Three-Storey Ethos: Listen To Comic Book Icon Chris Ware Explain The Mysteries Of “Building Stories”

by • May 22, 2013 • Architecture, Art, Books, Design, Funny, Psychology, SocietyComments (0)5693

Born December 28, 1967, Chris Ware is the renowned comic book artist and cartoonist best knonw for his groundbreaking Acme Novelty Library series (20 issues, 1993-present) and the graphic novels Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth (2000) and Building Stories (2012).  Famous for his exploration of social isolation, emotional torment and depression, the illustrations of Chris Ware are crafted in astonishingly realistic and meticulous detail.

The most silent — and yet perhaps the most visible — character in all of Chris Ware’s work is his painstakingly vivid depiction of the architecture and built world that surrounds his human characters.  More than a decade in the making, Ware’s most recent work, entitled Building Stories, Ware brings the reader on remarkable journey into the interlocked lives of the residents of one 3-storey Chicago brownstone.  As Maria Popova of Brain Pickings writes: “From the couple caught in a loveless relationship on the second floor, to the elderly spinster grappling with her own aging, to the bee trapped in the basement, [‘Building Stories’] is at once voyeuristic and deeply intimate, exploring the boundless complexities of inner worlds, relationships, and the hopeful hopelessness of being human.”

Ware writes: “Who hasn’t tried when passing by a building, or a home, at night to peer past half-closed shades and blinds, hoping to catch a glimpse into the private lies of its inhabitants.  Anything … the briefest blossom of a movement … maybe a head, bobbing up … a bit of hair … a mysterious shadow … or a flash of flesh …seems somehow more revealing than any generous greeting or calculated cordiality.  Even the disappointing diffusion of a sheer curtain can suggest the most colorful bouquet of unspeakable secrets.”  As part of the promotion of Building Stories, Chris Ware sat down with Debbie Millman for an appearance on her radio show Design Matters, and the following is a series of excerpts from their conversation.

You can purchase your your own copy of Chris Ware’s Building Stories via Amazon, and you absolutely must grab a copy of Ware’s 2000 masterpiece Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth via Amazon as well.  To enter the mother ship of all things Ware simply head over to

SEE ALSO: Chris Ware, The Most Brilliant Comic Book Artist On Earth, Gives Rare Interview In Copenhagen

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