There isn’t a graphic artist alive or dead who has used the form this wonderfully to convey the passage of time, loneliness, longing, frustration or bliss. It is the reader’s choice where and how to begin this monumental work—the only regret you will have in starting it is knowing that it will end.”
—J. J. Abrams
“Chris (Ware) really changed the playing field. After him, a lot of (cartoonists) really started to scramble and go holy (expletive), ‘I think I have to try harder.'”
—Seth, author of It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken
“Building Stories is the graphic novel of the season or perhaps the year, a story that must be experienced rather than read . . . Ware takes visual storytelling to a new level of both beauty and despair in a work people will be talking about for a long time.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A treasure trove of graphic artworks—they’re too complex to be called comics—from Ware, master of angst, alienation, sci-fi and the crowded street . . . A dazzling document.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“There’s no writer alive whose work I love more than Chris Ware. The only problem is it takes him ten years to draw these things and then I read them in a day and have to wait another ten years for the next one.”
“If there’s one release this year that people will be asking you about, odds are it’ll be this one…There’s no way to get ready for Ware beyond clearing one’s calendar, so yes: it’s time to start calling babysitters.”
“Ware has been consistently pushing the boundaries for what the comics format can look like and accomplish as a storytelling medium…More than anything, though, this graphic novel mimics the kaleidoscopic nature of memory itself—fleeting, contradictory, anchored to a few significant moments, and a heavier burden by the day. In terms of pure artistic innovation, Ware is in a stratosphere all his own.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Ware’s latest has the makings of a modern classic…At times Ware’s ‘great book’ feels like it could be about anyone’s life. Other times, it doesn’t feel like a book at all. It’s a keepsake box full of things you won’t want to forget.”
–Entertainment Weekly, A+ grade
“Building Stories is a momentous event in the world of comics—the unusual format of Ware’s book is bound to help redefine yet again what a “graphic novel” can be.”
–New Yorker blog
“Remarkable…all of it is drawn in Ware’s meticulous style, inked in his bright, bold colors, and written in his decidedly literary voice. This is a publishing event; I can’t believe it’s retailing for only 50 bucks.”
“This is more than a book; it’s a profusion of printed paper….told in Ware’s instantly recognizable style, with panels so silent and perfectly composed, they’re reminiscent of stained-glass windows.”
“Chris Ware is one of the true modern masters of the sequential art medium and an absolute artisan when it comes to showing the beauty of an ugly truth…It’s truly masterful storytelling that will be a unique experience for each reader and something that would be impossible in any other medium than print…Each of us in our own way is desperately searching for our own sense of meaning, accomplishment, and self-worth, but anyone who has ever felt their creativity suppressed—or really anyone who has ever clung onto the good in their bad relationship (or the bad in their good relationship)—will see a lot of truth nestled in these almost magical pages. “
–New York Journal of Books
“Building Stories will only enhance the artist’s exalted status within the world of graphic literature…awe-inspiring.”
–St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Quietly defies any pre-existing comic conventions. I couldn’t wait to write about how ardently I recommend this collection…The “graphic novel” misnomer masks the breadth of old and new creations compiled in this extremely innovative, fascinating anthology, a bold declaration for the wonders of pulp and ink in the digital age.”
–Jenna Marotta, CBS Smart Planet
“Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Building Stories is the single greatest argument for the continuation of print comics that could possibly be conceived. Building Stories could not exist in any other format and retain its power and beauty. It is a wholly immersive experience which cannot be imitated nor duplicated in a digital format, not matter how powerful the processor or how many dpi your screen resolution…Building Stories is unlike anything else I have experienced. It is more than a book. It is more than a story. It is a glimpse into the lives of people. Building Stories should be in everyone’s collection, not just as a work of art, but as a notice of the potential that still exists in storytelling.”
–Stumptown Trade Review
“It’s already being hailed as a classic and it was released only Tuesday…Building Stories gorgeously expands the graphic novel form.”
“Ware has single-handedly re-defined the possibilities of the graphic novel form. His work is complex, serious and stunningly beautiful…Building Stories is a rich, mature work that defies categorization and must be experienced to be fully understood.”
“This week marked the release of Chris Ware’s unbelievably wonderful graphic novel Building Stories, which we (and everyone else) have been awaiting with bated breath for many months. The graphic publishing event of the year, the book is truly a world you can get lost in… a total triumph, an immersive story that you can literally (well almost) immerse yourself in.” –Flavorwire.com “Intelligent, carefully crafted and emphatically not for everyone.” –Paste Magazine “There simply will not be a more beautifully packaged book this year than Chris Ware’s Building Stories, the latest from the master graphic novelist.”
“What sets this latest work apart is its format—and how fundamentally that format shapes the reader’s experience…[a] precise, colorful, intricate and ultimately beautiful book.”
“Building Stories is one of the most compelling and emotionally resonant works I have read in years…never before, perhaps, has the mundanity of daily life been given such weight and such beauty…Building Stories is a graphic novel of the ordinary that sees the extraordinary at the heart of our day-to-day existence…It’s the best thing I’ve read this year.”
“Takes Ware’s approach to visual storytelling to a new level of game-changing…Chris Ware’s stories are the sheet music that we read to hear music in our hearts.”
–Lit New City
or you can come check it out for yourself in store.
Anna Libeau is a very Wellington-y bookseller from Unity Books Wellington.